Kato Zakros in eastern Crete
Kato Zakros is one of my absolute favourite places in Crete, as a matter of fact, in whole Greece. It is not because it is beautiful here, or that the beach is like paradise, or that the village is cosy. Rather it is owning to the feeling of being far from civilization, and because it is so quiet and tranquil. And also it is owning to something that I can not really describe, it's something magical with Kato Zakros, and the magic can only be experienced on site.
The sunrise seen from Kato Zakros.
To experience this magic, you have to stay overnight. In the daytime, there may be quite a lot of people here; the beach is popular, as well as hiking in the Valley of the Dead and many come to see the excavations of the Minoan town of Zakros about 100 metres above the beach.
Kato Zakros is located as far east as you can get in Crete. The nearest town is Sitia 44 kilometres away. It is about 35 kilometres to the famous palm beach of Vai. Chania is located 300 kilometres away. Well, talk about the end of the world.
The village is small and compressed. Here are a few tavernas and pensions. The pebbly beach is long. If you continue past Taverna Akrogiali you will find some smaller beach strips where you also can go for a swim. The best thing about Kato Zakros is not the beach, it's the lovely evenings and mornings. The evenings are pitch-dark and you fall asleep to the sounds of the waves, no disturbing noise from cars or scooters. Mornings are even better, you wake up to the sounds of the waves, and if you're alert in the morning you'll see Greece's most beautiful sunrise.
This is how I wrote in the diary after our first night in Kato Zakros:
"Woke up by the waves about six am. I woke Camilla up, she went out
of bed, reluctantly. I started the computer and wrote a little. We went
out about seven o'clock. Calm, short waves were heard, no one than we
were out, but where was the sun? We began to see something red in the
east, and east is the right place for the sun to rise. We walked a little
further and waited with high expectations. And see, a small object came
out from the sea and we went closer. It was the most beautiful sunrise
we have ever seen. It is not often you see the sun rise out of the sea.
Taverna Akrogiali in Kato Zakros.
If you enjoy good Greek food (who does not) I highly recommend Taverna Akrogiali. The owner Nikos Perakis is a very nice man. Do not miss their Mixed Grill, it's really good. If you are lucky you will be served by Georgios - Eastern Crete's most ingenious waiter. He taught me to roll two dice and get a 6 on both of them when we played Tavli (Backgammon), just one such thing. :-)
If you like hiking, the Valley of the Dead takes two hours to walk one way from Kato Zakros to Zakros.
On a hike in the Valley of the Dead.
ACCOMMODATION IN KATO ZAKROS
To really get to know Kato Zakros, and to experience the magical evenings and mornings, not to mention the sunrise, you should stay overnight. There are not so many accommodations options, but there are usually enough since there are not so many who stays overnight.