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Archanes near Heraklion in Crete

Archanes (3,470 inhabitants) is located about 15 kilometres from the port of Heraklion and approximately as far from the airport of Heraklion. Archanes is a very picturesque village with a long history. Archanes has been an agricultural centre ever since the Minoan times, and both wine and olive oil of high quality is produced here.


The cosy square in Archanes south of Heraklion on Crete.

The square in Archanes.


The wines produced in the area are known throughout Crete, and is also starting to gain ground in the whole of Greece. There are several wineries around Archanes, including Minos Wines, and Peza Union in Peza east of Archanes, and Boutari Wines outside the village of Skalani south of Archanes.


Archanes on Crete is a genuine village where Greek everyday life dominates.

Archanes is a genuine village where Greek everyday life dominates.

Archanes is easy to like. The village is, as mentioned, very pretty and it is a shame that so few tourists have discovered it. If Archanes had been located by the sea, it would definitely have been a package holiday destination. Archanes could just have been a sleepy agricultural village, but it is not. The German commander General Kreipe was kidnapped outside Archanes on April 26, 1944, you can read about the dramatic event via the link further down this page.


Shops, restaurants and hotels in Archanes south of Heraklion in Crete.

Archanes in the evening.


Many of the village's buildings are restored and the streets have got new paving-stones. A few years ago, Archanes was awarded a prize from the EU for the careful renovation. It's a true pleasure to stroll around the alleys and enjoy the excellent architecture.


The village of Archanes near Heraklion in northern Crete.

One of the alleys in Archanes.


If you stay overnight you will have the opportunity to eat at one of the many tavernas. The ingredients are of the highest quality. The food has been exceptionally tasty in the restaurants that we have eaten. Many tavernas are located in the main square, which is like the heart of the village. Here, and in the nearby alleys, there are also several of cafes and ouzeries. Restaurant Lykastos in the square and Kritamon Restaurant near the square are two of several very good restaurants.

Restaurant Lykastos is one of many very good restaurants in Archanes.

Restaurant Lykastos in Archanes.

The remnants of a Minoan villa and a wine press from the Minoan times can be seen in the village of Vathipetro, just south of Archanes. It is quite amazing that wine was produced in the area even as 4,000 years ago. Wondering how it tasted?


Stavros beach where the movie Zorba the Greek was shot based on the book of the same name written by Nikos Kazantzakis.

Stavros beach where the movie Zorba the Greek was filmed.


If you are interested in film and literature I recommend the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum in the village of Mirtia, a few kilometres east of Archanes. Nikos Kazantzakis is best known for his famous literary works of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ. Both have been adapted for the cinema. The museum in Mirtia is open every day between 09.00-19.00.


If you are flying home from Heraklion, I can recommend you to spend the last night in Archanes. It will be a much calmer and more pleasant ending of your holiday than ending it in noisy Heraklion. But if you are not flying home, I also recommend you to stay for a night or two. We have stayed at Villa Orestis, which I can warmly recommend.

Book Villa Orestis here »

Book other hotels in Archanes here »



Don't miss the place where General Kreipe was kidnapped when you visit Archanes in Crete.

Don't miss the place where General Kreipe was kidnapped, which you can read about here »


Learn more about Crete here »







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