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Category: Site
Prefecture: Lassithi
Address: Sitia
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These are isolated limestone boulders that have come loose and rolled along part of the Kato Zakros – Karoumbes footpath. The boulders are spread out and impressive, and create a theatrical landsnappee, as though they are alive. They are also ideal for climbing (bouldering).

Places near Boulders

Traostalos Peak Sanctuary
Traostalos Peak Sanctuary 2801 hits
Traostalos was first excavated in 1963-1964 under Kostis Davaras. Davaras returned in 1978 to continue that work. A rescue excavation from April to October 1995 was led by Stella Chryssoulaki.
Along with the usual clay human and animal figurines common to peak sanctuaries, Traostalos has, notably, a female figure with a swollen leg. Other finds at Traostalos include ceramic boats and stone altars. See references for a more complete inventory.

Traostalos is one of the highest mountains near the coast of south-east Crete and 14km far from Palekastro Village.Despite its only moderate height (515.4 m), however, the solid, isolated massif of Traostalos dominates the surrounding area, and its summit can be distinguished from afar, both from the sea and from inland (Pl. XIIa). 

The highest point of the sanctuary commands an uninterrupted view over the entire east end of Crete, Kasos, Karpathos and the Dionysades islets to the north, and Kouphonisi to the south. It thus overlooks the sea route from the north Aegean to the east Mediterranean.From its summit, the sanctuary enjoys visual contact with almost all the other peaks in the area on which have been found cult deposits, or buildings that served cult purposes. These are, from south to north, the sanctuaries at Ambelos, Korakomouri, Mare, Ziros (Playia),Viglos, Modi, Kalamaki, and Petsophas (Pl. XIIb-XIII). In Minoan times, the historical landscape was bounded by the palace and town of Zakros to the south and the town of Palekastro to the north.Habitation in the immediate environment of the sanctuary takes the form of a scattering of isolated buildings, of which the following are the most important: In 1964, Kostis Davaras partially excavated a Minoan villa at the modern village of Azokeramos on the lower north-western slopes of Traostalos.In the western to south-western foothills stands the megalithic building at Skaphi5 and what is probably a guard-house at Polla Kladia. The densely occupied Chochlakies valley, with a guard-house, probable villa, and settlement, is in the north-western foothills.Mount Traostalos has a distinctive articulation with a series of bare plateaux. This reflects the stepped morphology of the east and south-east coasts of Crete. The bay of Karoumes, the only anchorage on the steep coast, is formed by the north to north-east face of Traostalos, which is known characteristically as ‘Adiavatos,’ or ‘Impassable.’ Habitation in the bay of Karoumes covers a long interval from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The Minoan period is represented by three megalithic buildings and an extensive series of walls and enclosures that change and organise the natural form of the hills.Finally, the coastline between the bay of Karoumes and that of Zakros is of great interest, not only for the important Neolithic occupation of the cave of Pelekita, but also for the systematic quarrying of limestone and poros in Minoan times. There were large quarries atPelekita and Papa i Limnes, and provision was made for transporting the blocks to the palace at Zakros.ApproachesThe summit can be approached by two routes. The first is a built road, now called ‘Skala tou Ayiou Antoniou’12 by the locals. This road, which runs roughly south-north, crosses the western foothills of Traostalos and links Kato Zakros with Palekastro. The second route is apath starting from the village of Azokeramos.The ascent to the plateau on the summit is easiest from the north and north-west, where the contours of the rocky terrain create a series of natural stretches of road, reinforced in places by steps and makeshift walls.Although the line of this ascent has been established, no stretch of road has been discovered that has the quality of construction of the road that led from Anemospilia to the sanctuary on Juktas.

Pelekita Cave
Pelekita Cave 2730 hits

Located north east of the small village of Kato Zakros between Karoumes and Kato Zakros beach in Sitia region.

The cave can be reached by traveling one hour from Kato Zakros, or from the beach of the village by using mechanized boats and then making an ascent.


The height at the entrance is 105m. The whole area is commonly known as Pelekita, which name is derived from the quarry, which is below the cave, close to the sea, from which stones have been extracted.

The other name "Sykias Spilios" was given to the cave because of the location of a large fig tree at the entrance. Under the cave one can see the sea as if viewing it from a plane.

Zakros Minoan Palace
Zakros Minoan Palace 2714 hits
The palace at Zakros has two main building phases: the old palace was built in c. 1900 B.C., and the new one in c. 1600 B.C., but was destroyed in 1450 B.C. along with the other centres of Minoan Crete.

The Palace of Kato Zakros is located 26 kms south of Palekastro. Its position shelters it from the dangerously strong north winds that pass Cape Sidero on the north-east tip of Crete.


It was the last of the major palaces to be discovered and is smaller than the other three at Knossos, Malia and Phaistos. The original excavations were begun by D.G. Howarth of the British School of Archaeology in Athens, and 12 houses in the town surrounding the Palace, whose existence remained unknown, were unearthed before the excavation was abandoned.

Nikolaos Platon resumed the excavation in 1961 and was able to unearth a palace which had not been looted at the time of its destruction. The excavations have continued until the present day. The excavation represents one of the most important for Minoan archaeology since the Second World War, and the lateness of its discovery allowed it to be excavated using more modern and more scientific methods than those adopted in the excavation of the other Palaces some 60 years earlier.


Kato Zakros Minoan Palace Kato Zakros Minoan Palace Kato Zakros Minoan Palace 

The Palace of Zakros probably acted as the Minoan gateway to the east and this view is supported by various movable finds on the site which had come from the Middle East. Like the other palaces, Zakros was rebuilt after the earthquake destruction of the old palaces. The second palace was built around 1600 BC and finally destroyed around 1450 BC, along with other centres of Minoan civilisation in Crete.

Fortunately many artefacts were left in situ, probably due to the suddenness of the destruction. The palace covered 8,000 square metres, contained 150 rooms and had a Central Court measuring about 30 metres by 12 metres, smaller than that of Knossos.

Kato Zakros
Kato Zakros 2692 hits
The place - Kato Zakros
Small and personal, quiet and well - it's somewhere you feel a sense of ownership about the moment you arrive. At the end of a dazzling, exciting narrow winding road, descending from the plain around Zakros itself. The journey to Zakros builds and improves the experience that "you've really traveled" to get there. You are in the East. You've reached this wonderful coast and there is nowhere further to go! You are by the sea with a large pebble beach and often-dazzling waters. It's quiet, feels as "real" as a beachside place can, there is a little tourism as such and what there is mostly consists of daytime visitors to the Palace of Zakros archaeological site. The site is a prized destination for many and we've heard numbers of people call it the site that has most impressed them in Crete. There is a lack of mobile phone reception which delights some and will require adjustment from others!
How to get there - Kato Zakros
Sitia is the likely starting point by car, motorcycle or bus (bus info). From Sitia a bus to Kato Zakros exists and otherwise a wonderful car drive (about 1 - 1.1/2 hours). For the adventurous there are some wonderful and most indirect routes along unpaved roads - including an easily traveled (with slow pace and great care) one from Xerokambos. Or for stunning mountaintop views of the sea, gorges and mountainscapes, a journey made via Roussa Eklissia, Mitato to Adravasti is hard to match and most memorable - what a sense of achievement you feel after that journey! Another most enjoyable transition from any time spent in Sitia would be to travel to the beach at Vai (try to be there close to dawn or dusk to avoid crowds), perhaps including a visit to the fascinating Toplou Monastery (recommended-see more about it in Sitia) on the way and stop at Palekastro (many places to stay) and/or Zakros for refreshments or more solid food intake!
Where to stay - Kato Zakros
Athena Rent Rooms and below it, Coral Rooms. Both are just beyond the Akrogiali waterside taverna and have wonderful beach and sea views (closer, you could not be). The two have a total of seven rooms between them and communal terrace areas.
Poseidon Rooms, continuing a little further from where you come into Kato Zakros, is absolutely at water's edge, on a cliff about 8 metres (25 feet) above it. Poseidon is a lot older looking than the other two; room 6 definitely has a sea view, with room 7 of the side rooms being closest to the sea - these have a view along the beach and the edge of the sea. Akrogiali taverna can rent you rooms in all three of the above places. More information and photographs see website for Athena, Coral and Poseidon Rooms & Akrogiali taverna.
George's villas are away from the sea front beyond the Palace of Zakros. If all fails you can stay in Zakros (the Zakros Hotel looks somewhat lacking in character but would serve you well and they have a minibus for local trips) or Palekastro where there are many places to stay - many of them very obvious from the road as you drive through.
Winter does not appear in the picture at Kato Zakros but the Zakros hotel is open and you might find somewhere in Palekastro. Otherwise for winter a good bet is to use Sitia as your base.

What to see/do - Kato Zakros
The views, swim, walk (E4-path goes from Zakros through the Gorge of the Dead (5.5 km approx. very slow going, sid to take 6.5 to 8 hours!) to Kato Zakros where the gorge reaches the coast. Eat fresh fish and more at the tavernas, read, write, make conversation and visit the minoan Palace of Zakros.  Tour the mountain villages and other coastal points nearby, including Xerokambos (many roads are still unsurfaced, but an ordinary car will cope providing you take care). Go scuba diving at Vai beach.
Palace of Zakros: Open Tuesday to Sunday 18.30 to 15.00 (last entrance at 14.30) 500 DR (1.47 euros).

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Pelekita Ancient Quarry 2672 hits

Approximately half way along the path leading from Kato Zakros to Karoumes beach (geotrail 12) and near Pelekita cave, is the ancient quarry by the same name. We find it amidst compacted Pleistocene aeolianite sandstone, which were easily excavated as they are soft rocks due to their many pores. On the rocks in the area there are several traces of the excavation activity that took place in the past. 

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Coral rooms 2636 hits

Coral rooms in coastal resort Kato Zakros for your holidays - vacation. Whether you sit on the terrace or gaze at the view of the beach and sea below from your room, Coral Rooms provide the real sea-side experience with comfortable and well  cared for surroundings.  Situated immediately below Athena Rooms, private bathrooms.  East Crete Kato Zakros!!


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Kato Zakros Palace 2625 hits

The owners George and Haroula Platanakis take great pleasure in informing you that they have built a small family tourist complex in Kato Zakros.

The complex is located at the top of a hill offering a panoramic view onto the plain, the Minoan Palace, the village, the Gorge, and the beautiful beach of Kato Zakros. Our hillside location means that there is always a cooling breeze. There is the following choice of accomodation: