Archaeological Sites of Crete

In Crete, history and myth walk hand in hand; from the Minoan era to the Mycenaean, the Classical age to the Roman, and on to the Byzantine years, history follows the succession of conquerors and civilizations.

In addition to the world-wide famous archaeological sites of Knossós and Phaistós, other places of great archaeological significance, of all periods of habitation in Crete, can be spotted almost everywhere. Ruins of ancient towns, Minoan palaces, and various other monuments, are to be found in every corner of the island, often in locations of unforgettable natural beauty. They are well worth a visit. 


Knossos, the largest and most brilliant centre of the Minoan civilization, is located 5 kilometres south of the historical centre of the city of Heraklion. East of the hill where the magnificent ruins of Minoan Knossos are situated...

  • location Knosos, Heraklio, Heraklio
  • type Minoan Palace, Ancient City/Town
  • site condition/facilities Well Organized/Services

Lato was one of the most important Doric city-states of Crete; its port was at Kamara, on the site of the present-day town of Agios Nikolaos. It was built on a mountainous spot, 3 kilometres north of the village of Kritsa, at the north-east foot of Mount Dikti. Its privileged, naturally secure location was considered ideal, since it facilitated the control of the pass from Central to Eastern Crete, the whole surrounding area and a large part of the bay of Mirambello

  • location Kritsa, Mirampelo, Lasithi
  • type Ancient City/Town
  • site condition/facilities Open-Well preserved

Ancient Aptera was one of the most significant and powerful city-states of Western Crete. Its ruins can be seen on the rocky elevation which dominates the scenery south-east of Souda bay, above the national road that connects Chania to Heraklion (16 kilometres from Chania). The notable size of the area covered by these ruins is indicative of the power that Aptera had during its acme. 

  • location Aptera, Chania, Chania
  • type Ancient City/Town
  • site condition/facilities Open-Well preserved

This archaeological site, where an extensive Minoan cemetery of the Postpalatial period was discovered, is located a little before the village of Armeni, 8 kilometres after Rethymnon, on the way to Spili, amongst tall oaks. 

  • location Armeni, Rethymno, Rethymno
  • type Necropolis
  • site condition/facilities Open-Well preserved

Ancient Eleftherna was built at the site where the current village of Eleftherna (formerly known as Prines) is to be found today. Its ruins were brought to light after systematic excavations. 

  • location Eleftherna, Rethymno, Rethymno
  • type Ancient City/Town
  • site condition/facilities Open-Well preserved

Kydonia, one of the most important and powerful cities of Western Crete, flourished right where the current city of Chania stands today. Kydonia prospered not only in the Minoan period, but also later, in the historical years. According to the myth, it was one of the three cities that were founded on the island of Crete by king Mίnos. The local hero Kydon, a son of the god Hermes and Akakallida (a daughter of Minos) is also mentioned in mythology. 

  • location At "Castelli" hill and at the district of "Splantzia", Chania, Chania
  • type Ancient City/Town
  • site condition/facilities Open-Scattered Monuments
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