Travelguide > Places > Lassithi Prefecture > Sitia

Sitia is located at the head of Sitia Bay, which is the most easterly of the large inlets on the north side of the island. The landscape here is not so wild as elsewhere on Crete, more green and the mountain ranges on the horizon are much gentler. None of them exceeds 800 meters in height. There is a fine sandy beach.
The modern city stands on the site of ancient Eteia, which was the port of Praisos. The port gained in strength after 146 BC, when the people of Praisos settled here. In 1508, the town was destroyed by an earthquake and in 1538 by the pirate Barbarossa 1538.  The ruins can still be seen today, to the east of the town.  In 1651 it was abandoned by its inhabitants, who moved to the district of Liopetro. At about this time, the Venetians themselves ruined their own castle to prevent it falling into the hands of the Turks. Before the Venetians, the Genoese had build a fortress in Sitia in 1204, on the foundations of earlier Byzantine buildings. Some remains of Roman fishing installations can be seen. On the northern side of the fortress, there was under the Venetians the Santa Maria Monastery, which was demolished by the Turks. On its ruins was built a little chapel, and since then the area has been used as a cemetery. The town itself was rebuilt in 1870 to plans by the Turk Avgi Pasha.

Ferry boats are going from Sitia to the Dodecanese, the Aegean Islands and Kavala in northern Greece. Since 1984 there has also been an airport, which is only 10 minutes from the centre of town.

In Sitia you can find many hotels, pensions and houses with rooms for rent, as well as a youth hostel. There are also many restaurants, taverns and cafes in the city and along the quay side.

Sitia is a good starting point for several excursions throughout Eastern Crete. Some of the most important places to visit are Toplou Monastery, Palaikastro, Vai, Zakros, Makri Gialos, Itanos.