Located in the top eastern corner of Crete, not far from the popular Heraklion, lies the hidden gem that is Analipsi. A typical Cretan village, this Grecian paradise remains one of the few destinations that, until recently, has resisted most tourist development. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by pretty houses, verdant olive groves and friendly locals. While it’s slowly becoming more popular among travellers, Analipsi still possesses a small town charm that makes it the perfect destination for your next restful and relaxing holiday.
Then and Now
This small settlement is one founded on the traditions of shepherds; a few can still be seen today watching over their grazing livestock in nearby pastures. Although first developed by families during the Turkish occupation, the remaining legacy belongs to the people of the Lassithi Plateau who brought their animals to the temperate winter climate of this eastern village.
Gradually, the population grew as more villagers came to the area, bringing with them their culture which they established by the erection of the town church. Above the door they carved the name ‘Analipsis’, an alternative spelling of Analipsi that means ‘the Ascension’, and so the town we know today was born.
What to Do
Throughout the year Analipsi is alive with activity, with the shepherds working the surrounding farmland during the winter and the pleasant summer weather attracting tourists in search of some sunshine. It’s a fantastic place to unwind and embrace the laid-back lifestyle of the Mediterranean.
If you’ve come in search of golden shorelines perfect for basking in the sunshine, then you’ve come to the right place. There are a number of beaches to choose from, each offering unique perks. The best by far is Lyttos, with soft sand, serviced sun beds and a couple of bars. This patch of coastline has even won awards for its sparkling waters and clean waterfront.
If you fancy something a little more private, the rocky shoreline west of the town church is a lovely spot for an afternoon stroll under the shade of the tamarisk trees. Although not the best spot for sunbathing, the boulders provide the ideal perch for an hour or two of fishing.
On a windy day, you’ll find a peaceful retreat in the small sandy cove further west that will offer welcome shelter. There’s also another beach at the mouth of the River Aposelemis that is as pretty as a picture and perfect for enjoying a good book.
With such a tight-knit community, owners of the local bars and tavernas often remember visitors by name and you’ll soon be part of the family. There are a few wonderful local watering holes in town; the Sirtaki Taverna and Athina Bar are a couple of my favourite.
For a wider choice and livelier nightlife, venture into Hersonissos. The city is just a short drive away and makes for a great night out. There’s plenty to choose from in the way of restaurants as well, so you definitely won’t go hungry.
Shopping and Sightseeing
If you feel like taking a break from suntanning with some retail therapy, Hersonissos is a shopping hotspot with designer shops and local gift stores where you’ll find some great bargains – ideal for picking up a few souvenirs.
For a day of sightseeing, the capital city of Heraklion is a great place for a daytrip and has many worthwhile attractions. There are even more great shopping opportunities here, mostly duty-free!
Where to Stay
Maria Apartments – The perfect place to make your home-away-from-home, these apartments offer a private bathroom and kitchenette, satellite TV and free WiFi. You also have the option for a unit featuring a seating area and a balcony. Guests have access to a large seasonal pool and sun terrace, as well as the on-site restaurant – and all of this is just two minutes away from the beach.
Eleni Apartments – Just five minutes from the water, this self-catering accommodation is family-run. Guests will find the atmosphere social and welcoming, with frequent Greek barbecue nights and traditional Cretan music. All units include a kitchen and dining area, en-suite bathroom, fireplace and TV. There’s also a pool and cocktail bar, so you can sip your pina colada whilst soaking up the sun!
Ble Island – Situated in beautiful gardens and featuring an outdoor pool, these self-catering units are perfect for a summer getaway. Each room comes with a private bathroom, complimentary toiletries and either a terrace or balcony, which open up to a pool or sea view. The property itself is only 250 yards from the beach and there’s free WiFi throughout.
How to Get There
There are many affordable flights that travel from the UK to Heraklion every week, with the flight duration a short 3 hours 45 minutes. The best time to visit is during the off-season when temperatures are still mild but there are far fewer crowds – anytime between November and June. I’d suggest arranging a pre-booked airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. They will ensure you get to your accommodation in a quickly and comfortably.
About Shuttle Direct
At Shuttle Direct we value customer service above anything else – that’s why we’ve been one of the leading providers of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa for years. Our experienced drivers are knowledgeable and friendly, ensuring that you get to your destination happily and safely.