Archanes: The colorful beauty of the inland

Restored, imposing mansions, cobbled streets that connect beautiful neighborhoods, Minoan antiquities, water sources and vineyards underneath Mount Juktas.

The stately, award-winning Archanes is the most beautiful town in Crete. You will be enchanted by this colorful village with its picturesque alleys and the amazing old houses with their flowery courtyards. It is no coincidence that CNN Travel included Archanes in its list with the 17 most beautiful villages in the Mediterranean.

It is a standard traditional settlement which impresses the visitor with the colorful mosaic of elegant houses, museums with findings from the Minoan-Byzantine times and exhibits of folklore art, buildings of exceptional architecture and Byzantine churches that one encounters here.

Built at an altitude of about 400 meters, in the lap of the valley formed by Mount Juktas, it is 14 km away from the city of Heraklion and just 7 km from the Minoan palace of Knossos.

Archanes succeeds in uniquely combining the unparalleled architectural beauty, with landscapes of exceptional natural charm and the myths and legends of the region.

This “colorful” village has received an award in a European Union competition and is an example of residential development.

The valley and the whole area of Archanes is mostly a vast vineyard made up of vines and trellises that produce renowned grapes. The main products of Archanes are raisins (sultanas), excellent quality wine of several varieties, and high-quality olive oil. The residents also cultivate herbs: dittany, thyme, sage.

Hiking on the legendary Juktas, the sacred mountain of Archanes with an altitude of 811 meters, which, according to the legend is the burial spot of Zeus, the father of gods and humans, is a unique experience. In fact, many people liken the image of the mountain to the figure of a sleeping Zeus.

You can also follow the European path E4, through the Sylamiano Gorge, under the shade of century-old plane and oak trees and climb up to Fourni, the ancient necropolis with the magnificent forest all around it.

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