Lasithi offers everything: cute small towns with long history, scenic traditional Cretan villages, endless charming beaches, the uforgettable palm-tree wood of Vai, unique in Europe. This prefecture contributes to the rich island-wide monastic story with its old foundations – the most important and historic of which is the one at Toplou – a real fort with some unusual relics.
The history of the Lassithi Prefecture is similar to that of the rest of Crete. The area has been inhabited since Neolithic times, testified by archaeological finds; most of them date back to the Minoan Period, thus connecting Crete to one of the most important civilizations of the world, the Minoan civilization (2600-1150 BC). Huge palace-states were erected, such as the famous palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros, and the Minoans established a naval empire in the Mediterranean.
The capital city of the prefecture, Agios Nikolaos, is built on the site of the ancient town Leto. The town flourished during the 3rd century BC. It was an autonomous city which minted its own coins and flourished well into the Roman and Early Byzantine period. Earthquakes and pirate raids destroyed the fortress to the ground; the sole reminder of this construction today is the name of the bay, above which the fortress dominated.
During World War II, the island was invaded by Germans, signalling a period of poverty and misery. However, in 1960s, the island emerged yet again from its ashes, investing heavily on tourism.
Island offer to visitor natural Sightseeing as The Windmills, Islet of Spinalonga, Psychro Cave, The Gorge of Pefki,Kapsas Gorge or Perivolakia Gorge at Makris Gialos. Churches and Monasteries, Venetian and Ottoman Monuments and Museums and Galleries.
Each of the three major cities of Lassithi has its own culinary map. From the more cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos, to the picturesque Siteia and the more “family-friendly” Ierapetra, choices range from the small tavernas where you can enjoy raki and local “meze” up to the modern, stylish restaurants with creative cuisine. Moreover, in all three cities you can taste fresh fish and seafood, as in all the coastal areas of the Prefecture.
In the three cities of Lasithi (Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra, Sitia) are to be found colourful cafés and bars to enjoy your coffee early and cocktails until late in the evening. Naturally, the nightlife takes off during the summer months when the destinations are full of life – and tourists. Lovely places exist all over, just as you will find in other popular cosmopolitan destinations of the Prefecture, such as Elounda.