Anatoli, gem of southeastern Crete

Living in Kritsa, we take daily walks through pedestrian streets to reach our car parked on the edge of the village. Our route passes between ruined and renovated houses on either side of traditional homes.

Sometimes, just for a change, we drive to another village and take a stroll around restored, ruined and traditional houses. 😀

Last September we drove 27 km from Kritsa to Anatoli, the village named for eastern views. It is a very scenic drive through Kroustas, then on the ‘scary’ narrow road alongside a ravine. You need to cross your fingers in the hope there is nothing heading your way as you slowly go round the blind bend on the narrowest stretch. Once on the beautiful pine clad hillside, it is worth pausing to photograph the far-reaching views down to the Istron coast. We have seen colourful and crested hoopoo birds here, but you must take my word for it—I’ve never been quick enough to take a photo.

Then on through Prina so famous for its honey to reach Kalamafka with a high rock chapel if you’ve energy to to spare for the climb. Take the junction signposted to up Anatoli or you’ll head down to the coast at Ierapetra instead.

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After parking and walking along the main road of Anatoli, we enjoyed far-reaching views down to the south coast at Ierapetra and out across the shimmering sea to Chrissi Island. All the plastic greenhouses on the lower levels look a bit of an eyesore but perhaps forgivable when you realise how much produce they generate for domestic use and export. The thing that bothers me about them is that no one seems to collect and recycle the plastic once a greenhouse is no longer in use. Let’s hope the growers are working on ways to replace plastic with more sustainable materials.

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This village has the same name as the local newspaper that also provides an excellent online version. How fabulous that I can catch up on Crete news no matter where I am. By using Google chrome set to translate I get a good gist of events. To view the online version of Anatolh click here.

Anatoli has an active cultural society that encourages sustainable development. Sad to say, I think this one may be too far gone!

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I can see why people would choose accommodation in Anatoli. Fabulous views of the mountains and the sea, local tavernas and some very welcoming hotels/apartments.

Towns such as Ierapetra, Myrtos and of course, Kritsa make for good days out from this base. A word of warning about Chrissi Island – daily boat trips from Ierapetra are very popular but once on the tiny island costs are out of proportion—a tatty parasol and two torn sunbeds were €20 two years ago. My advice is enjoy the trip but buy a picnic and a cheap sunshade before you board the boat.

For a different experience, you can visit the nearby donkey sanctuary. While they like visitors, it is best to contact them in advance. To visit their website, click here.

Anatoli was important in the fight against Ottoman oppression and there is a memorial to their brave sons at the far end of the village. Just downhill from this is a disused olive mill, and with old stones and equipment outside it seemed like an informal museum.

Here are more photos from my visit.

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