Sand and stone
Stretching for two-kilometres along the shore of Analipsi are both sand and pebble beaches, making for a picturesque setting for your Greek island holiday. Lyttos beach is a long slither of pure sand and starts at the Agia Marina Chapel heading east. This Blue Flag winner has lots of watersports to try, including paragliding and water-skiing, or you can just dip your toes in the shallows – a prime paddling area with kids. At the beachside cafes you’ll find plenty of gyros sandwiches on the menus, which are similar to kebabs.
To the west, the shore is more rocky and any beach consists of pebbles. The paved roadway, which is shaded by crooked tamarisk trees, makes a stroll beside the vivid blue sea a pleasure. Fish are plentiful in the water beneath the rocks and you can hire a rod from the village before finding a perch to cast off from.
If you venture further west there is a small and well-protected sandy cove to hide away in, followed by a sand beach at the mouth of the river where ducks gather. Or go beyond Lyttos beach to the east to visit the beautiful beaches of Kokkini Hani, Gouves and Anissaras.
Square meals and deals
The charming village square has restaurants that serve Crete‘s simple-yet-delicious fares, often using lots of meat and catch of the day hauled in on nearby shores. In the narrow streets back from here are little boutiques and shops selling traditional crafts, ceramics and Cretan olive oil. For shopping on a bigger scale, Hersonissos is around 20-minutes’ drive and does a good line in leather bags and jewellery.
Nights in Analipsi are spent drinking at a leisurely pace either in one of the beach cafes that turn into bars by night or with the locals in the square. As it’s such an intimate place, it’s easy to get chatting with the residents and to know bartenders on first-name terms by the end of your holiday.
If you want some loud music with your evening drinks, Hersonissos is less than a 10-minute cab ride away, where the bars and clubs offer DJs and dancing.
Agia Marina Chapel name day
This tiny white and blue chapel sitting right next to Analipsi’s beach celebrates a name day every year on 17th July. If you’re lucky enough to be there on this day you can try Artis sweet bread after the ceremony and check out the small market outside. Then join in with the festivities laid on by the village’s tavernas for two nights, involving live Cretan music and dancing with lots of traditional food and wine.
Heraklion and Hersonissos
Analipsi sits in a pocket of northeast Crete that is about 20-minutes’ drive from the capital Heraklion. Beneath this city’s modern armour lies the Venetian fortress of Koules, mansions and Turkish fountains. You might be more interested in the shops though as Daedalou Street is full of designer houses and there are gift shops sitting off every main street.
Just minutes away, Hersonissos is a busy beach and harbour town with more shops and bars as well as the only golf course in Crete – an 18-hole PGA golf course in fact. Next to Crete Golf Club is Aqua Plus Water Park which has fun slides and pools as well as an exotic Garden of Eden.
The Palace of Knossos – Crete’s most visited attraction – is half an hour’s drive from Analipsi and is a Bronze Age settlement of the Minoan people. Here you can learn about European history and be surrounded in the beautiful Crete countryside.
While you’re out and about, the drive up through mountain villages to the Lassithi Plateau will leave an impact. You’ll pass orange groves and traditional Crete windmills with cloth sails on the way and might want to stop at the Dikteon Cave, believed to be the birthplace of Zeus.