Crete's Heraklion (Iraklion) Prefecture Overview Page Eighteen
Heraklion Capital of Crete
West of Heraklion on the Coast
Anoyia is an attractive town on the east side of the Psiloritis mountain range. Though technically in Rethymno province, it is just over the line and a nice excursion from Heraklion. The village was destroyed by the Germans in WWII and local men rounded up and shot, in reprisal for the kidnapping of the German General Kreipe by the Cretan Resistance. Despite the fact that the village had to be rebuilt after the war, it has the appearance of a traditional village from a certain distance. It is noted for its handicrafts, especially woven and woolen goods.
Roughly to the south of Aghia Pelayia on the coast are the villages of Rodhia, Arolithos and Marathos, all of them on the slower mountain roads that preceded the newer coastal road. Under the raised highway you begin to climb and may turn right for Rodhia, a good-sized village which looks down on the city. Aghia Pelayia and Fodhele are reachable from here via this road, but the going is torturous due to the truly horrible road. A detour will take you 5km up (to the northwest) to the convent of Savathiana, which is set into the rock cliff with tall cypresses around it. Founded in Venetian times, it is a lovely place to visit, full of flowers and fruit trees, and the nuns sell homemade jams. Arolithos is a tourist development which has attempted (rather successfully) to create a traditional village environment, with craftspeople selling their products. There is a restaurant with wood-fired ovens, and sometimes evenings with Greek dancing. Beyond Arolithos the road divides and in 9km you come to Marathos, an enjoyable village known for its honey.