Sitia (pop. 8,500) makes a great base for exploring Crete’s east coast. Skip the town’s own beach and head to the beautiful Vai Beach and its palm tree forest, a lhr. bus ride away via Palaikastro (‚2.10). To reach the Valley of Death, a Minoan burial ground that’s great for hiking, take a bus from Sitia via Palaikastro and Zakros (lhr. 2 per day, ‚3.80). The Minoan Palace rests at the end of the valley. (Open daily 8am-3pm. ‚3, students and seniors ‚2. EU students free.) After midnight, everyone in Sitia heads to Hot Summer, 1km down the road to Palaikastro, where a swimming pool replaces the traditional dance floor.

Ferries leave Sitia for: Athens (16-17hr. 5 per week, ‚24) via Agios Nikolaos (l’ahr. ‚6.30); Karpathos (5hr. ‚16); and Rhodes (12hr. ‚22). From the center of town, head east along the water; the tourist office will be on your left. ( 28430 28 300. Open M-F 9:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-8:30pm.) Venus Rooms to Let , Kondilaki 60, looks out on scenic views; walk up on Kapetan Sifi from the main plateia and turn right after the telephone office. ( 28430 24 307. Doubles ‚25, with bath ‚30; triples ‚30‚36.) The Cretan House 0, K. Karamanli 10, off the plateia and on the waterfront, serves Cretan meals for ‚5-8. Ask for the Cretan Viagra to heat up your night. (Staka ‚3.30. Open daily 9am-lam.) Postal Code: 72300.

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