Ano Chersonissos is a small picturesque village built on the hillside surrounding amphitheatrically Chersonissos beaches and located approximately 24 km east of Heraklion.
It is also known as Old Chersonissos, a name which stands out from the Port of Chersonissos, lwhich is flooded with tourists every summer.
Ano Chersonissos is one of the few villages that remain pure and unaffected by tourism development. It has a traditional Greek village square, easy to imagine if you close your eyes and rememberold old times. There is a fountain in the middle of the square with an assorted of local businesses: an embroidery shop, a bakery, a butcher and grocery store with all kinds of local produce, cafes that serve fresh coffees and traditional snacks, as well as tavernas with Cretan cuisine, fine wine and hospitality.
During the summer, once a week, the owners of the shops located in the square organize evenings with traditional music and dance, where together locals and visitors gather for unforgettable fun. Every year on the eve and the day of the Virgin Mary on 15th August, the square fills with people for the celebration of one of the two churches. Everyone gathers there to have fun until the early hours giving a unique insight into local life & Cretan traditions that you will remember long after you have depart or island.
Agios Dimitrios, recently renovated and beautiful, is the largest church in the village. Every year at Easter, everyone gathers there to celebrate the Resurrection, and receive the Holy Light and to admire the spectacular fireworks and traditional bonfire.
Near Ano Chersonissos is the largest golf court in Crete, just 3 km away, which was built in 2003. More information can be found on the official website: www.crete-golf.com .
Ano Chersonissos is the first and the largest of the three villages that are built on a hill that hugs the Port Chersonissos and the only village with a traditional square. It is worth, however, to have a stroll through the streets of all three villages, where visitors can come across images of pure Crete. Koutouloufari is perhaps the most developed village, while Piskopiano has a big church located on the main road. There is a road linking the villages and their distance is less than 1 km.
At the Port of Chersonissos one can find all the activities that can be found in a small town. There are many shops, which operate all day during the summer months, banks, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs, a medical center, and many beaches nestling in small bays with clear waters and sunshine.
From Old Chersonissos there is quick access to Lassithi Plateau, a destination that any visitor to Crete should not miss. Here one encounters the Dikteon Andron, the cave where according to mythology, Zeus, the father of the gods of Olympus, was born. Cast your eyes over the endless views of the north coast of the island, and to confront the many windmills that spin in the breeze, watering the vegetable gardens of the plateau.
On the east side of the island, guests can visit the cities in Lassithi; Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra and Sitia. It is also worth visiting the Spinalonga, the famous island that hosted the lepers of Crete and the whole of Greece. Portrayed in the 2006 novel by Victoria Hislop, "The Island" , it is another insight into the past. Access to the island is carried out by boat leaving from Plaka, a seaside village with fresh fish that one can come across a few kilometres from Agios Nikolaos, or even from Agios Nikolaos with organized boat trips.
Finally, Old Chersonissos is a convenient starting point for excursions by bike or trekking following one of the adventurous paths you choose.
Other suggested places to visit are Heraklion, Crete's largest city, and the other two major cities of Western Crete; Rethymnon and Chania.
Heading towards Heraklion and in less than 5 km from Ano Chersonissos, visitors should make a stop at Thalassokosmos and tour in the aquarium of the largest centre for marine research and technology in the Mediterranean. For more information visit the official website: www.cretaquarium.gr .
Knossos, just outside Heraklion city, is the palace of King Minoas, the most important archaeological site of the island. Guided tours will give you a colourful introduction to the site, and leave you to wander the ruins with your imagination. Heraklion has three museums, the archaeological, the historical and the natural history museum, but a casual walk through the city will help you discover numerous monuments, squares, churches and historic buildings, such as the Lion Square with the historic fountain, the city hall, the Basilica of San Marco, the church of St. Titus and the church of St. Minas, as well as the Venetian port with the castle of Koules.
Rethymno and Chania have preserved their old towns and are worth visiting, strolling through the small traditional streets, encountering cosy shops, restaurants, cafes and Cretans!