Myrtos is a small and very charming village on the coast of the Lybean Sea in southeastern Crete.
Situated not far from Lerapetra, it is often mentioned as being the warmest settlement in Greece.
Influenced by warm air masses from the Sahara desert, Myrtos is blessed with a wonderful warm and sunny climate and the longest summer in Greece.
If you want to explore the island off the beaten track, the village and the surrounding area offer a lot to see and to do.
Lovely white churches, secluded monasteries, mixed forests, pristine beaches and exciting archaeological sites wait for you to be discovered. Here is what not to miss while in Myrtos:
1. Mournies Bridge
When traveling to the small village of Myrtos, you should definitely spend some of your time visiting one of the old bridges in the area.
Known as the Mournies Bridge, it is located less than a mile (1.5 km) north of the settlement.
Constructed in the late 19th century, it attracts visitors and serves as an important connection between the villages in the area.
After heavy rains in winter, a raging river flows under the bridge. During the summer months, however, it dries up completely.
2. Myrtos Beach
Myrtos Beach (not to be mistaken with Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia) is known for its silver sand, mixed with small fine polished silver pebbles.
Protected from northern winds by Dikti Mountain, it attracts the first beachgoers in late April and still welcomes visitors in early November.
The warm cobalt-blue clear water along the coast is about 68°F (20°C) in April and about 76°F (more than 24°C) in November, ranking Myrtos among the warmest European beaches.
May and October are considered the best time to enjoy the Blue Flag-awarded beach because the weather is very comfortable but the number of visitors is smaller.
3. Selakano Forest
Selakano Forest is located about 20 minutes drive northwest of Myrtos.
This is a forested valley nestled between the southeastern slopes of Dikti Mountain. The place is very recommended to visit if you are a wildlife lover.
Here you can find a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous species of trees, characterized by greater resistance to dry and hot weather as well as a number of rare species of birds and other animals.
Among the trees you will find charming forest trails and beautiful waterfalls.
4. Tertsa Beach
Tertsa Beach is a hidden gem, approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) west of Myrtos.
This is a very quiet and remote beach, known for the exceptional quality of its deep-blue water.
It offers a mixture of silver sands and small pebbles, and the warm sea water attracts beachgoers even on sunny and clear November days.
This is a secluded place, so there are not too many things to do except for enjoying the beach or a nice meal in some small taverna nearby.
5. Sarakina Gorge
Sarakina Gorge is one of the natural beauties in this part of the island and can be found in an isolated and secluded area approximately 3 miles (almost 5 km) north of Myrtos.
It is difficult to find, but on the other hand, the place is never crowded with tourists, even in the middle of summer.
The canyon is shady and relatively deep, and its maximum width reaches only 10 meters.
At the bottom of the gorge flows the Kriopotamos River, which changes beyond recognition from a deep river in winter to a shallow mountain stream in summer.
6. Snorkeling and diving
Warm, clear and rich in nutrients, the deep cobalt-blue water along the southern shore of Crete attracts hundreds of species of sea creatures, including dolphins and sea turtles.
The combination between the incredibly rich variety of life forms and the underwater visibility of 100 ft or more (approximately 30 meters) attracts lovers of swimming, snorkeling and diving from all parts of Europe.
There is a diving center in the village that provides all the needed equipment if you want to explore the underwater world.
You will find one of the important archeological sites in this part of the island approximately half a mile east of the center of Myrtos.
Pyrgos is a small in size settlement that consists of a house, a tomb and stone-paved paths.
It dates from the Minoan period, and its age is estimated at about 3,000 years. The settlement was excavated in the 70s of the 20th century.
It lies on top of a hill, revealing a magnificent panorama of the entire area.
8. The Sanctuary for Donkeys
The Sanctuary for Donkeys should definitely be part of your travel bucket list, especially if you are spending your vacation with your children or grandchildren.
It is situated not far from the village of Anatoli, approximately 30 minutes drive to the north of Myrtos.
Surrounded by the picturesque mountains in the interior of the island, the sanctuary is home to abandoned and unwanted donkeys, but also to dogs and cats.
The place is a real paradise for wildlife lovers, and you will be able to even walk around with some of the donkeys.
9. Fournou Korifi
A mile and a half east of Myrtos (2.4 km) you will find another one of the significant archeological sites in the area.
The settlement dates back to the Minoan era and is called Fournou Korifi.
The ruins were first excavated in 1967, but their exact purpose still remains a mystery. Excavations have revealed the foundations of a large stone building with more than a hundred rooms.
Due to its high altitude and proximity to the sea, the place offers an exceptional panoramic view of the coast.
10. Myrtos Museum
Located in the central part of the small village, the Myrtos Museum focuses mainly on the great archaeological treasures in the area.
Apart from the Minoan period, here you can learn more about the settlement in the recent past, including the 20th century.
You will also find an interesting collection of photographs and items from the everyday life of the locals.