Kritsa is a small town of Eastern Crete, built at an altitude of 350m below the Kastellos Hill, very close to Agios Nikolaos city. What makes Kritsa special is the preservation of the traditional Cretan lifestyle that attracts dozens of visitors. The scenic narrow streets, the blooming yards, the textile shops, the traditional coffee shops, the folklore collections and the Byzantine temples can easily give the settlement the characterization of an open folklore and historical museum about Crete.
The settlement appears to be connected with the nearby ancient Lato, the inhabitants of which, moved once to Kritsa. In Kritsa, besides walking in the small narrow streets, it is worth hiking in Kritsa Gorge, visiting the folklore museums and admiring the frescoes of its Byzantine monuments, with the most important being Panagia Kera. It is important to note that some scenes of the film "Christ Recrucified" with Julie Dassin and Melina Merkouri were filmed in Kritsa.
In front of the touristic settlement, there is a nice sandy beach with turquoise waters. The sea surface is mainly flat because the beach has an easterly orientation. while winds in Crete come mainly from the west. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, and water sports.
Kritsa Gorge starts near the picturesque village of Kritsa, 9.5km southwest of Agios Nikolaos, and ends at the village Tapes. It’s 4km long, reaching a width of only 1.5m in some places. It is easily accessible with a few points that need attention, where you have to climb over some big rocks (not too hard). The only time you should not visit the gorge is when it has rained previously and there are ponds in the gorge, which block the passages.
The name Lato is taken after the Dorian pronunciation of the goddess Leto, who probably was worshiped here. However, the patron of the city was the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, who is depicted on the coins of Lato. moverer in Lato was born the admiral of Alexander the Great, Nearchus (360 to 312 BC).
The plateau Katharo lies 26km south of Agios Nikolaos and 16km west of Kritsa, at an altitude of 1150 meters. The waters of the Plateau are transported through the beautiful gorge of Havgas into Lassithi Plateau. Katharo is uninhabited, although there are several farmhouses belonging to the village of Kritsa.
The cypress wood of Kritsa is located about 10km west of Kritsa village, very close to the asphalt road that heads to the plateau of Katharo. It is formed across a deep ravine, at the southern foot of Mount Tsiva. The forest is in the middle of the ancient path that led Minoans to the plateau of Katharo, with many Minoan pottery remains found here.
One of the most popular Byzantine monuments in Crete (13th- 14th A.D.) is located in Logari, one kilometre east of Kritsa. This triple-nave Byzantine church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, to Saint Anthony and Saint Anna. It is adorned with superb wall paintings on particular themes like the representation of Saint Anna, other icons of the saints, and the fourteen scenes depicting the secret life of the Virgin Mary.
Cave Gaidourotripa is located west of Kritsa, on the road that leads to the plateau Katharo. The cave bears very rich cave decor. Its name literally means Donkey Cave, because the locals used to bring the elderly donkeys in the cave.
South of Kroustas we meet the historic cave-pothole Tafos (Tomb) where the rebels of EAM (Greek guerrilla Army during World War II) found shelter during the German Occupation. As usual, the place was revealed by betrayal and the Germans arrested them and executed all of them at this place.