Palekastro is actually the easternest town of Crete, located about 20 km east of Sitia. It is the economic center of a fertile large area with many sights of historical, archaeological and naturalistic significance. It has about 1000 permanent residents who are mainly engaged in tourism and olive oil production. The small town does not have any particular beauty, but the surrounding area has many great places to explore.
Its name comes from the ruined fort Paleo Castro located on the nearby Kastri Hill, which separates the beautiful beaches of Kouremenos and Hiona, located about 1.5km to the east. Within walking distance there is the archaeological site of Roussolakos, that flourished as a great Minoan city.
Vai was totally unknown until the early 1970s, when a popular commercial for the Bounty chocolate with coconut was filmed here, using the magical background of palm trees. In the advert, coconuts were falling from trees, however Vai palms produce dates. Consequently coconuts had to be falsely hung to create the right impression. The ad made this unknown earthly paradise renowned throughout the world.
The name is taken after the ancient city Itanos, sited in the area. Next to the archaeological site of Itanos there are the three consecutive bays of Erimoupolis (a second name of the region). Thus, you can combine your visit to the archaeological site with a dip in the cool waters. It is noteworthy to tell that part of the ancient Itanos is under water. Thus, a unique experience is to snorkel above the ruins, which now house only fish!
Chiona means carob storehouse in the Cretan dialect and is taken after the storehouses that were usually built next to the shore in order to transfer carobs with ships. Indeed the area was known for trading carobs. Here you can have a perfect day, especially if you combine your visit to Chiona with eating at the famous local fish taverns of Batis and Amanakis.
The beach is the longest in the area with a length exceeding 1.5km, bounded on the north by the Cape Tenta and on the south by the Cape Plaka. It has fine brown sand, shallow turquoise waters, and several tamarisk trees around it. It is slightly organized in some areas with umbrellas, showers, and beach bars.
Toplou Monastery is located in the northeastern tip of Crete, at the base of Sidero Cape, 10km east of Sitia and 6km north of Palekastro. The monastery is one of the most historic monasteries of Crete and is known for its vast real property. In religious circles it is known as the Monastery of Panagia Akrotiriani, while the locals just call it the Great Monastery.
Rousolakos is located 91km southeast of Agios Nikolaos, right next to the beach of Hiona. Here, the archaeologists have discovered an important town of Minoan Crete covering an area of more than 50 acres, which flourished particularly at the end of the Minoan Age till 1450BC.
Maridati is beautiful unknown pebbly beach at a remote green valley in the area of Palekastro (6km from Palekastro). This is located 90km east of Agios Nikolaos, 21km east of Sitia and 5km north of the famous Kouremenos beach.
Skinias is a remote area located 94km east of Agios Nikolaos and 20km east of Sitia, in one of the most remote places on Crete. The wild area hosts three nice small coves, ideal for isolation at the exit of Katsara gorge. There are no amenities and trees around, thus you should have water and umbrella with you.