Natural Wealth

  • The nature of the Sitia Province is very rich and unspoiled.
  • Many extensive "NATURA Areas".
  • An abundance of particularly beautiful landscapes.
  • Rare geological formations and impressive sports of geological development.
  • More that ten deep gorges and big gaps.
  • 300 caves of great interest to explore.
  • A large population of rare birds and animals; and also the biggest colony of Eleonora’s falcons in the world.
  • The richest and most unspoiled sea habitat in the Aegean Sea (north of the island of Psyra), home to some fine corals.
  • Extensive fields covered with the threatened seaweed Posidonia oceanica.
  • The palm forest of Vai, the only palm forest in Europe.
  • The starting point of the E4 European Path.
  • Many habitats of Euro-African vegetation (at Vai, the southem shores, etc.)
  • 2.100 species of native plants, 300 of them are indigenous, and also many herbs and pharmaceutical plants –not to mention numerous beautiful wildflowers.

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  • Φυσικό Πάρκο Σητείας

Natural Park of Sitia

The Natural Park of Sitia is on the easternmost edge of Crete, in the Municipality of Sitia. It covers the entire area of the former Kapodistrian Municipality of Itanos, as well as parts of the former Municipalities of Lefki and Sitia. Geographically, it extends from cape Kavo Sidero, in the north, to the southern coast of the Municipality, the edges of the city of Sitia, to the west, and the coast of Zakros, to the east. It is mainly a mountainous area, with the Zakros Mountains dominating the landscape and the lace-like coastline all along the shores.

Park's boundary have been assigned in detail covering an area of 361,4 km2 (or 361,4 hectares).

Eastern Crete, and especially the area of Sitia, is one of the most important and environmentally unique areas of Crete. Its geographical position on the eastern edge of the island, which allowed for the exchange of species with Asia Minor, in combination with the intense dry and hot climate of the area, created a mosaic of habitats and ecosystems, some of which, such as the Palm Forest of Vai, are unique in the Mediterranean.

All terrain features within a territory, namely rocks, ores and fossils, as well as the physical processes affecting them comprise the local geodiversity. Major features, i.e. those most significant among them, are called geotopes and, as a whole, they comprise the region's geological heritage. Sitia Nature Park hosts an impressive geological heritage that includes impressive rocks, from the majority of the tectonic units of Crete, peculiar landforms and landscape features, tectonic structures, and many fossils.

More than 100 geotopes, have been identified within the area of the Park, and are presented on the various maps of the Park, awaiting you to discover them.

The Info Center at Karydi is hosted at the old school of the village and is dedicated to the speleological research. The center offers information on the Nature Park, the nearby geo-routes and the activities that can be implemented, but also can be used for accommodation of small groups and scientists.

The Zakros Natural History Museum, which is located at the Polykentro building of Zakros, is dedicated to the natural environment of the Park.

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