The small village of Aptera, once known as Megala Chorafia but has changed its name back to the ancient name. Aptera is an amazing place to visit, especially during April to early May as the poppies and daisies make the most beautiful landscape.
There is a fort rebuilt by the Turks in1866 during their occupation of Crete. This fort overlooks another fort above Souda Bay, Intzedin Castle that became a prison for political prisoners during the Turkish occupation and was used later by the Greeks to house the communist dissidents c 1948.
So many places to explore - the ruins above the massive Roman rainwater cisterns used to supply the massive public baths, the byzantine church with its small fortification and the now restored ampitheatre and ancient Roman house. Don't arrive after 3pm as you probably wont get in.
It is said that Sirens were urged by the Goddess Hera to challenge the Muses in a singing contest, but this contest they lost.
In victory, the Muses plucked the Sirens of their feathers and wore them as a trophy.
With their feathers plucked the Sirens were no longer able to fly and turned half of their body into a fish tail.
This, some believe, is how the ancient City of Aptera got its name – in tribute to that famous episode from Greece’s Mythical past, for an animal is aptère when it is devoid of wings.
Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe's oldest city.
The name Knossos survives from ancient Greek references to the major city of Crete. The identification of Knossos with the Bronze Age site is supported by tradition and by the Roman coins that were scattered over the fields surrounding the pre-excavation site, then a large mound named Kephala Hill, elevation 85 m (279 ft) from current sea level. Many of them were inscribed with Knosion or Knos on the obverse and an image of a Minotaur or Labyrinth on the reverse, both symbols deriving from the myth of King Minos, supposed to have reigned from Knossos. The coins came from the Roman settlement of Colonia Julia Nobilis Cnossus, a Roman colony placed just to the north of, and politically including, Kephala. The Romans believed they had colonized Knossos.
After excavation, the discovery of the Linear B tablets, and the decipherment of Linear B by Michael Ventris, the identification was confirmed by the reference to an administrative center.
It's nearly two hours drive east along the highway from the Apokoronas but certainly worth the visit.
In 1866 the Abbot of the monastery decided to fire all the gunpowder in the monastery magazine, blowing up a large part of the buildings and 943 women and children who were taking shelter from the Turkish rule.
Many of the Turkish soldiers were also killed during this act of defiance which did not bring an end to Ottoman rule but did bring the plight of the Cretians to the rest of the World and eventually to the intervention of several countries which finally ended the occupation.
There is still much of the monastery intact and the beautiful Katholico ( the monastery church ). There is a building dedicated to the events in 1866 and houses many of the skulls. Whatever, the monastery is definitely worth a visit. Stay approximately 2 hours.
There is another monastery worth a short visit on the way to Arkady which is called Arsani, a very restful place.
Following a visit to Arkady, best in the morning as it can get very hot on the plateau, it is worth visiting Crete’s ceramic centre at Margarites. The village has a good taverna on a bend in the centre of the village where you can buy welcome ice creams and drinks etc as the village, which is definitely worth exploring, is built on a steep hill. If you’ve still got some stamina left, then Rethymno can be visited on the way back to the Apokoronas.