There is not too much tourism in Sitia, and for that reason it’s a perfect escape from the mass tourism that has invaded other destinations on Crete. The sandy beach in town is pretty, though somewhat marred by the presence of a busy road just behind it.
Sitia has undergone some work since I last visited in 2002; there’s a new promenade along the waterfront. It’s worth visiting the Kastro (castle) which overlooks Sitia. It’s usually open to the public, although it was closed during my last visit in June 2007. The castle itself is not that interesting, but it offers stunning panoramic views of Sitia and the surrounding landscape.
Sitia Beach: An excellent sandy beach, though there’s a big road behind it. It’s one of the few beaches on Crete where Greek is the main language spoken, and topless women are an extinct species. Nevertheless, it’s a long beach with plenty of cafés and bars, most of which are full of Greeks. The best is Paradise Beach Café, which has a large menu of reasonably priced offerings.
Eating in Sitia: Sitia has many good restaurants with average prices. One of the biggest – some might say too big – is Zorba’s Taverna. Big taverna, big menu. Their crab saganaki (€7.50 in 2007) is the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
Accommodation in Sitia: There are a few mid-class hotels along the waterfront, most of which also cater for package tours. Go a few streets inland and you’ll find a wealth of pensions. The cheapest I found was Pension Venus, on Kondilaki Street, run by a friendly elderly couple. The rooms are very basic – you do not have your own bathroom – but there is a good kitchen you can use. To get to the rooms, you have to walk through the living room of the old couple, where they also sleep. A double room was €20 in the summer of 2007. Sadly, the legendary youth hostel of Sitia does not exist anymore. The Belgian owner Hilde has given up reopening the hostel.
Shopping in Sitia: Next to the bus station there is a big Spar supermarket, which is quite expensive. If you go 2km out of town on the Agios Nikolaos road, you’ll find Lidl, which is probably the cheapest supermarket in Sitia.
Internet Cafés in Sitia: The Java Café, just behind the seafront, has long opening hours, good prices (€2 for an hour) and fast computers.
Getting to Sitia and Away
Buses Sitia: Buses depart 6 times a day for Agios Nikolaos, 5 times a day bus for Ierapetra (with connections to Mirtos), 4 times a bus to Vai and maximum 2 times to Zakros and Kato Zakros. There are no buses to Xerokampos. If you want to go from Sitia to the west of Crete (Rethymno, Hania...), you have to change in Iraklio.
Timetable Bus (from spring 2017) for Iraklio to Sitia and return via Agios Nikolaos (it can always change):
Iraklio - Sitia via Agios Nikolaos: 07:00 10:45 13:45 14:15 15:45 18:45
Sita - Iraklio via Agios Nikolaos: 05:30 (Monday-Friday) 7:00 (weekend) 08:30 (Mo to Fr) 11:30 14:30 17:30 19:30 (Mo to Fr).
The buses leave Ierapetra in both directions about 1.5 to 2 hours later. Most buses stop at Iraklio airport. The bus at 1:45 pm from Iraklio is a Express-Bus (much faster).
Map Sitia Crete