Located 60 km from Iraklion, on the south coast of Crete is the idyllic village of Tsoutsouros (GR:Τσούτσουρος, also known as Tsoutsouras) built next to the ruins of the ancient city of Inatos. Mainly a fishing/ farming community of about 100 permanent residents, is becoming a popular base of operations for visitors who prefer a less intense style of vacations, than that offered by big towns.
From Heraklion' s east gate (Kazantzidis Av.), you take the road to Arkalochori via Peza. After Arkalochori take the road to Viannos via Martha village. A little before the village of Martha at the junction you take the west direction to the villages Skinias, and Kato Kasteliana.
The drive is quite interesting passing through vine yards and olive tree groves. From Kato Kasteliana the last village before Tsoutsouros starts an uphill road 12 km long, reaching at 435 m above sea level before ending to Tsoutsouros. The route is impressive with spectacular views to the surrounding mountains, the imposing peak of Kofinas and the small valley of the river Mindris, which ends at the sea through a small wonderful ravine.
You can access Kato Kasteliana either from Ierapetra on the east or from Messara on the west. Tsoutsouros is also accessible from Ierapetra, Arvi, Keratokampos, Dermatos from a coastal dirt road (after Arvi) .
Public transport is available only to the village of Kato Kasteliana.
Weather / Climate
The climate in Tsoutsouros is temperate. The predominantly northern winds, that blow in the summer time, are getting sometimes really srong without however to affect the sea condition. The best period to visit the place is spring and autumn when the nature is gorgeous, and the temperature is to a more comfortable range.
The ancient city of Inatos, used to stand were Tsoutsouros is now. Inatos served as a port to Priansos a renowned city - state of the time, located near the village of Kasteliana.
Excavations by archaelogists have unearthed ruins of the Greek and Roman times.
In a cave, where the ancients used to worship "Eileithyia" the godess of fecundity, were found many statuettes and idols from the archaic and Greek period.
At the Heraklion museum (gallery XX) are today on display the two small statuettes of "NIOVIDES", depicting Artemis to shoot with a bow the children of NIOVI.
Tsoutsouros played also an important role during the German Occupation. One of the first organizations against the german invadors - founded in the areas of Viannos and Malevizi - managed to helping allied soldiers to escape to Egypt. The first submarines came to Tsoutsouros in 1941 and approached to KERKELOS - a promontory to the west of the village - from where the allied soldiers and Greek patriots were embarked.
There are not serious findings from the ancient Inatos to be visited. The axcavations in the area did not proceed that much and many interesting relics were stolen by smugglers and sold abroad.
Antiquities are not however the only point of interest of the visitors. The natural beauty of the place invites you to admire the wonderful beaches, located in both sides of Tsoutsouros and the small valleys and gorges with rare spacies of the Cretan flora and fauna. The area is a stopping- place for migratory birds while some of them spend here a good part of the year.
There are plenty of, more or less , secluded beaches around the village. Some of them to the east are accessible by foot and others on the west, like Maridaki or the monastery of Agios Nikitas and further more the "Palm forest" (yet uknown to most people) are accessible by boat.
There is also a small river, Midris, that ends to the beach. The river bed is easy to follow, and attracts quite a few visitors, especially during autumn and spring.
There are quite few rooms and apartments available in a couple of small, family owned, hotels in Tsoutsouros. Most of them are newly built with bathroom and kitchen facilities and since some of them belong to permanent residents they operate all year around.
Beach facilities like sunchairs and umbrellas or sea sports are also provided.
There are some tavernas, where fresh fish of excellent quality is served and a couple of bars, but Tsoutsouros is definitely not for the visitor who wants an intense night life.