Traditional Cretan villages in Lassithi: Monastiraki

⏩ It was more than ten years before, on January 2007, when I first visited Monastiraki in Lassithi region. Then it was an almost abandoned old village, just starting to be rehabilitated. A tavern was there, quite small in an old house, like an traditional cafeneio or rakadiko. In recent years, the village was redeveloped and new SMEs were added: a guest house, one more tavern, and a cafe bar.

Monastiraki is a small village, dated to the Venetian period. The church in the village, dedicated to St George, has a T-shaped ground plan and can be dated to 14th-15th centuries. Moreover Monastiraki is listed in written sources from the late Venetian and Ottoman to Modern periods (Spanakis, 2006).

The place named after a small monastery existing previously there. Actually, remnants from a byzantine monastery were discovered and the site is listed as a monument by the Greek Ministry of Culture (OGG, 1996).

We visited the same tavern after eleven years, and tasted baked pork and steak, wild greens salad, stuffed vine leaves.

All of them were great, as well as the complimentary starters and dessert!

Then we noticed a cafe bar in the area, with distinctive vintage decor, so we ordered coffee (fine espresso freddo) to take away.

⇑ Pros: scenic place, view, authentic Cretan food, reused old vernacular buildings with traditional or vintage decor, sense of living like a local.

 Cons: only a minor detail: as in almost every other Cretan village, renovation and redevelopment works affected to a certain degree the authenticity of the place.

⇨ Where to go / what to do: Food, coffee and drinks, wander around the village, head to the entrance of the impressive Cha gorge nearby (DO NOT ENTER inside, it is suitable only for canyoning), arrange canyoning activity in Cha gorge

🔝 Best time to visit:  All over the year.

Complimentary starters: a local custom in Lassithi.

Goal for the next visit: try to taste other local dishes, such as traditional pasta, omelette and snails, stay for coffee in the cafe, and visit the other one tavern as well!


  • Spanakis, S. (2006). Towns and villages of Crete over the centuries. Volumes I & II. Heraklion: Detorakis (3) [In Greek].
  • Official Government Gazette of the Hellenic Republic No. 374 B 1996 (FEK/B/374/24.05.1996) [In Greek].

🔃 What do you think about this place? Feel free to leave a comment!