Anogia or Anoyia is a place with history and character with warm people and an excellent cuisine.
A prominent village set on the northern slopes of Psiloritis Mountain at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level positioned in a way that can supervise a significant part of two provinces.
The name Ano-gia: Ano-gi derives from its situation that is set high up in the mountains. Ano means up, Gi means land, (a settlement set up high up in the mountains).
It’s one of the most interesting villages in Crete. The locals vary from other Cretans in their traditions, customs, social life, folk art and the local dialect.
Νow we're getting into Crete's mountains, 750 meters up on the north face of Mount Psiloritis to be precise.
Therefore the people in Anogia have particularly close relationships with Psiloritis or Ida Mountain and its landscapes. The locals are mainly engaged in farming and are characterized by their warm hospitality. Here you can find genuine Cretans who still wear traditional costumes.
The women in Anoyia still weave traditional Cretan weavings of superb quality that you will find in many shops in the centre of the village. Therefore, don't doubt why the first women's cooperation in Greece was founded in Anogia.
It's a short hop from here to the stunning Nida Plateau, the Ideon Cave (mythology: Zeus grew up here), the observatory at the top of the Skinaka as well as the ancient settlement of Zominthos.
Birthplace of the famous Greek singers Nikos Xylouris and Psarantonis.
Anogia has a history that is powerful and tragic - burned by the Turks, then by the Germans who during the war, as a reprisal for kidnapping a German general called Krieppe, rounded up and shot all the men they could find in the village.
Stockbreeding is the source of wealth in this area. The village has two aspects. Old Anogia is the lower part, reached after you pass the inviting square filled with Kafeneia on the right-hand side (as you approach from Heraklion) and continue as the road curves left and downhill.
The air is mountain-fresh, the local Raki and food genuinely good and usually made with local ingredients. If lamb is to your liking, the savory aroma of it cooking at the tavernas in the lower part of the village is tempting indeed. The square of Agios Georgios is a splendid exhibition of local life and a good place to stop for coffee and galaktoboureko (Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter, filled with the most creamy custard and bathed in scented syrup... Simply amazing!), buy local cheese, and visit the small church of the same name.
Anogia is a place with a particular culture. The greatest Cretan lyre players and singers come from Anogia with the most famous being the "Archangel of Crete”, the legendary singer Nikos Xilouris, whose house is open to all guests. Other important artists are Vasilis Skoulas, Psarantonis, Loudovikos ton Anogion,
Traditional Cretan music can be enjoyed at the village in the concerts which are held in the open theatre during summer, as well as in festivals the two first weeks of August. Moreover, the cultural club of Anogia organizes cultural nights and attracts visitors not only from Crete but from other parts of Greece.
Don't miss Yakinthia, the very famous artistic event, which takes place every year in July at the same great place called Fourni.
How to get there
From Heraklion - the easiest and swiftest route - the drive is wonderful, winding mountain roads, passing through some interesting villages including Tilissos, giving you the chance to have an archaeologist's feast in seeing the site there and similar at Sklavokambos (look out for the Minoan villa on the left at Sklavokambos). Allow an hour or just over for the drive, more of course if you stop to admire the sights or enjoy the sites on the way!
Please check google directions here.
Head out of Heraklion on the New National road towards Rethymno and Chania, and take the turn to the Old national road and "Gazi" and "Anogia" (alternatively take 62 Martyrs out of Heraklion and carry on following the road, this will take you through Gazi on the Old National Road), after about 4 km you will see Anogia signposted left. It is then, to be astonishingly accurate, 22.8 Kilometres of winding, scenic road - best taken at a relaxed pace - to the beginning of Anogia.
At this point, a left turn will take you to the Nida Plateau, ski area, and the Ideon Cave. The observatory for which you turn left before the plateau is normally open one day a month, however, it is not until you reach the left turn for the observatory that these dates are posted. There are regular buses to Anogia from Heraklion from bus station B at Hanioporta. There are also buses to Anogia from Rethymno.
By Air: From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Chania and Heraklion Airport. Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
By Sea: The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Chania-Souda Port or Heraklion Port. Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our website.
By Car: If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.
By Taxi: Book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our website.
Where to stay
- Just 1km away from Anogia village on the way towards Nida Plateau, there is a small, superb hotel with the authenticity of Cretan tradition and the wild natural beauty of the island Delina Mountain Resort. This is a very nice mountain resort adjacent to a huge restaurant for large events and Cretan music ... and with wonderful authentic greek food.
- Another great nearby to Anogia Village option is our Yakinthos Archontiko Manias at Axos Village. Yakinthos Archontiko Manias, is special, as are the views from it, the produce provided for your breakfast, the many historical, archaeological or cultural interests (your hosts will tell you where) nearby, traditional hospitality.
What to see & do
- Recommended: enjoy a Greek coffee at the square in the upper village (Agios Georgios Square), the atmosphere here is wonderful - hospitality and welcomes are surprising in their warmth. Excellent local cheese and Raki are available to buy, at the shop on one corner of the square.
- You are more likely to see men wearing the Cretan baggy trousers tucked into their boots, heads decorated with nets, here than just about anywhere else. This is miles from "designer name" mecca. The small church of Agios Georgios is worth a visit if it is open. On the main road, a little before the square, visit the Folk Art Museum.
- Wander the streets from the top to the bottom of the village, see the woven tablecloths and linens (with much salesmanship from the old ladies). In the lower part, where the Plateia Syntagmatos Kafeneio is and the statue of Vasilis Skoulas, the tavernas to the right with succulent lamb and other foods cooking outside in open barbecue-ovens.
- Traditional Cretan music can be enjoyed at the village in the concerts which are held in the open theatre during summer, as well as in festivals the two first weeks of August. Moreover, the cultural club of Anogia organizes cultural nights and attracts visitors not only from Crete but from other parts of Greece. Don't miss Yakinthia, the very famous artistic event, which takes place every year in July at the same great place called Fourni.
- Ancient Zominthos is located at Psiloritis range, 7km west of Anogia, on the road heading to the plateau Nida. Discovered in 1982, Zominthos is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Crete, compared my many to that of Knossos.
- Visit the most important observatory of Crete, The Skinakas Observatory is a research facility operated jointly by the Foundation of Research and Technology - Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), the University of Crete and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics of Germany. The Observatory location, at Skinakas peak on the Psiloritis mountain at an altitude of 1750m, offers excellent conditions for high quality astronomical observations of in the area of the Mediterranean. It is equipped with a variety of instruments, which qualify it as one of the world's best-equipped telescopes, at least relative to its size.
- Follow the sign behind the statue to see the original wood carvings and paintings of Alkiviadis Skoulas ("Grillios"), his son who is reasonably senior himself will show you the gallery (if he is not there - ask at the Kafeneio and they'll summon him to show it to you) at the Museum Grillios.
- Original wood carvings with much use of the natural shape of branches, and an appealing naive painting style in pictures of Eleftherios Venizelos and more. Have a look at Nikos Xylouris's house right on this square - Anogia is also famous for its musical tradition.
- Venture from here to the awe-inspiring and enormous plateau, the Nida Plateau, and visit the Ideon Cave. The journey is truly scenic and takes you through sparkling rock and mountainscapes. There is a taverna at the plateau - what you really want to do is just walk, wander and take in this "out of Africa-like" panorama. (In winter skiing would be a possibility on the way up to the plateau - there is a ski "area", but it has not been operating for years).
- This is a splendid place for walking, hiking, caving, and energetic cycling - a good base too [E4 hiking path goes through Anogia]. The archaeological sites within easy reach abound, Tilissos, Sklavokambos, and Anogia's own treasures (of course many finds are stored or displayed at the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion). At Zoniana, a nearby village, you can check out the new wax museum.
- At Zoniana Village you could visit the Cave Zoniana or Sfendoni or Sfendoni's Hole which is shaped on the southern slopes of the hill Halepa at an altitude of 630m. The cave is accessible and is the most beautiful cave in Crete and one of the most beautiful in Greece, with rich stalactite and stalagmite decoration. It belongs to the Natural Park of Psiloritis, which is protected by UNESCO.
Please find here all our exciting activities in Rethimnon Area.
Where to eat & drink
There are some places where it is hard to choose one eating location over another - so far we cannot say we've decided on our favorites. Let appetite, the aromas of cooking, and the feeling of the moment are your guide - you are unlikely to be disappointed.
Food is important, a big feature of life, everywhere in Greece and much so here in Crete. In Anogia food is good. Again, let us know your favorites and tell us what you liked so we can pass the information on to other visitors...
To appreciate Anogia, give it some time, walk, stop for coffee or drink, eat and allow any kindness or generosity that might be offered you, to quench the thirst for offering hospitality that is a hallmark of Crete and has its source it often seems, in Anogia.
If you can make the time, we would suggest at least an overnight stay enjoy the "events" at different times of the day and to give ample chance to visit the extraordinary special places nearby. This is also an appealing place - it feels good to just well, be here for a while - we think you'll easily see what we mean when you get to the mountains of Psiloritis.
The reviews for the Anogia Village