Routes of Wine

Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Heraklion, Dafnes, Venerato, Siva, Avgeniki, Agios Thomas

The Wine Roads of Heraklion Prefecture form an integrated network of routes covering the entire wine-producing zone of Crete, including nearly all wineries open to the public.

Today the routes form a unified pilot route starting at the exits from the city of Heraklion onto the national road, at Knossou Avenue to the east and Estavromenos (Giofyros Junction) to the west of the city.

Starting from the Knossou Avenue exit from Heraklion, the route continues along Knossou Avenue to the archaeological site of Knossos. A short distance around the Palace are other important Minoan and Roman monuments such as the Royal Villa, the Little Palace, the Caravan Sarai, the House of the High Priest, the Royal Temple Tomb and Villa Dionysos.

You then drive down to the lovely valley south of Knossos and through the first vineyards.

Nearby, at Spilia, you may see the old aqueduct that once supplied Heraklion with water from springs in the Archanes area.
A bit further south of Spilia, there is a junction leading east to the village of Skalani, on the ridge of a hill covered by vineyards.

If you choose to continue south along the road through the small valley of Patsides village, you may enjoy the wonderful rural landscape with vineyards climbing up the sides of the valley to the village of Kato Archanes. A little further ahead is Archanes, one of the most prosperous market towns in Greece, rooted deep in Minoan antiquity, with a long winemaking tradition.

West of the village rises the imposing mass of Mount Juchtas, with scattered archaeological sites such as the Minoan cemetery at Fourni, the Sanctuary at Anemospilia and the Juchtas Peak Sanctuary.

If you follow the road south of Archanes, you will find yourself in the now abandoned village of Vathypetro. Here you may see the Minoan Megaron with its wine-press, one of the most important monuments of the Minoan period, evidence of the age-old winemaking tradition of the area.

Taking the uphill road out of Archanes and after crossing the hilltop to the east, you will see before you the Kounavi area, green with vineyards. Drive through the village of Katalagari to reach it.

South of Kounavi, there is the Peza valley, the largest centre of wine production in Crete. On the slopes of the surrounding hills lie the traditional wine-producing villages of Agies Paraskies, Kalloni and Agios Vassilios.

If you follow the road north of Agies Paraskies, you will come to Myrtia or Varvari, where there is a museum dedicated to the great Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis.

The road south of Agies Paraskies, on the other hand, winds through beautiful hilly countryside to the valley of Melesses village and then Alagni further south, its vineyards forming one of the loveliest farming landscapes in Crete.

From Peza, follow the road through the villages of Kalloni and Agios Vassilios to reach Choudetsi, a hamlet hidden on the slopes of a beautiful valley. At the mouth of the valley there opens up a vista of endless vineyards, opening onto the southern hinterland of Heraklion Prefecture.

Taking the country road south of Choudetsi and past Epanosifi Monastery, continue towards the villages of Metaxochori, Charaki, Madé, Melidochori and Vorias, all of which have begun to play an increasingly important part in local wine production in recent years.

A little further south of Choudetsi you can take the road west through a landscape of hills green with vineyards, to the village of Profitis Ilias, where there is the Byzantine castle built by Nicephorus Phocas.

Continuing southwest, past vine-covered hills and through the villages of Kyparissos and Pyrgos, you reach the bottom of a beautiful valley full of vineyards.

At the western exit of the valley is the second-largest wine-producing area of Crete, centred on the village of Dafnes, where the age-old tradition of cultivating select wine varieties is preserved.

The first village you come to, Venerato, stands on the western slope of a small gorge. Opposite, on the eastern side, is Paliani Monastery. South of Venerato are the villages of Avgeniki and Agios Thomas, surrounded by a fascinating farming landscape of ancient vineyards and olive groves on the hillsides. Southwest, in the distance, rises the rocky hill of Patella Prinia, crowned with the ruins of ancient Rhizenia.

A short distance to the north of Venerato are the villages of Siva and Dafnes, with its long winemaking tradition and the famous Wine Festival.

After Dafnes, you cross the hills to the north of the village and reach the bottom of the valley, where the road leads you back to the Estavromenos area of Heraklion.

Visitors who would like to see more parts of Heraklion Prefecture interior with a long winemaking tradition have various other choices open to them.

From the Dafnes area, you can take the road leading south to the plain of Mesara and the site of Ancient Gortys, once the capital of Roman Crete. There, over the hills of Plouti village and Lavyrinthos, spreads an exceptional traditional vineyard.
From Alagni, too, you can continue south, crossing a wide farming area with more olive groves than vineyards. From Arkalochori you come to Kasteliana, where the ancient city of Priansos once stood.

The whole of this unified pilot route includes, concentrated in a single area, places which combine important and different features making up the character of the wider interior of Heraklion Prefecture.

This is a region in which grape-growing and winemaking activities co-exist with many complementary cultural and environmental activities from which they are inseparable.

The pilot route is designed to allow visitors direct, unhindered access to the areas they are interested in, and to provide them with accurate information once there. You are also free to choose a different route at any time.

International Sculpture Symposium

Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Venerato

(Event dates: 15/6 – 2/7)

The dream of Paliani’s residents to safeguard the institution of the International Sculpture Symposium and create a large outdoor Sculpture Gallery which will be open to the public is slowly but gradually coming true!

The International Sculpture Symposium of Paliani takes place at a special-purpose area in Venerato. The symposium is usually supported by the Municipality of Heraklion. Human figures “emerge” out Cretan limestone through an artistic process surrounded by mystery and magic, an eerie world that only sculptors may create with their art, free and open for the public to attend, witness and enjoy.


This international event was born out of an idea by sculptors Tsoumplekas and Chris Manolis Harkoutsis and was embraced immediately by the then mayor.

With no experience and with the financial support of institutions and entrepreneurs, as well as the tireless work of municipal services and ordinary citizens, that first International Sculpture Symposium was held in September 2006 in the municipal area outside the monastery Palianis. Sculptors from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and Greece worked for a month, eager to give the municipality their wonderful artworks, and contributing to turning this original idea into a reality.

This was the starting point back in the summer of 2006. Today, sculptors from various countries enjoy the hospitality of the local municipality over a month and create their works before the eyes of art lovers. The works remain at the municipality and the artists hold the copyrights.

Wine Festival

Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Dafnes Heraklion Crete

The famous “DAFNES” wine (VQPRD) is produced in Dafnes and originates from the grape variety known as “Liatiko”.

The wine festival of Dafnes was started in 1976. The event lasts for about ten to fifteen days and takes place in the first fifteen days of July each year, at the village square, where visitors are welcome to choose and drink the fine wine of Dafnes which is offered abundantly for free. Visitors may also taste excellent traditional dishes at low prices under the sound of live traditional music and enjoy folk dances by distinguished dancers, with different bands performing each evening. Visitors also have the opportunity to visit various exhibitions of folk Cretan art, displaying works of drawing, pottery and icon-painting. Furthermore, there are various exhibitions of books, rural tools and equipment, as well as of local wines.