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Analipsis is a popular tourist resort in Greece, situated around 24 km from Heraklion, before Anissaris. It is close to the seaside resort of Hersonissos and it is also known by the locals as Analipsis Hersonissou. The town is built along a beach road which runs for more than a kilometre down to the seafront from Agios Nikolas National road.
It has a different feel to the other local tourist resorts as its commercial and tourist development happened at a much later date than its neighbours. Analipsis still has the feel of a traditional Cretan village, rich in olive groves and farmed fields and with many beautifully painted traditional houses and villas with beautiful gardens to admire.
The tourist part of the town really kicks in as you near the beach and its centre and there are a great range of facilities for visitors, including restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. There are also an increasing number of estate agents, demonstrating how popular the region has become for buying holiday properties.
The area was first settled during the Turkish occupation, when Turkish families began to build houses here and called their small village Svourou Metochi. When the occupation ceased, the Turks left and shepherds took over the small houses, as it provided a warmer place for their sheep to pasture in winter, away from the snow-covered plateau. The village continued to grow, as locals from the upper regions moved in and brought their own cultures with them. It had 68 dwellers in 1920 and since then it has grown and grown, particularly since the Crete tourism explosion in the 70s.
One of the first sites that welcomes you to Analipsis is its tiny church which sits alongside the sea, almost with the waves touching its foundations. It is a hugely picturesque attraction which draws in tourists by the dozen and generally marks the start of the holiday for visitors to the village.
Analipsis has a fantastic beach which stretches out behind the church to the east - it is large and sand, with many loungers and umbrellas available for hire and other facilities such as refreshments available. This is the best place for sunbathers and families to go as the sand is soft and the sea is also very pleasant and accessible.
To the west of the tiny church, however, the coast tends to become very rocky and this makes it less popular with tourists although it is ideal for enjoying peace and quiet away from other visitors and there are some lovely walks shaded by the native tamarisk trees. Locals also fish from the rocks. If you continue along this path you will eventually come to a sandy cove which is ideal for days when the sea is rough elsewhere or it is windy. Another sandy beach is along the end of this road and it sits at the mouth of Aposelemis River and is a popular tourist spot because of the ducks!
There aren't just the beaches to admire, however. Along the coast there are many shops to pick up souvenirs in and there are activities to enjoy too - for example watersports, horse riding, cycling and walking. The town is well worth an explore and there are many lovely old narrow streets with old houses to admire - perfect on a hot afternoon to escape the sun. It is worth getting a hire car to explore further afield as well, heading south of National Road you will find the olive groves to wind through and you can visit the most famous beach of the region at Kokkini Hani and Gouves. The Lassithi Plateau is also well worth a visit, with a half hour drive along its ascent providing amazing views, including 24 restored windmills! The plateau is also home to Dictaean Cave, where legend claims that Zeus himself was born!
There are also local activities such as golf courses and a water park to visit and there are bird watching sites too for those who enjoy this hobby, with 20 species of nesting bird regularly seen in the wetlands.
From Heraklion you can take the bus - they run frequently and are easy to access. Ask for Analipsis bus stop which is situated on old National Road and goes directly through the village to the beach. Hire car is also a good option and there are many car hire bureaux around in Heraklion - if you are in a car you will need to take the National Road to Agios Nikolaos in the east direction.
The main drag of the city is full of shops, supermarkets and tourist facilities and there are also many tavernas and restaurants to enjoy of an evening. The town's square is located in the centre, with a decorated paving scheme and palms in its centre. It's perfect for a relaxing drink on a terrace in the evening. The restaurants stay open until late and many offer entertainment. The hotels offer discos and late night licenses and there are some bars in town too.