Sitia itself is a modern town built on a low hill overlooking the wide Sitia gulf. It is clean, orderly and charming with many cafes and tavernas lining its promenade which frames the modest fishing harbor. At night its streets, and especially the port, teem with the activities of the locals who make it a habit to dress up, and to stroll slowly by the water where they can meet friends and relatives, and where the children can play energetically under the watchful eye of their parents.
The town welcomes visitors, but it is obviously not built around tourism. While accommodations abound in the form of modest hotels, restaurants, car rental offices, and a small number of tourist shops, the rhythm of the streets beats to the tune of the local needs. Most restaurants for instance are geared towards serving the demanding local population with authentic food, and the numerous cafes and bars accommodate mostly local and visiting-for-the-summer Greeks.Olive oil, wine, and above all agricultural produce is the main industry of eastern Lasithi, with tourism relegated to an auxiliary role. The land's fertility is celebrated during the "Sultana" festival in the end of August with much wine and dancing.
Sitia has a small airport which connects it to Athens twice per week (about €80), and to the small town of Alexandroupoli in Northern Greece.
"Rakadiko" is a shop where you can go enjoy a class of raki (or two) with "mezedes" (little bites of food). Sitia has several rakadika along the promenade.
Ferries from Piraeus visit three times per week.
Sitia Population: 11000
The place which Sitia occupies today has been inhabited since neolithic and Minoan times, and there are enough ruins in the area to testify to extensive Classical and Hellenistic settlement. It was an important center during Byzantine times, and acquired much wealth and power under Venetian rule in the middle ages. During this time it was destroyed twice by earthquakes and endured the wrath of the Turkish pirate Barbarossa in 1538. The town was sacked by the Turks a century later, and it was abandoned until 1870 when it was settled again.
The archaeological museum of Sitia was a pleasant surprise. It exhibits a wealth of important artifacts from the various archaeological sites of eastern Crete, most important of which were the so called "Palekastro Kouros" ivory statuette, and a number of tablets of linear A script found at the palace of Kato Zakros.