The Wine Routes of the Prefecture of Heraklion are routes that were created by the Winemaker’s Network, and which have been designed in such a way that you have the opportunity to become acquainted with the largest possible number of representative grape-wine producing zones in the region.
They combine travelling through regions with a noteworthy presence of monuments and historical sites associated with wine since antiquity, traditional hamlets, sites and trails of natural beauty, and the most noteworthy wineries where you can try wines and local delicacies.
Following Leoforos Knossou (in the city of Heraklion) will lead you to the city exit where the archaeological site of Knossos is located. At a short distance around the palace there are other Minoan monuments scattered, such as the ‘Royal Mansion’, the ‘Small Palace’, ‘Caravan Sarai’, the ‘House of the High Priest’, the ‘Royal Tomb-Sanctuary’, and the ‘Villa of Dionysus’.
Continue along the beautiful valley south of Knossos and you will come across the first vineyards in no time. A short distance away, at Spilia, you will make out the old aqueduct that used to transfer spring water from the Archanes range to Heraklion. To the south of Spilia you will arrive at the intersection to the east of the road leading to the village of Sakalani, which is located on the ridge of a hill covered in vineyards. If you continue south, following the road crossing the small valley of Patsides hamlet, you will have the opportunity to admire a wonderful agricultural landscape with vineyards growing on the slopes of the valley all the way to Kato Archanes village. A little further to the south you will reach Archanes, one of the most flourishing farmers’ hamlets in Greece, with deep roots in Minoan antiquity and a rich wine producing tradition.
To the south of the hamlet Mt. Juktas towers and antiquities are to be found all around, such as the Minoan cemetery at Fourni, the Sanctuary at Anemospilia and the Peak Sanctuary.
If you take the road leading south from Archanes you will reach the abandoned hamlet of Vathypetro, where the Minoan Mansion with the grape press is located, one of the most important monuments of the Minoan Period. From Archanes follow the ascending road and cross the peak of the hill to the east to come face to face with the district of Kounavoi, lush with vineyards, which you reach by crossing the village of Katalagari.
Further along, to the south of Kounavoi lies the valley of Peza, the largest wine producing centre of Crete; the slopes of the surrounding hills are dotted with the traditional vineyard villages of the region: Agies Paraskies, Kalloni, Agios Vasileios.
Take the road heading north from Agies Paraskies and you will find Myrtia, home of the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum.
The road leading south from Agies Paraskies journeys through a beautiful hilly landscape in the valley of Meleses village and further south to Alagni, its vineyards creating one of the most beautiful rural landscapes in Crete. From Peza take the road crossing the villages of Kalloni and Agios Vasileios to reach Houdetsi, a hamlet hidden on the hillsides of a gorgeous valley, at the exit of which rolls out a landscape with endless vineyards, opening out onto the south of the prefecture’s hinterland.
Following the country road to the south of Houdetsi, after passing Epanosifis Monastery, continue to the villages of Metaxochori, Charaki, Madé, Melidochori, and Vorias, which have been playing a significant role in the wine producing process of the broader region over the last few years.
This is where the wine routes of the Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia end, and the routes that pass through neighbouring Municipalities continue. You can learn more about these routes from the Winemaker’s Network (www.winesofcrete.gr) or from leaflets available at all wineries and the Town Hall.
Viticulture in Crete has a history of approximately 4,000 years, and it would be no exaggeration to say that we are on the Minoan wine routes, the same routes on which the Minoans cultivated their vineyards and transported their renowned wine in amphora vases throughout the Mediterranean.
Download the kml file of the route in your device: (kml) Wine Routes