Welcome to the captivating Archaeological Site of Aptera, one of the most significant city-states in Crete Located on a plateau 200m above Souda Bay, this site is a must-visit for any history enthusiast Just 15 km from Chania, on the road towards Rethymno, Aptera boasts a rich history dating back to the Minoan Period (3500-1070 BC) Traces of its existence can also be found in the Geometric Period (1000-685 BC), Hellenistic Period (323-67 BC), and the Roman Empire (67 BC – 324 AD)

As you explore the site, you will discover that Aptera was a prosperous commercial center, thanks to its two city ports of Minoa (now Marathi) and Kisamo (now Kalives) The skilled archers of Aptera also made a name for themselves as mercenaries, bringing wealth and success to their city

The name Aptera is believed to refer to the goddess Artemis, also known as “Artemis Aptera” According to myth, the city was named after Pteras or Apteras, a king of Delphi who is said to have founded the city Another charming legend tells of a battle between the Muses and the Sirens on the hill of Aptera, resulting in the Sirens losing their feathers and the creation of the white islets in Souda Bay

As you tour the archaeological site, you will encounter various fascinating structures The surviving fortification walls, almost 4 km in length, were built in the 3rd century BC and showcase the city’s prosperity during the Hellenistic era The Roman cisterns, located behind the chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos, supplied water to the public and private baths of the city Other notable structures include a triple-arched arcade building, a small two-room temple, an ancient theatre, and a private Roman-style manor with a peristyle courtyard

Outside the walls of the city, you will find the ancient necropolis, where tombs dating back to the Roman, Hellenistic, and Geometric periods have been unearthed You can also visit the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, constructed using materials from the ancient city Nearby, two fortresses from the Ottoman period, the “Palaiokastro” (Koules) and the “Itzedin” at Kalami, offer a glimpse into more recent history

Aptera is also home to the Archaeological Museum of Chania, where various findings from the site are exhibited And the best part? Getting to Aptera is easy! Located in the Chania region, it is only 23 km from Chania Airport (0 h 29 m by car) and 130 km from Heraklion Airport (1 h 49 m by car) You can choose to rent a car, take a bus, or join a guided tour to reach this captivating archaeological site Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the rich history and myths of Aptera during your visit to Crete

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Aptera weather

Feels like 33.1°C
W 15.1 km/h
7 UV

3 Day Forecast

29.5 / 25°C29.4 / 25.1°C29.5 / 25.5°C
13 km/h 15.1 km/h 15.1 km/h
48% 48% 48%
10 UV 10 UV 10 UV
Sunrise 06:18 AM
Sunset 08:40 PM

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Beaches near Aptera

Kalami Beach

Kalami Beach

Distance 1 km
Kalives Beach

Kalives Beach

Distance 4.22 km
Kera beach

Kera beach

Distance 5.35 km
Marathi Beach

Marathi Beach

Distance 5.99 km
Almirida Beach

Almirida Beach

Distance 6.58 km
Vlites beach

Vlites beach

Distance 7.4 km
Koutalas beach

Koutalas beach

Distance 9.18 km
Manovas beach

Manovas beach

Distance 10.61 km
Koum Kapi Beach

Koum Kapi Beach

Distance 10.9 km
Agios Onoufrios Beach

Agios Onoufrios Beach

Distance 11.32 km