Moires in Central Crete...

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A lush orange plantation in the centre of the Messara Valley showing Mires town in the background

Moires or Mires, Μοίρες is a busy market town, with a population of over 11,000,  south of Heraklion by 50 km on the island of Crete in Greece.

There is a large market every Saturday as this agricultural hub is located at the centre of the fertile Messara valley, an area steeped in history and really at the heart of Crete.



The Messara Valley

The Valley of Messara

The Messara Valley has been fought over and cherished for thousands of years, and still today boasts miles and miles of olives groves, vines, mandarins, lemons, greenhouses and just about every vegetable you could think of.

This is what makes the trip here worth while, to see the abundance and select for yourself from the cornucopia on offer. 


Ancient Sites

The Phaistos Disc was found 8 km south of the town of Mires (image by Tranchis)

On the outskirts of town are the ruin of the ancient Minoan palace of Phaistos. Considered the second most important archaeological site on the island after Knossos, this beautiful site is 8 km south of town. The Minoan Palace site has sweeping views of the Messara and Psiloritis foothills. It was here that the intriging disc now known as 'the Phaistos Disc' was discovered.

Ruins at Gortyna, Near Mires, Crete

The Roman ruin of Gortyna (left) is located 1.5 km south of Agoi Deka or 7 km north from town. This is the site of the richest city on the island during the Roman dominated period from first to fifth centuries AD.  If you pack a picnic, you could sit under the beautiful plane tree to muse about the story of Zeus and Europa who, it is told in Greek mythology, made love here.



Panagia Kaliviani Orphanage

Panagía Kaliviani entrance (image by Audrey K)

Other local sightseeing includes the Panagía Kaliviani church built during the second Byzantine period and painted with frescoes. The orphanage, also on the grounds, was built in 1958.

The church is open to visitors and there is a small interesting shop with local handicrafts - proceeds go towards the monastery and orphanage. It is 4.5 km south of town on the national road.



Odigitrias Monastery

Odigitrias Monastery Crete is 11 km from Mires town (image by Rookuzz)Moires - Odigitrias Monastery Crete

The Odigítrias Monastery in the hills of Festis, just 11 km from town, is very interesting to visit, with immaculate white-washed walls, historic displays and the important Tower of Xopateras. This is the scene of one of the heroes during the Turkish occupation, an ex-priest Ioannis Markakis, who defended the tower with a small number of Cretans against thousands of Turks before finally being killed. 

Also nearby this monastery are Minoan ruins, tholos tombs discovered in the late seventies, dating from 2000 BC. 



Agio Farago Gorge

Driving on further south from the monastery, discover Agio Farago Gorge ending in Agio Farago Beach (above), or take the road to Kali Limenes Beach. The name means Gorge of the Saints and was used by hermits for seclusion who met annually at the Agios Andonios church in the gorge.

The distance from the monastery on the rocky dirt road south is 6 km, turning right to Agio Farago Gorge or keeping straight on to Kali Limenes. The distance from the road where you can park, walking through the gorge to the beach is 1.5km.


Accommodation Near Moires

In and around Moires you will find a variety of accommodation, here we suggest some options for your family.

Stay in the peaceful location in a bio orange plantation near Mires, near to ancient sites

Farm House in Bio Orange Plantation - experience first-hand the lush Messara Valley in an orange grove. Privacy, a great location and the freshest orange juice you can get!

Patriko Country House - live a typical village life in the traditional protected village of Vori just 8 km from Moires.

Traditional Cretan Houses in Pitsidia Village near Mires in Crete

Traditional Cretan Houses - experience typical village life and live like a local in the hamlet of Pitsidia, just 11 km from Moires.



Villages Nearby

Moires is central to many small villages of southern Heraklion, each with their own character

Vori Village in southern Crete

Vori Village is a 'traditional protected village' with an active agricultural sector,  producing olive oil, citrus fruits, and raisins. Wine and spirits are all made here in the village, as well as other crops and vegetables from both agricultural and private gardens. Just 8 km from Moires.

Lake Zaros in the Psiloritis Mountains

Zaros Village sits on the slopes of Mt Psiloritis, with gushing streams of cooling water this village is lovely to visit in the heat of summer. See the small Lake Zaros, eat fresh locally grown trout and salmon, or hike in Rouvas Gorge. 14 km from Moires.

Kamilari Village looks over the sea in southern Crete

Kamilari Village sits atop 3 small hills just back from the Mediterranean. The shape of the hills, like camels, may have given the village its name. Come here to enjoy the evening breezes in summer or all year round to see the olive groves and rest in the plateia. 11 km from Moires, 2 km from Phaistos.



Beaches Nearby

Beaches nearby include MatalaMatala Beach

Moires is close to many fine beaches on the south coast of Crete.

Travellers using the bus to access Matala Beach or Kokkinos Pirgos, Agia Galini, Kommos Beach or Red Beach, or other towns in the south, may need to change at the bus station in the centre of town.

There is an impressive new bus station, travellers need to be aware and watch out as the buses might not be announced and arrive and depart on both sides of the station because of the split in the main road through town. Work out well ahead of time which side of the road your bus is going to leave from. 

More notes here for those going to the Sea Turtle Conservation project in Matala, about how to get the bus to Matala Beach...

Matala Beach and caves (image by Mark Latter)

Matala Beach and surrounding beaches of Kommos and Red Beach, is 15 km from Moires. Explore the ancient sandstone caves.

Eat fresh seafood by the beach at Kokkinos Pirgos, Crete

Kokkinos Pirgos Beach and nearby Kalamaki Beach is 14 km from Moires. Sit by the beach and enjoy fresh seafood at the Red Castle Taverna.

Tris Ekklisies Beach surrounded by the Asterousia Mountains, is 46 km from Mires.

Keratokambos Beach a more remote beach in the south, is 65 km south east of Mires.



Local Organic Produce

Keep an eye out for local organic produce at the Mires market and in each village as you travel around the region. High on your list will be local olive oil, but you will also find vinegar, honey and jams.

Organic Farmers Cooperative of Messara, Crete

Look out for the organic or bio certified products from the Organic Farmers Cooperative of Messara.

You will find Bioli Creta Olive Oil and Kouses Estate Olive Oil, as well as balsamic vinegar with honey and organic red vinegar, and thyme honey.




Local Winery

Georgiladakis Winery and Raki Distillery in Crete

Visit local Georgiladakis Winery and Raki Distillery to inhale the sweetness of the Messara in the form of wine aromas to break your heart.

Here you will discover reds, whites and rosé from Kotsifali, Liatiko and Beltor varieties.

The winery is located at Petrokefali, just 5.5 km from Mires town.

The tasting rooms are open Monday to Saturday 9:00am until 20:00pm
Sundays 12pm to 15:00pm.



Local Radio with Cretan Music

Radio Moires Logo

Listen to local Moires radio station 97.1 FM live on the internet, just click the logo above or visit www.radiomires.gr

You can hear traditional Cretan music Kritiki musiki. More about Cretan music here.




On the Map

See the location of the town of Mires on the interactive map below...






Getting Here...

Mires Crete - take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Airlines, with many flights available per day.

The easiest way to come to Mires is by rental car from Heraklion.

The distance from Heraklion airport is 56 km, the distance from Heraklion town is 54 km.

Drive south on the national road and pass by the villages of Agia Varvara and Agioi Deka.

There are frequent local bus services from Heraklion. See bus information below, as well as flight and ferry information for getting to Crete.




Anastasi & Apostoli - authors of We Love Crete


"We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the team at
We Love Crete. Evíva!"

Contact us with further questions or feedback. We love to hear about your travels in Kríti and Greece. Let us know of any updates or additions, errors or omissions. Help us make this website the best it can be. Kaló Taxidí!









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