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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Driving on further south from the monastery, discover Agiofarago Gorge ending in Agiofarago 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 4 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.
In and around Moires you will find a variety of accommodation, here we suggest some options for your family.
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 - experience typical village life and live like a local in the hamlet of Pitsidia, just 11 km from Moires.
Moires is central to many small villages of southern Heraklion, each with their own character
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.
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 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.
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...
Beach and surrounding beaches of Kommos and Red Beach, is 15 km from Moires. Explore the ancient sandstone caves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See the location of the town of Mires on the interactive map below...
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.
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