The awarded city for its wonderful beaches, Ierapetra, is the unique city in the southern Crete and the last city in the southern end of Europe. Ierapetra is about 36 kilometers from Agios Nikolaos and about 100 kilometers from Heraclion.
It is the third largest city of Crete with 27.000 residents. Their main occupations are tourism and agriculture, particularly vegetable, flower and olive oil production. Ierapetra is thought to be one of the most important exporting centres of agricultural products in Europe.
The city has also a vivid night life with clubs and taverns.
Apart from its beaches, the Archaeological Museum and the Venetian fortress are also worth visiting in Ierapetra.
The length of the beach is the largest of all the beaches in Crete. Every year Blue Flags are given to the sandy beaches from Agia Fotia to Mirtos.
There are three beaches in Ierapetra. Limanakia is in the west. It is organized and sandy, close to the center of the city and many people visit it during the summer. The visitor can also do water sports.
The Apovathra beach is in the east, near the Kale fortress, next to the small port of Ierapetra. Apovathra is sandy, organized and many water sports and diving can be done.
The largest beach of the city, Agios Georgios beach, is in the east, near the Agia Foteini church, after the taverns and cafeterias of the coastal road. It is 4 kilometers long. In its beginning it is sandy and organized but, in its east, pebbly and rocky.
The beaches of Chrisi or Gaidouronisi, Megali Paralia, Ferma, Agia Fotia, Kalamaki and Mirtos are also near Ierapetra.
Ierapetra is in the area where the ancient city of Ierapitna was. When Korivantes came from Rhodes to Ierpitna, the city was probably founded. During the Roman Era, Ierapitna was one of the most important cities in Crete. It was possibly destroyed by the large earthquake of 796.
The house where Napoleon spent the night in the July of 1798, when he abandoned his army, after his unsuccessful expedition to Egypt, is in Ierapetra.
Ierapetra had been a poor, rural city occupied only by agriculture and livestock until 1965. After his studies on agronomy that were paid by the Church, the young agronomist from the Netherlands, Paul Cooper, had to offer his service for free in an underdeveloped area for a year. Paul Cooper chose Ierapetra as its warm climate and fertile earth would help the development of hot houses. In the beginning the residents did not trust him but, then, hot houses were made in all over the area. A statue of the young agronomist was made and put between the hot houses.
The name of the city came from the words “ieros” (i.e. holly) and “petra” (i.e. stone).
The cultural festivities, “Kirveia”, with many concerts and theatrical plays are held every summer.