The beautiful and interesting town of Zaros is built 45 kilometers from Heraclion and is included in the Festos municipality.

It is in the southern foot of the Samari Mountain, 340 kilometers above the sea level.

2139 people live in Zaros according to the 2011 census. Olive oil, raisins, citrus fruits, garden produce, locusts and livestock plants are produced in the area. The residents are also involved in restaurants. Zaros is famous for the trout breeding and for the bottled Zaros water that comes from the area.

The district includes Kourtes and the Agios Antonios of Vrontisi Monastery.

The visitor can walk around the Zaros Lake, admire the Rouvas forest (it can be accessed through the E4 European long distance path) in the Agios Nikolaos gorge and to enjoy Mesara from the Vrontisi Monastery.

A water mill is in the settlement. It has been declared a preserved historical monument.


The water supply system of the area is developed from the ancient years. The ancient Gortyna city was supplied with water by the Sterna spring, in the north of Zaros. Some ruins of the Roman aqueduct are preserved.

Zaros is stated in 1583 by Kastrofilakas as “Saro” with 266 residents and, in the same census, Kourtes (“Curtes”) is referred with 172 residents.

Only Turks lived in Kourtes during the Turkish occupation.


The name of the village comes from the plural particle “Za” and the verb “reo” (i.e. flow), “rous” and means plenty of water.


Three churches are in the village. Agia Kiriaki, next to the Ecclesiastical Museum, is worth seeing. There is a woodcut icon screen and icons of the 18th and 19th century in the temple.

The museum is in the memory of Kirillos, the Metropolite of Gortyna and Arcadia. Holly vessels and vestments, old Byzantine icons, and hand-written books are exhibited in the Ecclesiastical Museum.

The old Agios Nikolaos Monastery is in the north, near the entrance of the Agios Nikolaos gorge. The Monastery today is a Greek Old Calendarist Monastery.


A Traditional Cretan Cuisine competition is held in Zaros every year.