Ierapetra (yeh-rah-pet-rah) is Europe’s most southerly major town that services the surrounding farming region. It was a major port of call for the Romans in their conquest of Egypt. Ierapetra’s main business continues to be agriculture, as the greenhouses that mar the landscape along the coast will attest, rather than tourism. Despite its wealth, it is a largely unremarkable place and it attracts relatively few tourists. There are tavernas and cafés along the waterfront, a small Venetian fort on the harbour and the odd remnant of a Turkish quarter.
The town beach and surrounding beaches are good, the nightlife busy enough to keep you entertained and the scene is still Cretan enough to give you a less touristy experience of the island.
From Ierapetra you can visit the offshore, low-lying, sandy island of Gaïdouronisi (also known as Hrysi).