Ierapetra (yeh-rah-pet-rah) is a cheerful, down-to-earth seafront town and the commercial centre of southeastern Crete’s substantial greenhouse-based agribusiness. It has a lot to offer and an impressive history with interludes as a Roman port for conquering Egypt and a Venetian stronghold based on the still standing harbour fortress. Turkish quarter remnants attest to Ierapetra’s Ottoman past.
This hot and dusty place offers a more authentic Cretan experience than the northeastern coast resorts. Tavernas and cafes line the waterfront and nightlife is busy in summer. Local beaches are fairly good, and sandy, semitropical Gaïdouronisi Island (also called Hrysi) lies offshore.