A natural fort built amidst the thick vegetation in the northern face of Psiloritis Mountain the ancient city of Eleftherna was for a long time the rival city of Knossos. Its fortified citadel, its commercial and pirate fleet as well as a quarry among others are evidence to its strong position in ancient times. It is located at about 10 km south of Panormos.
A small fisherman’s village Bali (9 km from Panormos) has developed over the last decades into a prominent travel destination in this part of Crete. Besides the monastery of St John Prodromos and the two-aisled stone church and old fountains with a characteristic decoration Bali offers and beautiful beaches west and east of the village, an islet and a scenic view onto the little port.
Tucked into the rocks of south base of Kouloukonas Mountain, a short way out of Melidoni village (6 km south east of Panormos) is the entrance to Gerondospilio. A place of great natural beauty, the cave played a part and is associated to the rising against Ottoman presence in Crete. The cave served as a settlement and place of worship from the late Neolithic era to Roman times.
Traditionally know for its clay urns - pitharia and terracotta making Margarites is a small beautiful village at only 9 km south of Panormos. In its picturesque narrow streets you will find a number of byzantine churches, decorated entrances and walls built during the occupation by Venice as well as numerous workshops and terracotta outlets.
Arkadi is known for a siege that took place during the strife of Crete against Turkish occupation in 1866. Its architecture adds to the site’s attraction while the small museum contains a significant display of icons of the late C17 besides church archives. The monastery is 14 km southwest of Panormos.