Day trip: Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas – Drosia

Crete is an island of hidden treasures, and sometimes you don’t need to travel far to find interesting monuments, beautiful places, and gastronomical hotspots. Follow us on a short trip from Fodele Beach to the lovely Monastery of Agios Panteleimon and the village of Drosia, a traditional gastronomical destination for locals with a long history.

The Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas is located just 3km south of the village of Fodele, driving through a lush area full of ​orange groves, wild herbs and olive trees. The impressive monastery was built as a fortress, but today only part of the original walls and the main entrance is preserved. Its construction date remains uncertain, but according to historical evidence, it was founded around 1539 by the monks of a nearby monastery who escaped a pirate invasion. The Monastery was attacked and destroyed several times by the Turks during the Ottoman Occupation, as it played an important role in the resistance. Take a tour to the beautiful courtyard, full of colorful flowers and aromatic herbs, and observe the interesting icons of the church, some dating back to the 17th century. The Monastery even hosts a small zoo that kids will love! If you have time, walk around to enjoy the unique nature that surrounds the Monastery. When you are ready, get in your car and continue driving up the mountain, towards the old national road that connected Heraklion to Rethymno, and turn west towards the village of Drosia, where you will arrive after approximately 20 minutes.

Drosia is also known by its Turkish name, Yeni Gave, which refers to a popular guest house – tavern that stood here during the Ottoman period, and was a popular rest stop for travelers. At the village center, you can see an Ottoman fountain of the 19th century next to a large plane tree. Built in an altitude of 300m. Drosia is a semi-mountainous village with about 40 inhabitants that belongs to the Municipality of Mylopotamos, a famous region known for its pastoral products, traditional Cretan culture and wild nature.

However, Drosia differs from the other villages of Mylopotamos in an interesting way: even though the local specialty in the region is always lamb, Drosia became famous for its pork! The family taverns of the village continue a long tradition in roasted pork that is so delicious it attracts visitors and gastronomy lovers from all around the island. Pick one of the taverns (they all share the same recipe) and enjoy a traditional Cretan lunch that can only be found in this little village in the middle of nowhere, but, thankfully, near enough to Fodele Beach, so you can come back again and again!

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