I first saw a photo of Aforesmenos Lighthouse somewhere on social media and when I found out it was in Crete, Greece, I knew I was going to hike it someday. That day came at the end of September during our 2021 Greece trip. Definitely one of the highlights of this trip!
Aforesmenos Lighthouse is in the North part of the Lasithi Prefecture of Northeastern Crete, Greece and is a good hike. This secluded lighthouse is located on a rocky coast, this lighthouse, although in ruins, makes a dramatic appearance. Overlooking the Agios Ioannis Cape, this lighthouse was built in 1864 to protect ships from getting too close to the shore.
There is a fantastic story to this area. The word Aforesmenos means “expelled from church”, which is an odd name but makes sense when you hear the story. Legend has it that after Caiaphas condemned Jesus to death he headed to Rome for his safety. On his way there, he contracted a sickness and died at sea. His crew wanted to give him a proper burial. They were near Crete and tried to approach the Cape but suddenly a wind came up and huge waves dominated the normally calm sea. The boat was able to get to shore at the Cape of Ioannis and Caiaphas was buried here. Legend has it that the sea in this area has not been calm since. Thus the name, “expelled from church” fits this area.
Aforesmenos Lighthouse is located in Northeast Crete, Greece in the Lasithi Prefecture. It was about an hour North of where we staying in Elounda.
The Drive to the Cape of Ioannis
We left our hotel at Elounda and drove as far as we could towards the Cape of Ioannis. The drive was beautiful. We drove through Plaka and could see Spinalonga Island in the distance. We visited there during our 2019 trip so enjoyed seeing this from a distance.
We then drove towards the Northern Coast through mall villages, past old windmills, sheep and olive trees!
Next we drove along the beautiful coast and stopped at a few places and enjoyed the view of the Aegean Sea. We saw very few people or cars after we drove North of Plaka. Once we drove towards the shore, we saw no one else until after our hike! It is important to note that the road down to the shore is curvy and it almost appears at times that you will drive straight off into the sea! The road along the shore is dirt and not very well improved.
Since we drove along the coast, we parked at the end of the road. (See blue diamond on map). There was space for a few cars to park here. If you look on the map, (blue X on map) there is an official trail head for the lighthouse, but we did not take this route. The path we followed went up some fairly steep rocky areas. I believe we crossed over three hills before getting there. At times it was very hard to figure out where the trail was, yet we could see a faint outline of the trail in the distance so we headed that way, being careful not to step on vegetation, but on rocks instead. That being said, it wasn’t a difficult hike, just needed careful footing.
The hike was actually beautiful as we trekked above the coast. We could see and hear the rough waves throughout the hike. Although the weather was comfortable a strong wind was blowing that became more gusty as we came closer to the lighthouse. The clouds were grey and overcast. All in all, this alluded to a spooky scene. It didn’t help that when we told a couple of locals where we were heading, we were told this was a creepy evil place! With that in mind, the entire hike felt like quite the adventure out of a horror show and I kept imagining something was about to jump out at me! In reality, it was awesome.
As we came closer to the Lighthouse, the wind gusts became increasingly stronger. I literally felt I would blow over. It actually took effort to walk up to the lighthouse because of the wind. We had originally intended to walk to the other side of the lighthouse and down to the beach below, but honestly, the wind was too much of a deterrent that day.
We did step inside the lighthouse and snap a few photos, but the inside is so deteriorated that we did not feel safe climbing the steps to the top. The fact that we had not seen any other people or even vehicles since we hit the coast, kept us from being overly adventurous. It would have been awful for one of us to slip or get hurt with no cell service and no place close by.
The Hike Back
The hike back was unremarkable and we again enjoyed the view of the coast and the hike in general. Although still strong, the wind lessened as we hiked back towards the Jeep.
As always, we were ready to eat! We drove back the way we came and settled for lunch in Plaka. We ate at Taverna Spinalonga and it was fantastic. Even though we only had fries, tzatziki sauce and fresh grapes, the food and service were wonderful. In addition the taverna was located along the water which we always enjoy.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Elounda Peninsula All Suites Hotel. We stayed here in 2019 as well and absolutely love this place. It is a perfect place for a home base while in this part of Crete. The resort is fantastic with something for everyone and the rooms are spectacular! This year we stayed in a Villa with our private pool which is amazing. We found the staff and people at the resort are second to none. We will definitely be staying here again next time we are in Crete.
We celebrated our 3rd year anniversary at the Odysseus Restaurant on the premises of the resort. This was a fantastic fine dining experience at its best. The food was so amazing and fresh. In addition, the service and the ambiance were perfect. It was a great night.
This hike to Aforesmenos Lighthouse in Crete is one I will never forget. There was so much to see, an amazing legend, and a bit of a thrill! I would love to do this hike again on a nice sunny day to see if I get the same creepy feeling!
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