Sitia is a small and pleasant coastal town in the eastern part of Crete, and on the western side, of the Bay of Sitiain. The town boasts a typical Mediterranean port. The town follows the edge of the bay, which is semicircular in shape. From the port it is possible to catch ferries to other parts of the island, some of the other islands in the Aegean, and to the port of Pireaus. Sitia also has a small airport. It is very much a working community which happily accepts tourism without allowing it dominate the town.
Sitia itself is now a modern town built on a low hill overlooking the wide Sitia gulf. It has many bars, cafes and tavernas lining its promenade and small fishing harbour. During the evenings, life mostly revolves around the area of the port, where he majority of tavernas are geared towards serving authentic Greek cuisine to the local population, and the many Greeks that choose to holiday in the area. There is plenty of accommodation to be found in the form of small hotels and apartment blocks. Car rental offices, and a small number of tourist shops, all help to serve the needs of the visiting tourist population.
Visitors to Sitia particularly enjoy the climate and the number of good beaches in the area.Temperatures in the summer can exceed 30 degrees Celsius, dropping in winter to 7 degrees Celsius. Showers have been installed on the towns long sandy beach, which also offers the opportunity to engage in many water sports, including windsurfing.
The town boasts a number of Museums such the Archaeological Museum, which includes exhibits dating from Neolithic times. Sitia also has a Folklore Museum with many exhibits from the last century such as, weaving, woodcuts, and a number of local costumes.
The name Sitia is derived from the ancient city of Itia, which, it is claimed, was the birthplace of Mison, who was one of the seven wise men of antiquity. Within the boundaries of the present day town, there have only been a few archaeological excavations, but they have discovered Middle Minoan and Late Minoan tombs, Geometrical and Hellenic statues, a number of Roman buildings, and an early Christian Basilica. Sitia existed during the Late Minoan period and until the Venetian period. For two centuries Sitia remained deserted, then in 1869 construction began, and over time, developed into the town we see today.
An imposing monument that dominates Sitia, is the fortress of the castle known today as the Kazarma. The building dates from Medieval times, and served as an army headquarters and as barracks for the solders. Kazarma and its imposing outer wall were originally built in the Late Byzantine period. During Venetian times, the walls had to be repaired on many occasions, especially after the terrible earthquake of 1508 and again in 1538 after the town was attacked by the famous pirate, Barbarosa.