Tsoutsouras or Tsoutsouros (deriving from the Venetian word Zuzzuro) is located 63km south of Heraklion, at the exit of the imposing Gorge of Mindris. It is built on the site of the ancient city Inatos, which was the port of Priansos (located near Kasteliana village). More precisely, Tsoutsouras consists of the two united settlements of Pera Tsoutsouros and Tsoutsouros, which today are the harbor of Arkalohori residents. The area is very well organized and developed touristically, but still is a destination for a tranquil holiday.
In front of the village there is the small harbor of Tsoutsouras. East and west of the port, there are two large sheltered bays with a total length of 2km, which have lovely coarse sand and crystal clear water. The beach is slightly organized with umbrellas and several tamarisk trees around. It is ideal for family holidays, because all necessary facilities for accommodation, entertainment and food are in close proximity. You can also use Tsoutsouras as a base for exploring the other surrounding beaches.
It is noteworthy to mention that swimming in Tsoutsouras is considered therapeutic and healing by many Cretans, because of its high concentration of salt and iodine. Several doctors recommend swimming in Tsoutsouras for those, who have musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems.
The area of Tsoutsouras
Tsoutsouras is an area that has energy on the atmosphere and a strong presence of myths and folk narratives, tales of dragons, wild beasts, tales of illegal excavations in the past and modern fantasy stories and paradoxes.
In ancient Inatos, Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth was worshiped. You may visit the cave where the goddess was worshiped for many centuries. In the cave, located north of the village, many offerings on the goddess have been found, such as bronze and clay figurines of men, pregnant women, sexual complexes, jewelry, clay double axes, clay models of ships and Egyptian faience statuettes. Especially, the latter shows the influence of the sanctuary around the world. During the recent years, this unknown cave came to the fore, making Tsoutsouras known throughout Greece. According to reports, in the cave and the region, objects of incredible technological development of the Minoans was taken by the American army in complete privacy, in order to provide them with special knowledge. A Greek television show named "Gates of the inexplicable" dealt with this issue. No matter how true this story is, the fact is that the area actually emits a special and unique atmosphere.
West of Tsoutsouras, you can see two parallel mountains, which locals call Zeus and Hera, because they remind of two lying bodies. From there, Asterousia Mountains start, which “hug” the fertile valley of Messara. According to mythology, the king Asterion brought up in these mountains the sons of Zeus, namely Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon. They later reigned at Knosso, Pheastus and Malia respectively, ruling the first great European civilization.
West of the harbor, in Kerkelos area (or Zeus’ paw), traces of ancient Inatos, in and out of the sea, have been found. South of Kerkelos, the coast is full of beautiful and unique karstic cave formations. Locals have reported that in one of them, called Drakospilia, they had found a dragon skeleton, which they burned in order to make space for seeking for ancient treasures. The story seems fantastic, but the several testimonies of people who had seen the dragon (and still live) have confused the researchers. A Minoan settlement has been excavated in the area Aliori, near the east beach.