On approach Ierapetra cannot be accused of being the best looker in Crete, but on closer inspection this sea-facing town backed by snowcapped mountains is vibrant, with tasteful shops, tavernas and stylish coffee shops. Locals are friendly and there’s plenty to do, from diving to boat trips to the nearby sandy island of Gaidouronisi. The wider area of Ierapetra is famous for its fine black pebble beaches, stretching along a vast beachfront and the sea is usually calm. Ierapetra is the commercial centre of southeastern Crete’s substantial greenhouse-based agri-industry and the countryside surrounding it is crammed full of greenhouses interspersed with storage depots and other buildings. There’s a rich archaeological collection to be explored, a Venetian fort at the harbour, and the odd remnant of a Turkish quarter. A fresh fish dinner caught early in the morning from the Libyan sea is a ‘must do’ experience in Ierapetra. Choose any one of the glorious sea front restaurants along the waterside, relax and enjoy your meal washed down with a glass or two of the wonderful Sitia wines. There are plenty of accommodation options in the area, with excellent rent-a-villa offers for the demanding traveler.