The ancient city of Lissos was a port of the ancient city of Elyros in the south of the prefecture of Chania in Crete. It was built in a small valley between ancient Syia, today’s Sougia, and Paleochora. Until today, its ruins are preserved. Lissos was a port of the Doric city of Elyros, located near the present village of Rodovani.
Elyros and its ports, Sougia and Lissos, flourished during the Hellenistic, Roman, and early Byzantine periods. Then, however, they were destroyed by the Saracen Arabs, who arrived from Spain.
Lissos also issued its currency, as did ancient Elyros. The coin of Lissos represents on one side the head of the goddess Artemis and on the other a dolphin.
In ancient times, Lissos was famous for its famous Asklepiion. Patients from all over Crete have been treated there thanks to the healing waters of the area.
A great earthquake destroyed the Asklepiion, but the mosaic floor of the temple depicting animals and geometric shapes is preserved.
You can visit and admire the Asklepiion, but don’t limit yourself to it. Continue your walk in the valley of Lissos, and you will discover capitals hidden in the bushes and the Roman cemetery with vaulted tombs (they look like tiny houses). A walk in the valley of Lissos will impress you. The area has ancient ruins, such as capitals, building foundations, marble fragments, and ruins of a Roman theater.
Someone found dozens of Lissos statues and coins in the area, evidence of the city’s development. The main ones are the statues of the Goddess of Health, Asclepius, and Pluto, which you will see today at the Archaeological Museum of Chania. There you will also find 20 statues found here by chance in 1957 by a shepherd looking for water for his flock. In no other city of Crete were found so many statues, except Gortyna, the capital of Crete during the Roman period.
The excavations at Lissos still need to complete. Indeed, many treasures are still there. The city experienced prosperity during the Hellenistic, Roman, and first Byzantine periods. Especially in the first Byzantine period, Lissos was the seat of a bishop, so it was a thriving city.
Near the sea is the church of Agios Kirikos, which was built on the site of an early Christian church of the 4th-5th century. Architectural elements from buildings of the ancient city are integrated into its walls. It is celebrated on July 15, when dozens of pilgrims spend the night from the previous day.
Lissos has a beach with coarse pebbles, which is smaller than the beach in Sougia.
As we said, Lissos has a small church dedicated to Agios Kyrykos, who celebrates on July 15. From the night before, the pilgrims arrive either by path or by boat from Sougia, stay here, watch the service, and enjoy the feast set up. Saint Kyrykos was killed at the age of only three, together with his mother, Saint Juliet, by the ruler of Tarsus in Asia Minor during the great persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian.
You have three options to go to Lissos:
1) By boat from Sougia: which offers a pleasant 20-minute sea ride.
2) Hiking from Sougia to Lissos (1.5 – 2 hours): The path starts from the port of Sougia. From here, you will enter a small canyon. Half an hour later, you will begin to climb the slope that will bring you high above Sougia.
Continue along the path, and later you will see Lissos below. Then visit Asklepiion, explore the valley, and return to Sougia by the same way or boat, which is much more relaxing.
3) Hiking from Paleochora (7 km): Another access to ancient Lissos is from the E4 trail from Paleochora. From Palaiochora, hikers can follow a well-marked path inland, gradually ascending the hills as they leave the coast behind. You can return to Paleochora with our taxi or in the summer you can take the ferry.
1) With our company Sougia Taxi and Minivan Services Vittorakis: Contact us now, and our team will take care of your safe and comfortable transportation in Sougia and Lissos.
2) By your car: You can park in the free parking spaces in Sougia and walk to Lissos. For your return to Sougia by boat, contact Sougia Taxi and Minivan Services Vittorakis. Our team will take care of your comfortable and safe return to Sougia.
3) With Anendy’s Ferry or a Private Boat from Agia Roumeli or Paleochora to Sougia. We can also arrange a fantastic trip through the south coast for you to visit Ancient Lissos. Our team at Vittorakis Travel, the only travel agency in Sougia, will help you visit Ancient Lissos safely and comfortably.
If you are part of a group, we will happily take you with the only Minibus to Sougia.
So contact us now to give you the best offer.