Mochos is a picturesque hamlet twelve kilometers from Malia on the way to the Lasithi Plateau. It is about 40 kilometers from Heraklion, Crete’s capital, and easily accessible by car. Favored by tourists for its rural appeal, Mochos has plenty to offer to justify a day trip. Here are some of the main activities to consider when you visit this traditional countryside settlement.
From Stalida, the road to Mochos runs uphill through the mountains and boasts several hairpin curves that could challenge your driving skills. Passengers can admire landscapes full of bucolic charm. Views of the sea alternate with mountain panoramas of spectacular beauty. It is worth taking your time on this drive to observe the colorful contrasts of the mountains against the Cretan skies. As you approach Mochos, you will pass olive groves that are a typical occurrence everywhere on the island, which bears over thirty million olive trees.
The main activity in Mochos is dining in the square. The local tavernas serve authentic Cretan fare, which alternates vegetarian specialties with hearty meats on the grill. Accompany your meal with a cold beer or a glass of table wine to dine like a local.
A visit to the village cathedral is a must. The temple, dedicated to St. Paraskevi, dates from 1835. Erected on the ruins of a monastery, the two-nave cathedral has a superb iconostasis with several noteworthy icons, including the Holy Trinity and St. John the Baptist. This is one of some ten churches you can visit in Mochos, each worth your time.
Just outside the village, to the north, there is a new nunnery – the Monastery of Virgin Mary Theogennitor. Dating since 2006, this monastery is set on a plateau, which allows breathtaking views of Stalida and the Cretan Sea. The monastery’s main church is a three-nave basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. Mammes of Caesarea, and St. Demetrius. When you visit the monastery, do not miss the icon workshop and check out the exhibition room to see religious artifacts of outstanding value.
A favorite pastime for nature lovers visiting this part of Crete is a hike from Stalida to Mochos on the Bulgarian Trail – named so because Bulgarian war prisoners built it in World War I. The trail ascends from Stalida to the Monastery of Virgin Mary Theogennitor and continues all the way to Mochos. The hike takes about two hours uphill. The views of the sea and the beaches of Stalida and Malia are truly breathtaking on this route.
The Folklore Museum of Mochos is another noteworthy attraction in the village. You will find it in a 16th-century Cretan house in the Agios Georgios square. Visitors will particularly appreciate the Cretan House section of the museum, which showcases the households’ unique lifestyle in the area. The Cultural Association of Mochos “Proodos” manages this establishment. Summers, this institution also organizes the Cretan Nights with traditional music and dance every Wednesday evening in the village’s central square.
Last but not least, take a stroll around Mochos to see the typical Cretan architecture of the 16th century, purchase handmade souvenirs, and interact with the friendly locals.