There are plenty of historical sights to delve into. Bali was the cradle and living space of the Minoan culture and the archaeological sites will pique your interest with its cultural assets. Get a glimpse of yesteryear and visit the Minoan Palaces and museums honouring artistic treasures such as traditional folklore art.
Head to the Monastery of Atali, just 5 km south of Bali, which is dedicated to St. John, or the Byzantine church of Our Lady Harakiani, built-in 1383, on the eastern end of the gulf. The Monastery of Arkadi, which goes back to the 16th century, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior and Saints Constantine and Helen and it was used for education, manuscript copying and gold embroidering. Due to its fight for independence, it has played a significant role in Cretan history and was the siege and act of self-sacrifice of its besieged defenders in 1866.
If you are exploring the east, take a stroll through the picturesque village of Sises and Fodele, the home village and birthplace of the famous painter, El Greco who found inspiration for his interest in hagiography and religious subjects in the frescoes of Our Lady Harakiani. Apart from the museum dedicated to El Greco, Fodele is also known for its mouth-watering oranges. Another village worth exploring is Apladiana village with its ostrich farm, cheese dairies and Talaia Ori, a tavern offering unique Cretan cuisine. Anogeia has a long history with weaving and hosts a cultural event every summer while Margarites is the most important pottery centre in western Crete, with an age-old pottery tradition that has been passed on from generations to generations. Visit the Margarites Collection of Pottery, do an educational programme and visit the active workshops to see this ancient art in its truest form.
In the western direction, one of the most important caves of Crete, Melidonios, is worth a visit. Stand in awe of impressively shaped stalagmites, stalactites and domes with a history going back to the Stone Age. During the Minoan times, the cave was used for religious ceremonies where the Great Mother Goddess and bronze giant Talos was worshipped, and during the Greek Age, Hermes and Zeus were honoured here. South of Bali, the caves of Sfedoni at Zoniana and Idio Adro holds mythological tales, with the latter being cited by numerous Greek authors.