Every summer, from the middle of July to the end of August the traditional festival of "Kyrvia" takes place. It is a program of various culture activities including : nights of singing and dancing by local folk and popular groups, special concerts by famous artists, theater performances, exhibitions of Cretan handicrafts, beach parties, etc. Most of the activities take place either in the fortress of Kales or in open arias. A number of them are free for the public. Traditional festivals also take place all year round in various villages of the area.
If you find yourself in town on a Saturday morning, be sure to check out the street market on Psilinaki str. Be sure to go early as the market is only open from 7am to 13.30 pm. The local farmers, shepherds and fishermen sell their own goods and products in low prices. You can find any kind of fresh vegetable (cucumbers, tomatoes, pepers), fruits (oranges, melons, bananas, grapes), many types of cheese (graviera,feta), and different types of honey, olives, nuts and Cretan sausages (Lasithiotika). You can also find a large variety of clothes, tools and flowers.
The "Ierapetra diving center" is just 1 Km. east of Ierapetra. The visitor can discover the fascinating under sea world of Ierapetra. Boat dive trips are in progress throughout the entire season with experienced dive guides. Jump into 2 - hours programme and get the feeling of flying in a weightless environment with all the colorful marine life around you. It is a unique and exhilarating experience not to be missed.
Horse riding school of Ierapetra is a professional riding establishment were top level riding instruction as well as other horse centered activities are offered. The establishment is located at a private estate, very well looked after full of flowers and beautiful sitting areas.
If you like local feasts (“panighyri”), several ones take place in the area: on the 21 st of May in honor of Aghios Constantinos and Eleni, at Gra Lyghia, on the 27 th of July, in honor of Aghios Panteleimonas at Vainia, on the Pentecost at Kentri, on the 15 th of July, in honor of Aghios Kerykos at Stavros, on the 20 th of July, in honor of Prophet Elijah at Kato Chorio.
Visitor can take a leisurely walk in the vivid center of the town and discover a large variety of different kinds of shops. Taste the Cretan sweets, such as "xerodigana and kalitsounia"which you can find in all the pastry shops of the town. You can also try the famous hard dry Cretan bread (paximadi) of Veterano pastry shop at Eleftherias sq. Search for the famous handmade Cretan knives, and worry beats (kompoloi). At Kothry street you can find small shops with local healthy organic products such as herbs (oricano, thyme, rosemary) honey, pure olive oil etc. In the cellars of the town you can find a big variety of the famous Cretan wines, the traditional spirit"raki" and different kinds of ouzo and retsina.
On the beautiful surroundings close to the village of Anatoli you will find Alistair with his donkeys. ‘Walk with donkeys’ sanctuary was started in 2006 and is run by Alistair and Suzanne. It is a ‘not for profit’ charitable organization registered in Greece. Pay them a visit with your children and arrange a walk around the village with their donkeys.
Waterskiing, jet-skiing, banana, pedal boating, and windsurfing are available on Ierapetra. On the south east coast you will find "Waikiki" water-sport center.
Kafeneion is the traditional simple coffee house where the locals (usually men) share conversation coffee, raki and mezedes (appetizers). It's the ideal place for tavli (backgammon), and cards. Try the small plates with the mezedes, such as dolmades, keftedes, tsatziki and enjoy the exciting sounds of the busy Cretan life.