Toplou is one of the most significant and historic monasteries in Crete, dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary of the Cape and St. John the Theologian

“A travel through Greek history, spirituality, and a passion for natural organic food.”


The Greek Orthodox sacred monastery of Toplou was founded in the 14th century. It has a turbulent past with ongoing attacks from pirates, other enemies, and damaging earthquakes. The monastery was given the name Toplou after the canon used in defense. Abbots and monks were tortured and executed for their collaboration with the resistance, both during the Turkish domination in the 19th century and in WW2 against the Germans. The events led to important victories for Greek independence.

“Despite the turbulent past many notable icons was kept such as “Great are Thou, my Lord” painted by I. Kornaris in 1770”

Munker på Toplou


Today the monastery has a standing exhibition of Byzantine icons, books and documents, and a collection of artifacts, that reflects the events that have affected Cretan history over the past centuries. Toplou has a number of monk - portraits painted by renowned portraitist Thomas Papadokerakis. The walls off the monks' dining room "Trapezaria" is adorned with remarkable frescoes of icon painter Manolis Betinakis.


The charismatic Abbot Philotheos Spanoudakis and three monks lives and operates the monastery today. They organize the holy services and the activities on the property. A travel to Toplou is a travel through history, spirituality, and a passion for locally produced organic food. You can enjoy a guided tour in the museums and the winery, with tasting of exclusive organic wines. In a small café just outside the entrance you can try some local delicacies.