Crete : Regional Interest
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Selino, Hania South West
at 0.7km (NE)
The pearl of the Libyan Sea! Paleochora (population~ 1500) is surrounded by mountains and is situated at the tip of a peninsular. Along the western side is a long sandy beach fringed by trees and tavernas. At the tip of the peninsular is the remains of an old Venetian (Selino Kasteli) fort and a marina. On the eastern side lies the old town, the ferry dock and a long pebble beach lined with tavernas.
Paleochora becomes very busy during high season but still have places for those who want to get away from the crowd. Little boats are linking Paleohora with Agia Roumeli, Hora Sfakion and the small island of Gavdos. Regular buses per day are linking Paleohora to Chania (~75kms).
Ancient town in Selino, South Hania
at 9.4km (E)
Located ~2.3km west of Sougia it was the religious centre of the cities in south-west Crete and the port of Elyros. It flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In 1957-58 Asklepieion was excavated by N. Platon. The most important monuments of the site are: The Temple of Asklepios, dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Part of a Roman theatre, Rock-cut and built chamber tombs.
There two byzantine chapels dedicated to Our Lady and Agios Kirikos
The beach in the small cove has coarse pebbles and clear waters.
Lissos (GR: Λισσός) nowadays is uninhabited and can be reached from Sougia only by foot (~1& 1/2 hours walk) or by boat (~20 minutes).
Coastal town in Selino, South Hania
at 11.8km (E)
The village of Souyia or Soúgia (GR:Σούγια) is located 75 km southwest of Hania at the southern coast of Crete a little to the east of Paliohora. Sougia is becoming very popular vacation place especially with nature lovers and walkers. There are some ancient sites around and Sougia itself was the port of the ancient town 'Elyros'. There are also quite a few accommodation properties and taverns, a great beach and a small port .
Elyros, Ancient city
at 11.9km (NE)
Elyros ("Έλυρος" in Greek) is an ancient city, located in southwest Crete, in Kefala Hill, near the village Rodovani and is presently unexcavated. Elyros was flourishing at least as early as the Greek Classical Period, e.g. 500 to 350 BC. In the Classical Period Elyros was the most important ancient city in southwestern Crete, having about 16,000 inhabitants. It was an industrial and commercial city with large weapons production. Syia and Lissos were its harbours. Apollo, Phylakides and Philandros, sons of Apollo and nymph Akakallida, were worshiped there. In the third century BC Elyros was at war with Kydonia, an important center of Cretan power, located in the modern city of Chania. The citizens of Elyros sent to the Delphi Oracle, a bronze votive complex that represents a goat feeding the sons of Apollo when they were infants. It is also one of the thirty cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’ in 183 BC.Elyros was also important during Roman times. A Roman statue, the Philosopher of Elyros was recovered here and is now in the Archaeological Museum of Chania. During Byzantine times, Elyros was the seat of an Archbishop and the remains of the bishopric church, a sixth century basilica, can still be seen in the centre of the old city. Robert Pashley was the first who identified the location of the city, near village Rodovani. Thenon studied more carefully the ruins of the city and discovered the inscription that says: “it seemed to the city of the Elyrians”.
The output of its mint consists of silver drachms from the 3rd c. BC, which depict a wild goat and a bee; in addition to their function as religious symbols, these undoubtedly hint at the stock-raising activities in the region, particularly to this kind of wild goat, which can still be found in great numbers on the island. The bee also has reference to the abundant honey-production of Crete.
South west Kissamos
at 14km (W)
Elafonissi is a small islet on the southwest of Crete. It is connected to the beach with a shallow reef (max. depth 1 meter) that allows crossing when the sea is calm. There are only a couple of cantinas on the beach and plenty of places for camping. The place can be accessed by car from the village of Vathi or by boat from Paleohora. There are no permanent inhabitants.
Hryssoskalitissa, Kissamos South West
at 16.1km (NW)
The monastery of Chryssoskalitissa (golden stair GR: Χρυσοσκαλίτισα) is dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Mother and the Holy Trinity. It is located at the southwest part of Kissamos, 70km away from Chania. The fortress like monastery is built on a rock and pilgrims visiting have to follow a staircase carved on it with 98 steps. According to the tradition, the last one was made of gold but only faithful people could see it.
at 17.5km (N)
Vlatos is located at 380m a.s.l., 54 km away from Hania and 18 km from Kastelli Kissamou. It is built in a tree covered valley, with olive trees, chestnut trees and wild vegetation. There are some very nice trekking paths around and in the forest of "Peace" which has been characterized as a natural park.
The "Park of Peace" was founded in 1970 by the Cultural Association of Vlatos with the cooparation of Goethe Institute and the support of the Bavarian Department of Forests.
It is an experimental park with 150 species of plants, covers an area of 1,000,000 sq.m. and is part of an extended area of 20 sq.km. which have been reforested.
at 19.2km (N)
A small village 21km away from Kastelli Kissamou,at 340 m. a.s.l with 57 permanent residents. The village is mentioned by Fr. Barozzi since 1577. A little before the village of Sassalos, starts the gorge of Salasse, a small one which leads to Tyflos river, and is worthy to walk.
at 20.8km (N)
Sirikari (GR Σηρικάρι) is a small village located 52 km away from Hania and 14 km from Kastelli at 500m a.s.l. The name Sirikari probably comes from the profession of the first settler, who has to be a silk weaver (Sirikaris).
A short ravine starts from Sirikari and ends close to Polyrinia. There is also a chestnut tree forest, the cave of the Holy Mother (Panagias), the byzantine church of Agii Apostoli, with frescoes of 14th century a monument of great importance and two old factories.
at 21.7km (N)
Α principal village located at 280m a.sl., on the main road to the southern coast, 47km from Hania and 22km from Kastelli with 370 inhabitants. There are a post Office and police station, workshops, olive press, wheat mill etc. The village lies at the entrance of the gorge of Topolia and 27 km away is the monastery of Chrissoskalitissa.
The gorge is lush with plane-trees, wild olive trees, flowers, and bushes. Its walls are 300m high, and the width in some cases is 5m only. Through the gorge flows the river Tiflos.
A little after the village, there is a well maintained footpath on the mountain side which reaches the Agia Sophia Cave at 285m a.s.l. The cave is of great scientific interest, has a diameter of 70m and it is 20m high. There are marvelous stalagmites and stalactites of various shapes.
At the left end there is a small church with an icon that, as tradition says, came from Constantinople, and has been wedged in a rock. In the cave were discovered many finds from neolithic era.
Two patron feasts are taking place there each year: One on Tuesday after Easter and a second on December 24, when the birth of Jesus is represented.
White Mountains, Hania
at 22.4km (NE)
The famous - mainly due to the gorge of Samaria- plateau of Omalos (GR: Ομαλός) is surrounded by the high crowns of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) at 1,040 to 1,250 meters and is just 38 km from the town of Chania. It extends to the counties of Sfakia, Selino and Kydonia in the prefecture of Hania. Its shape is nearly rectangular with a perimeter of about 25kms and a diameter of approximately 4 kms. It can be reached by car from the north (Neratzoporo) and from the south (Agios Theodoros).
at 23km (E)
Xylóskalo (Ksyloskalo GR: Ξυλόσκαλο) is the point where the Samarian gorge starts. It is located on the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in the plateau of Omalos, 43 km from the city of Hania at 1250m above sea level. It is also the entrance to the gorge. There are two tourist lodges where visitors can rest and have food or coffee and take panoramic pictures of the gorge and the White Mountains. There is also the information center of the National Park and a parking area.
Xyloskalo means the "wooden stair" and refers to a wooden staircase built by the locals in order to facilitate the entrance to the gorge as at this point the cliffs are very steep. Today this part of the path is made of stones and it has a wooden handrail.
About 1km before Xyloskalo a dirt road leads, after 5 km, to the Kallergis mountain lodge at 1680m a.s.l.
Kissamos west coast
at 23.2km (NW)
The village of Sfinari is blessed with many water sources so it is overwhelmed with trees and flowers. Fresh fish is guaranteed as it abounds in the sea around the village, dolphins are often seen in the sea. To the rocks near the beautiful beach of Sfinari come the seals to give birth to their babes. The village offers many rooms for accommodation and there are taverns in the village and by the beach in the trees that cover the sea side.
Lefka Ori, Hania
at 24.6km (NE)
Kallérgi Mountain Refuge is located on the western region of Crete, above the plateau of Omalos, in the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) mountain range at an altitude of 1680 metres. The site is of unique natural beauty and commands great views to the surrounding peaks and the gorge of Samaria. It can be accessed by car or on foot (1 1/2 hour) via the 5km long dirt road from Omalos. The refuge can accommodate up to 50 people. It features a fully equipped kitchen, a lodge with fire place and wood burning stoves, toilets (indoors and outdoors) and a camping area. Electricity is supplied by a generator.
Kalergi refuge operates throughout the year (from November to March only on weekends)
For more information please visit:Mountaineering Club of Hania
at 24.9km (N)
The village of Polyrinia is built on the foot of the hill that ancient Polyrinia used to be. It is a small village located 6.5km away from Kastelli Kissamou, built at an altitude of 300 m. and has approximately 100 permanent residents. Its old name was Apano Paleokastro and was renamed to Polyrinia due to its proximity to the archaeological site. Important sights are: the aqueduct of Andrianos, the temple of the Assumption of the Holly-Mother and an old olive mill.
Polyrinia ancient town
archaeological site in Kissamos
at 25.1km (N)
Polyrinia (GR: Πολυρρήνια) was one of the most important cities-states of the Western Crete.It was built amphitheatrically on top of the hill (418 m altitude) with a commanding view of both the Cretan and the Libyan sea, located 49 km from Hania and 6 km from Kissamos . The history of Polyrinia starts in the Minoan period and continues to the present day.
Agia Rouméli village - Tarra
Sfakia, South Hania
at 25.5km (E)
Agia Rouméli (GR: Αγία Ρουμέλη)is a small fishing village, approximately two kms from the ending of Samaria Gorge. It is accessible only by boat from Paleohora, and from Hora Sfakion. It serves mainly as a stopover for visitors coming down the Samaria Gorge, and waiting for the boat to take them to Sfakia or Paleohora. However those who decide to stay for a couple of days or more will find apart from the unique scenery, a great beach with crystal clear water, plenty of interesting walks and a good choice of accommodations, taverns, cafés and stores.
The place is also rich in history as it was inhabited since the antiquity. It is the site of the ancient city of Tárra (GR: Τάρρα), a famous cult place, that flourished from the Classical to the Roman times.
Sfakia, South Hania
at 25.8km (E)
The Samaria Gorge is one of the longest ravines in Europe (with a total length of 16 km) and offers one of the most spectacular hiking routes in Europe. Its width ranges from 150 m (widest part) to 3 m (narrowest part). The walk from Xyloskalo in the plateau of Omalos to the shores of Libyan sea at Agia Roumeli, takes 6 to 8 hours. The Samaria Gorge has been designated as a national park in order to protect its flora and fauna. It is one of the last shelters of the mountain goat of Crete (Cretan Ibex, common name : kri-kri). The flora is extensive, ranging from high cypress trees to flowers and herbs. The walking path follows the river which flows to small lakes and waterfalls.
The Gorge is open to visitors from May to October.
Kissamos west coast
at 27.4km (N)
Platanos (GR: Πλάτανος = plane-tree) is located 10 km from Kasteli Kissamos. It is a large village, the second largest in Kissamos area, after Kasteli. It has approximately 1000 inhabidants, which are occupied mainly in green house and olive cultivation and tourism.
There is a doctor's office, gas stations, many shops, rooms for rent and taverns.
At the village's old square stand a plane-tree with a fountain.
Ágios Pávlos beach
Sfakia, South Hania
at 28.9km (E)
Ágios Pávlos (GR: Άγιος Παύλος)is a beach on the shores of Sfakiá between Agia Rouméli and Loutró. The pine trees from the high cliffs above almost reach the sea and form a unique landscape. The beach is sandy with pebbles with no facilities except for a small tavern. It can be reached only on foot ( about 1 hour walk from Agia Roumeli) or by boat. The picturesque small church of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) a byzantine basilica of the 10th century A.D. with frescoes, lies just a few meters from the sea. It is built with stones from the beach itself on the spot where Saint Paul reportedly baptised people on his way to Rome.
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