Crete : Regional Interest
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North West Crete
Hania (or Chania GR: Χανιά) is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second biggest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants. It lies (Coordinates 35°31' N 24°1' E ) along the North coast of the island, about 55 km west of Rethymnon and 140 km west of Iraklion (Heraklion). Hania's old town (although it was heavily bombed by Germans in World War II) is considered as Crete's most beautiful urban district, especially the Venetian harbour with its 16th century lighthouse and the Mosque of the Janissaries ("Giali Tzamissi", built 17th century). Many of the old buildings have been restored as hotels, restaurants, shops and bars, making the old town a lively and colourful place, especially during the tourist period.
Sfakia, South Hania
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.
Sfakia, South Hania
On the south coast of Crete, on a magnificent white sandy beach, stands one of the most beautiful Venetian fortresses, Fragokastello, built in 1371. It is located approximately 170 km from Iraklion, 70 km from Rethimnon, and 70 Km from Hania. Today, Fragokastello is a small, but developing, community, with nice beaches covered in sand dunes, and limited, but increasing, tourist facilities.The Villages Patsianos and Kalikratis, the castle, the history of the place and the fenomenon of Drossoulites...
Selino, Hania South West
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).
Sfakia are centred around the White Mountains mountain range, Madares, as they are called in Crete with 110 peaks and the most and biggest gorges. Sfakia remain the most wild and unspoiled landscape in all Crete. Hora Sfakion, the seaside capital of the county, is a coastal village located on the Southwestern coast of Crete, 70 km from the city of Hania and 150 km from Iraklion. In its picturesque, enclosed harbor, the small boats from Agia Roumeli dock in the summer, bringing the hikers from the Samaria Gorge. Visitors can enjoy the quiet and calm of the village , on the seaside cafes and tavernas...
The beautiful town of Kissamos is located 42 km west of Hania and it is the capital of the Kissamos county. Kissamos is surrounded by beautiful landscape and has about 3.000 inhabitants. Kissamos is not a crowdy tourist resort, its development is based mostly in the wine and oil produce, and the agricultural products.
Kissamos is built along a wonderful sandy beach. It is located where the ancient city of Kissamos stood. With Kissamos as a starting point you can visit the archaeological sites of Falassarna and Polyrinia, the Gramvoussa isles (pirate isles), the beautiful Georges of Topolia, Sirikari, the lagoon of Balos, the medieval villages, etc.
Gavdos, SW Crete
The only inhabited island of Crete with approx. 40 permanent residents. There are some nice beaches with fine sand, a few rooms and apartments to rent and some taverns. Apart from the harbor Karave, there are three village on the islet, Kastri (the capital), Vatsiana and Ambelos. The landmark of Gavdos is the Light House built in 1880.
According to Callimachus, this is the ancient isle of Ogygia where, as Homer claims in "Odyssey", the nymph Calypso lived.
Distance from Sfakia 22 nautical miles and from Paleohora 32 n.miles.
Ferry connection from Sfakia (Tel. 28250 91292) and Paleohora (Tel. 28230 41214).
Gavdos island video (Youtube)
South west Kissamos
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.
Gramvoussa island & Fort
Gramvoussa Cape, Kisssamos
Due to its strategic location, Gramvoussa was fortified by the Venetians, who built a well-fortified castle on the top of a steepy rock at an altitude of 137 m. Construction on the castle of Gramvoussa started in 1579 and ended in 1582.
Hryssoskalitissa, Kissamos South West
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.
Georgioupolis lies at the northern coast of Crete, about 35km away from Hania and 20 km from Rethimno. It is a nice coastal village situated at the bay of Almiros, in a lovely green scenery. It has a sandy beach and attracts quite a few visitors in the summer time. It provides all the necessary facilities to the tourists.
Crete's only freshwater lake, Lake Kournás (GR: Λίμνη Κουρνά), is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.
Venizelos Graves - Prophitis Ilias
At the magical and historical location of Profitis Ilias, in Akrotiri, at the east of Hania lays the tomb of Eleftherios Venizelos, one of the most long-standing prime ministers of Greece and whose political life was focused on doubling the size of Greek territory and on the creation of a contemporary State. Eleftherios Venizelos himself had designated this position to be his resting place before his death.
For the visitor, it affords a panoramic view of the rich green plain of Hania, the imposing White Mountains, the Cretan Sea, the town of Hania and the Chalepa quarter which is the location of the house in which the great politician spent most of his life and today is the headquarters of the National Research Foundation 'Eleftherios K. Venizelos'.
Thérisso (GR: Θέρισο) is a small village, built on the foot of the White mountains, at 580 m a.s.l, 20km south of the city of Hania. It has 156 inhabitants and it is famous for its physical beauty, its diary-farming and its glorious past.
You can reach Therisso from Perivolia passing through the Canyon (good asphalt road), or from Drakona, crossing the 7km dirt road through the forest.
From here starts the trekking path which leads to the highest peak of the White mountains, Pahnes (2452m)
Due to its location Therisso played a significant role at the history of the island especially during the 19th Century. A mill's stone located at the entrance of the village reminds the death of a young woman (grinded alive), when she denied to surrender to Mustafa Pasha.
Here were born the great Cretan revolutionaries (Hainis), Vassilis, Giannis and Stefanos Halis. Vassilis Halis, became a hainis very young, and participated to the most great battles against the Turks in Crete and Peloponnissos. He was lt General when he died at Nafplion (Peloponnissos) in 1846.
But Therisso is mostly known for its relation with the Venizelos movement in March 1905. Venizelos, who dissented with prince George' policy and declared the Union of Crete with Greece, had his headquarters at Therisso. The house of Venizelos is today a museum.
The visitor to Therisso will admire the natural beauty, learn a lot of the history of the place listening to various stories and looking at the historical monuments, and taste the local specialties at the lovely taverns of the village.
2,5 km north of Therisso, at the left bank of Kladissos river, there is a cave where signs of neolithic and Minoan habitation were discovered. It is believed that it was a worship place.
Vámos (GR: Βάμος) is the capital of Apokoronas district is an exceptionally interesting village that the Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works has classed as traditional. It is more like a small town, very well preserved, with folk and neoclassical architectural elements. The initiative of a group of inhabitants to create an association for the preservation of the village as well as alternative tourism strategies is already paying off while constituting a model for further local progress. The famous art and cultural festivals are good opportunities for everyone to experience the hospitality and entertainment Vamos can offer.
Hania Archaeological Museum
The museum is housed in the katholikon of the Venetian monastery of St. Francis. During the period of the Turkish occupation it was the Muslim mosque of Yussuf Pasha, while in modern times it was used as a cinema or a storehouse for military equipment. Since 1963 it has been functioning as the Archaeological Museum of the city. Apart from the permanent exhibition, the museum houses temporary exhibitions in the frame of certain local events
25 Chalidon Str., tel. +30821 90334
It contains impressive finds from the excavations of the ancient city of Kydonia, from Idramia, Aptera, Polyrinia, Kissamos, Elyros, Irtakina, Syia, Lissos, Chania, Axos, and Lappa.
Gramvoussa Cape, Kissamos
West of Kissamos and north of the beautiful village of Kaliviani, stretches the impressive Gramvoussa peninsula. The peninsula is formed by steep rocks and is covered with thyme and origanum bushes and wild flowers. On the north west side of the peninsula opposite to the island of Gramvoussa is the wonderful beach of Balos (GR: Μπάλος). The beach is covered with fine white sand and is located between the two creeks of the Tigani cape. The same white sand covers the bottom of the sea and grants to the sea an emerald color. In front of the beach is the picturesque island of Gramvoussa and on the back is the Geroskinos mountain (altitude 762 m).
The road from Kaliviani is well paved dirt road, with amazing view to the steep rocky seaside of the east side of the peninsula. The road ends one-two km before the beach, and the visitor can follow a paved road to Balos. North of Balos, at the Korykon cape, are the ruins of the small Roman city of Agnion, with a temple of the God Apollo.
There are small boats, offering daily cruises to Balos and Gramvoussa, departing from Kissamos (Kastelli) during the summertime.
Coastal town in Selino, South Hania
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 .
Imbros village and gorge
Sfakia, South Hania
The ravine begins from the last houses of the village of Imbros and 8 km after it ends at the village of Komitades. Its crossing is smooth and entails no danger...
Kalikratis Village & Gorge
Sfakia, South Hania
Kalikratis is a small mountainous village at the foot of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) at an altitude of 750m above sea level. It is a traditional village with many well preserved stone houses. A German army of two thousand soldiers, invaded the village during the October of 1943 , burned it down and executed twenty men and nine women who did not manage to leave on time.
A little to the south of the village starts the gorge of the same name which is part of the European hiking footpath (E4) and after some 4km walking ends at the village of Patsianos.
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