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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.
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.
Historical and Folklore Museum of Gavalohori
Gavalohori, Vamos, Apokoronas
The exhibition of the objects takes place according to the contemporary museum conception, with explanatory texts, photographs, plans, models, and is enriched with new exhibits every year. The Museum is divided into seven rooms, according to the following units: The Arched House, Silk, Pottery, Lace-making, Masonry and Stone carving, Church and Woodcarving.
A beautiful small sea side village with long sandy beach where wind surf, canoes, paddle boats, umbrellas and sun beds can be rented. The place provides all the facilities for the visitors with small hotels, rooms, apartments and many taverns with traditional food and fresh fish. Recent years it became very popular with expatriates and there is a significant development in the real estate sector.
Aptera & Itzedin Forts
Aptera, Apokoronas, Hania
Those are two Turkish castles that are built in the 19th century using material from the nearby archaeological site of Aptera. The lower castle is that of Itzedin (also known as Kalami fort) named in honour of the son of the Sultan of the time, by the commander of Crete, Reouf Pasha was used in the past as a prison.
The traditional little village of Vrisses lies approx. 35 km from Chania town. The old village square with its tall plane trees, the tavernas and kafenions is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the lush green landscape by the river Vrissanos and taste the renowned and particularly delicious local yogurt.
Aptera Archaeological Site
Aptera, Apokoronas, Hania
One of the most important city - states of Crete. The first epigraphic occurence of its name (A-pa-ta-wa) is found in the Linear B tablets found at Knossos. (14th - 13th century B.C.). The history of the city is continued through the centuries untill the 7th century A.D. when a major earthquake destoyed it. Its ideal location, allowed the city to control the naval activity in the bay of Souda, and was determinative for its development in an important commercial center.
The era of the city's greatest peak was the early Hellenistic period (late 4th - 3rd century B.C.). At that time Aptera experienced an economical and political floruit, begins to mint its own coins and develops diplomatic relations with important centres of the Hellenistic world.
The most important monuments of the site are:
Bipartite temple, known as the "bipartite sanctuary", dated to the 5th-4th century B.C.
Graves of the Geometric-Roman periods.
The fortification wall, preserved to a length of almost 4 kilometres.
Part of a Roman bouleuterion.
Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos.
Turkish fortress built in 1866-1869.
Source: The Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Gavalohóri (GR: Γαβαλοχώρι) is an old big traditional village, with fine examples of traditional rural architecture and stone buildings that are well preserved. The village has been declared a traditional settlement and is awarded a protected status. Many interesting buildings still stand, such as the 18th century olive press, the church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) and that of Agios Sergios, the old school and the complex of the wells from the period of the Venetian occupation.
The community of Kefalas (GR:Κεφαλάς) is situated in Apokoronas, Hania, approximately 4 km to the east of Vamos. During the Venetian occupation higher and lower Kefalas were classed as two separate villages, however, today they have become one. It is a large village built in an outstanding position facing the sea with architecture dominated by the influence of the early and late years of the Turkish occupation. This influence is well preserved despite the existence of other architectural styles.
The church of Timios Stavros (16th century) is the oldest building of the village while the more recent churches of Panagia, Agios Antonios, and Michael the archangel, works of the reputed Kefalas craftsmen, are examples of folk architecture of the 19th century.
A further example of the work of the same craftsmen is the Public School of Kefalas, which in accordance with the decision of the county council of Hania will house the Environmental Educational Centre of the prefecture, a foundation that will play a definitive role in the development of the municipality of Vamos. Other interesting communities are Paleloni and Drapanos in the direction of Kokino Horio.
The road from Paleloni leads to Embrosgialo, a relatively easily accessible place, along the steep coastline, which extends to Georgioupoli.
Kokino Horio village
Kókino Horio (GR: Κόκκινο Χωρίο), which is located at a higher altitude, has maintained its traditional architectural style even more so than the other villages with its narrow roads, beautiful gates and tiled roofs.
A group of cisterns, built in a sloping field, gather the rainwater, an interesting example of local architecture, dealing with the permanent problem of lack of water.
Above Kokino Horio one can see the strangely shaped hill Drapanokefala or Calapodha (so named during the venetian occupation). The coastline northwest of the village is an extremely interesting place for a stroll due to the ground formation and the caves, such as the cave of Petsi (or Karavotopos).
Another cave called Katalimata, located at the centre of the village, is also an interesting site.
At cape Drapano, approximately 10 metres under water, is the impressive Elephant cave, an area 60mx60m full of stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes and colours.
Pláka (GR: Πλάκα) is a lovely village in the Apokoronas area, less than one kilometer away from Almyrida, with interesting architectural style, which is unfortunately changing due to intense building mainly for tourist purposes. Its ~300 permanent inhabitants, occupying mostly with farming, stock-breeding, fishing and lately with tourism.
It has all the basic amenities, including excellent tavernas, bars, a grocery store and a kafeneion.
Plaka is built on the slope of a hill at 70 m above sea, with a panoramic view of the bay of Souda. The surrounding environment has maintained its character well and is ideal for walks either inland or along the coast. Visitors can also admire a magical sunset from here. Every summer -at about the end of July- a two days traditional feast - The Plakiana - is organized to honour the memory of the great local lyra player Mihalis Papadakis or else Plakianos. During the feast guests enjoy Cretan dances and can visit the textile and ceramics exhibitions. The custom of Klidonas is celebrated at the end of June and the Carnival usually takes place in March.
A flourishing traditional seaside town on the Apokoronas Peninsula 17km east of Hania. Kalýves (or Kalives GR: Καλύβες) with its old tiled stone houses, mixed with the latest buildings form two separate districts, with typical island style. Most of it is literally built on the sea and has 1289 residents. Xydás (GR: Ξυδάς) river that runs through the town, is giving it a unique character and a cool climate that prevents the heat of summer. In the square, you will see a traditional water mill built in the early 20th century, one of the oldest in the area. Kalives is tastefully developed for tourism, and welcomes many visitors during the summer season to its safe sandy beach. With comprehensive amenities, there are many shops, taverns and kafeneion, in addition to banking, post office and petrol station facilities.
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