Touring around the prefecture of Chania, Crete
There are many routes in the prefecture of Chania, Crete that we could recommend to excursionists without the slightest hesitation.
Routes that combine human culture with the work of nature, full of constant change of scenery, impressions and feelings.
In Souda, the excursionist should take the time to visit the Cemetery of the Allies and pay tribute to the British, Australians and New Zealanders who gave their lives in the name of freedom for Crete.
Heading east on the coastal road from there, he comes across the tiny village of Kalami that has a panoramic view of the gulf and island of Souda and the imposing fortress of Itzedin.
The road continues through the coastal and touristically developed village of Kalives, with its beautiful sandy beaches, and then through the charming Almirida, a small fishing town full of tavernas.
He can then turn inland and head southwards to the traditional village of Gavalohori, where there is a noteworthy folklore museum. A few kilometers in south-eastern direction, the hospitable village of Vamos with its intense traditional hue and agro-touristic activity lies.
The road continues eastwards and meets the shore once again at the long sandy beach of Georgioupoli, a highly developed tourist town with ample hotel accommodation.
His itinerary for the prefecture of Chania may end at the quaint village of Kourna, with a visit to the Lake of the same name, where the mountains that surround it are mirrored in its surface and create a magical sight. In close proximity to Kournas, on the east and in the prefecture of Rethymnon, is where the lushly green Argiroupoli is located.
The village of Megala Chorafia is after Souda and next to it the excursionist will find the remains of ancient Aptera and the Turkish koule which has a breathtaking view of the gulf of Souda, the fort of Itzedin and the plain of Armeni.
In the south, the road cuts across the lush, green village of Stylos with its abundant cool, flowing springs and taking a very scenic route the excursionist reaches Vryses with its towering, shady plane trees. East of the village, close to the intersection with the national road he will discover the "Greek Arch", an impressive bridge from Hellenistic time.
Continuing north on a delightful, mountainous route, through the wildest and most unspoilt landscape in all of Crete, through the unique wild beauty of the White Mountains the road traverses the plateau of Askyfou and reaches the scenic Chora Sfakion.
The boat is the only means of transport to then take him to Loutro is the boat from either Chora Sfakion, Sougia or Paleochora unless of course he is a nature lover in which case there is a trail that connects it with Anopoli, the village with the highest altitude in Sfakia.
The excursionist can commute to Gavdos by boat from Chora Sfakion as well as from Paleochora.
Gavdos is the southernmost point of Europe and the island where, according to Homer, Kalypso led Odysseus astray for eight long years.
With traces of life ever since the Minoan years, it is one of the last retreats left in Greece, with unspoilt nature and magnificent, crystal clear beaches.
Alternatively, the excursionist can also head eastwards from Chora Sfakion and reach Frangokastello, tour the historical fort, and delight in the long stretch of clean, sandy beach.
In Akrotiri, at the hill of Profiti Ilia, which has a magnificent view of the city of Chania and sunsets like one has never seen before, the Tombs of Venizelos lie.
On the tour of Akrotiri one will remark on the wild beauty and the many small, traditional villages.
Past the airport, one can visit the monastery of the Holy Triniti and continuing north reach the monastery of Gouverneto.
If one is then in search of beaches, those of Kalathas in the west, Stavros in the north and Marathi in the east can offer one everything that a good sandy beach has to offer.
The village of Mournies is in the south of Chania.
There one can visit the Home of Venizelos, a humble, open country stone house, where the grand politician was born and where photographic material which gives us a glimpse into the life of the national leader is displayed.
The same road leads to the foot of the White Mountains, through a wild gorge densely covered with vegetation to the small plateau of Theriso, the site of the rebellion of 1905 which occurred under the leadership of the great politician.
This is where one can visit the Headquarters of Eleftherios Venizelos, as well as the newly established House of National Resistance, a place that pays homage to the struggle, the altruism, the self -sacrifice and the visions of the resistance.
Continuing south, the road passes through the quaint villages of Zourva and Meskla and descends into the fertile plain of Chania.
It then continues through Fournes and Lakkoi, a historical town due to the fact that it is the site of the rebellions against the Turkish rule, and ends at the plateau of Omalos.
Then one is given the unique opportunity to cross the gorge of Samaria and reach the beautiful village of Agia Roumeli and the Libyan Sea. From there one can embark on the boat and be taken to Chora Sfakion.
Another scenic route through the lush, green plain of Chania towards the south, leads the excursionist through the orange groves of Alikianos and Skines to the wild slopes of the White Mountain range to end up in the tiny village of Agia Irini from where the gorge of Agia Irini begins.
From Rodovani, where the antiquities of Elyros are found, the excursionist can head eastwards, hike for one hour through a gorge, the uphill and downhill of a mountain and reach the sublime pebbly beach and crystal clear waters of Sougia.
This excursion can be combined with a tour of the antiquities of Syia and with an impressive archaeological exploration of Lissos.
Alternatively, he can continue westwards through a staggering route of steep and barren southern shores, a remote and wild landscape and reach Paleochora, where the tourist industry is well developed and where there is a welcoming, sandy beach waiting.
West of Chania is where the largest and most organized coastal zone of the prefecture stretches out.
The beaches of the municipality of Platanias are some of the most cosmopolitan on the island. They fulfil all of the requirements necessary to carry blue flags, official certification of their cleanliness and security.
An important piece of the shore where the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta lays her eggs also belongs to the municipality of Platanias while the Sea Turtle Protection Society - active in the area since 1989 - is also housed there.
The coastal villages of the municipality, Platanias, Gerani, Pirgos of Psilonerou and Maleme have dozens of hotels, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.
The hotels are not only cosmopolitan but also in some of the most remote and peaceful corners of the world. Thanks to the great tourist accommodation, the organized long stretches of beach and the forms of entertainment which cater for all tastes, the municipality of Platanias is a magnet for tourists and locals alike at all hours of the day and night.
Platanias itself is a picturesque village nestled on the slope of a hill with a stunning view of the gulf of Chania while in Maleme we find the German Cemetery of the Second World War.
The visitor of the municipality of Platanias has the opportunity to tour the wonderful villages of the inlands where the nature of incomparable beauty coexists with the authentic Cretan traditions: he can inhale the intoxicating aroma of the orange groves in the pathways of Vrises, in Patelari, Modi, Loutraki and Kondomari, savor the virgin olive oil and the pure Cretan wine in Manoliopoulo, Xamoudochori and Vlaheronitissa, enjoy the pure local tsikoudia in Zounaki, Limni and Kyparisso, relish the sweet -smelling honey and the traditional 'xerotigano' in Sirili, tour the quaint churches and rest in the green shade of Dere.
A little more to the west, in Kolympari, is the monastery of Gonia and the Orthodox Academy of Crete.
Further to the west the road cuts across Kisamos which is just a short distance from the archaeological site of Polyrhenia.
If the visitor heads towards the inland he will be held spellbound by the beauty of its landscape.
Following the road west of Kisamos the visitor will reach the village of Platanos, just a few kilometres away from the majestic beach and the site of ancient Phalasarna.
Heading north on a very scenic route of barren, rocky land and a breathtaking view of the sea, he reaches the monastery of Chrisoskalitissa, with the ninety steps and the panoramic view.
The exotic beach of Elafonissi, and the beautiful beach of Kedrodasos lie in the south-east.