Whether you come to Crete for the sun, the sea, the magnificent food or the fabulous welcoming Cretan people, you can't help but stay in one of Crete's beautiful villages or towns.
This is just a taste of some of the villages and towns that we believe are worth a visit during your stay on Crete.
- Argyroupolis Village
A famous village of Crete on the site of the ancient city of Lappa, the city said to be founded by Agamemnon. Lappa was an important city of Crete controlling much of western Crete from the time of the Minoans right through until it was completely destroyed by the arabs in the 9th century.
Argyroupolis has natural springs and the rivers bordering the village has always supplied the town of Rethymno with its water. The village is 22 klm south of the National Road near to the town of Episkopi. It is a nice village to explore and the walk from the lower village up the donkey track to the upper village is quite inspiring. There is a pagan temple, Roman burial ground and a 3000 year old plane tree about 3 klm east of the village.
- Chora Sfaxion Village
The municipality of Sfakia in south west Crete has the smallest number of inhabitants but some of Crete’s most beautiful villages. The landscape here is wild without the trees and shrubs of north west Crete. The climate can be very hot and windy. The best known village of the region is Chora Sfakion. It’s notoriety earned from the second World War where the retreating allied troops won their freedom after trekking through the gorges from the north coast to the ships from Egypt anchored in the small harbour. It is a delightful village to explore and much of it is missed by people hurrying to and from the ferries to Samaria Gorge. There are beautiful, colourful gardens through the back streets and a lovely little church. A second shingle beach often missed sits below a taverna affording great views across the Libyan Sea.
- Margarites Village
The village of Margarites is usually visited after a trip to Crete’s famous monastery at Arkady. This may not give you time to study the wonderful architecture of the village as the pottery shops and workshops where you can see the potters at work will take up most of your time. Also, outside the village are two gorges that have marvelous flora and the local authority have made pathways to ease exploration of this whole area between Margarites, Orthe and Eleftherna.
The village of Margarites is on a steep hill so it is best to park midway by the taverna where you can get that well earned drink or meal for the hungry. This is a stunning landscape area if you take the time out to look.
- Spilli Village
Located about 28 klm south of Rethymno on the road to Agia Galini, the village of Spili is best known for its Roman fountains from which crystal clear waters flow. The village is also famous for weaving and being the site of a major battle against the Turkish occupying forces in the 19th century. Hardly any of the old village remains after the Germans completely destroyed it during World War II. Its a nice village to walk around and can be quite cool as it’s about 450 metres asl. The village sits below Mt Kedros between two cliff walls and looks like a cave hence the name Spili. Cave in Greek is Spilia. There has recently been a new monastery built at the village entrance. To the east of the village is the plateau of Gious Kambos known locally as Spili Bumps due to the undulating terrain. With over 30 different species of orchids the area is very popular.
- Vrysses Village
Considered to be the capital of the Apokoronas, the village or small town of Vrysses is a delight to walk around. Situated just off the National Road about 31 klm south and east from Chania. You can sit and chat with the crowd of old timers arguing over their game of backgammon outside the kafeneons on the crossroads. Walk alongside the river Vrysiotiko or stop for a drink or meal at the taverna under the trees. There is an olive press just outside of town on the old road to Rethymno that can be worth a visit. The village is famous for its dairy farming, cheeses and yoghurts and its farmers markets through the summer months. The countryside is lush greenery. Vrysses is one of the gateways to the White Mountains as it is on the road to Aski Fou plateau where German paratroopers landed during World War II.
- Gavalochori Village
The village is in the Apokoronas region of the prefecture of Chania and is just a few minutes drive to the beautiful sandy beaches at Almyrida and Kalyves. Gavalochori dates back to the Minoan period and several artefacts have been found to prove this. The village is very traditional Crete and it is a joy to walk around its cobbled narrow streets. There is a museum for folklore and the many pieces of historical importance to the village. The village has two beautiful churches, three very good tavernas, a couple of kafeneons, two mini markets, an art display and a very good bakers. Gavalochori is close by Vamos which caters for most needs. There is a Womens Co operative in the village selling lacework, embroidery, olive oil, candles and art from a small shop. Nearby are the Gavaliana Venetian wells set in a tranquil landscape. The village was named from the family Gavalas who resided there during the reign of the Venetians.
- Aradena Village
You need a bit of a head for heights if you visit this old Greek village that sits above one of the deepest gorges on Crete. The old stucco work church of the Archangel Michael is worth a visit especially if the priest is in attendance and you can enter the church. You come to the village from Anopolis, once a great city state of 60,000 people, across the new iron bridge where they do bungee jumping at weekends during the summer months. There are a couple of new houses built by returning villagers but most of the village is derelict and abandoned after the in village fighting which left many of the villagers dead. All because two boys from rival families started fighting over a toy. The road up from Chora Sfakion is quite steep and you need to look out for the goats but the journey is worth it for the marvelous scenery.
- Lake Kournas
Formerly known as Koressia, it was later changed by the arabs to Kournas which is lake in arabic. The village itself is a few minutes drive south and is most picturesque but it is the lake which captures most peoples attention. During the summer months the lake recedes and beaches are formed around the edge where you can hire loungers and umbrellas or even a pedalo to venture out onto the lake where there are an abundance of eels and water snakes. The lake is home to a few species of duck and a rare terrapin, the diamond backed terrapin. Some say the lake has a perculiar energy which is experienced by several people who may have sampled too much of the local raki from one of the many tavernas on the side of this very picturesque lake.
- Vamos Village
The villagers of Vamos are very proud of their village and with good reason. Vamos used to be the municipality which is now Apokoronas in the prefecture of Chania. Vamos lies about midway between Chania and Rethymno and has two sandy beaches within easy reach at Kalyves and Almyrida. There are busy cafes and kafeneons near the village square and several good tavernas near by. There is a bank, a health centre, a dentist, a pharmacy, a post office, a bakers, a very good school and several grocers all within walking distance of the village square. There is an excellent tourist office in the village, The Vamos Traditional Village. The police station for the municipality is also located just north of the village. The village is known to put on seasonal activities, grape and olive picking etc which all can join in.
- Kokkino Chorio Village
The name means Red Village after the bloody massacre of the villagers by the Ottoman Turks. The village is most famous for featuring most of the scenes for the film Zorba the Greek. Although Zorba or Anthony Quin would see a much changed village now. The village attracted most of the expats during the boom due to its fabulous views across Souda Bay and its views to the White Mountains. Several hundred houses have been built to accomodate these invaders. The expats may be the first invaders since the Venetians to bring something to Crete and not take something away. The expats are helping the Cretan economy by bringing their pensions onto the island. The area around the villas is also upgraded and the village has entered the 21st century. There’s a mini market that sells British food and a good taverna that often puts on entertainment in the summer months. There is a small local beach Koutalas excellent for scuba or snorkelling.
- Douliana Village
Douliana is a small traditional Cretan village. It has a small village square with a mini market, taverna, kafeneon and an excellent large pizzeria. The countryside around this charming village is beautiful and typical of the Apokoronas and great for pursuing a love of walking. The village sits between the sea and Vamos and is about a 40 minute drive to Chania. There is a footpath to the beach at Kera which is about a 3 klm walk. The beaches at Kalyves and Almyrida are easily reached by car in about 15 minutes.
- Melidoni Village
Just to the north of Fres in the foothills of the White Mountains lies the pretty little village of Melidoni, not to be confused with the Melidoni caves to the east of Rethymno. Melidoni is very quiet and the villagers do not see many strangers. There have been some very nice stone villas built fairly recently and they blend in really well with this traditional Cretan village. As the village is some 400 metres above sea level, the views of the sea and mountains are superb. There is a kafeneon and a taverna in the village. Anyone looking for a quiet time away from the holiday bustle and likes it a bit cooler in the summer then Melidoni is a good bet. Close by are some popular tavernas at Tsitsifes and Nippos.