The Apokoronas Area
The district of Apokoronas in the north-eastern corner of the Chania region lies at the foot of the White Mountains and is one of the greenest areas of Crete. It contains some interesting sights, such as Lake Kournas, the island's only freshwater lake, picturesque villages and small beach resorts, archaeological sites, monuments and wonderful countryside.
From January 1st, 2011 Apokoronas forms a new administration unity under the Kallikratis law.
Villages near to Plaka
Not so long ago Almyrida was a fishing village and a weekend retreat for people visiting from Chania and the surrounding areas. Over the past few years Almyrida has slowly grown into a small resort with an expanding number of accommodation facilities and other tourism services. Despite this change, Almyrida has remained popular with Cretans and many use it for their weekend breaks. Still Almyrida has managed to maintain a laid back, friendly atmosphere. The area has been just developed the last ten years, in a way that the traditional characteristics which attracts the most demanding guests. Holidays in Almyrida are popular with families, couples and nature lovers. Almyrida holidays are slowly becoming more established with travel agencies, but Almyrida remains relatively quiet and unspoilt, and the atmosphere is still low key than many of the more well known resorts in Crete.
Kambia is in a small village just 2km from Plaka. It has beautiful sea views across Souda Bay as well as stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding countryside. Set in a peaceful area with little development, Kambia is an ideal spot for a private home in a picturesque setting. The villages of Plaka, Kokkino Horio, Gavalohori and Almirida with its sandy beach are all just minutes away.
Kokkino Horio is considered one of the most scenic areas in the region with fantastic views of the snow covered mountains in the winter and unobstructed sea views all the way down Souda Bay. Out over the Bay on a clear night the sunsets are incredibly beautiful, a must for the romantic hearted. At the end of the village along the coast, there is a small cove with a secluded beach which lies next to a cave. This area was used as the setting for parts of the film “Zorba the Greek” and was also a stronghold of the Germans during World War II. Kokkino Chorio’s elevated position at the entrance to Souda Bay made it an ideal watch tower and observation point. It is located just minutes from the villages of Plaka, Almirida, Gavalohori and Kalives while the Venetian town of Hania is just a 30 minute drive.
Gavalohori is a large old village with particularly interesting and well-preserved folk architecture. It is located on Cape Drapanos in the Apokoronas municipality of the region of Chania, Crete.
In this officially protected, traditional village a lot of interesting buildings can be found, such as the 18th century two-roomed, arched olive oil press, the temples of Panagia and Agios Sergios, the old school and many residences. Many of the well-known Gavaliana wells still stand within a fantastic landscape.
In addition there is an excellent folklore museum at Gavalochori Village; here you can see the history and the culture of the village. It is hosted in a renovated Venetian building with stone arches. The museum was founded in 1967 but was inaugurated in September 1993. It is housed in a building typical of the local traditional house architecture and occupies two levels. The first room represents the most typical traditional house of Crete, which is known as kamarospito. This type of rural house was initially single-spaced and had an arched opening which more or less divided it. In the second hall one can see exhibits made of silk, such as women’s clothing and weavings for household use. The pottery section (jugs, oil lamps, etc) and the historical collection of arms, paintings etc, are in the third hall. Passing on to the fourth room one can see bobbin lace and parts of a wood carved ecclesiastical iconostasis. In the last room there are elaborate stone artefacts.
Finally, there is an agriculture and tourist women''s co-operation on the main square, which has a cottage industry producing knitting embroideries and laces of delicate art.
Vamos is the former administrative area of the Apokoronas district and is a large, traditional village with many restored homes. The village offers a wide variety of services such as a district court, post office, bank, OTE-the Greek phone company, police station, pharmacy and a 24-hour health centre. It also has several tavernas and cafes and the area is known for its hospitable and friendly people. According to unverified historical sources, Vamos may have first been inhabited by Saracen pirates in the 8th century A.D. A traditional stone road still runs through the village and a walk down it is of great interest. Today, because of its year round activities it has become a village known for its rich heritage. Vamos is an ideal starting point for hikes to the surrounding hills where one can enjoy their rich flora and fauna and the village hosts the only pine woods in the area.
Drapanos is a sleepy, peaceful hamlet set in the hills and is an 8 minute drive from Almirida’s popular blue flag beach. It has stunning views of the White Mountains and sea views from the North side of the village. Facilities in the village consist of a supermarket, a taverna and a kafenion. The neighboring village of Palleloni is home to two fresh seafood tavernas that are reached by following narrow, winding roads all the way down to the shore, offering views as far as Rethymno.
Xirosterni is situalted midway between Vamos and Kefalas and is a traditional village with beautifully restored homes and a peaceful atmosphere. The approach to Xirosterni is through pine woods and the village itself is high on a hillside with sweeping views down towards Souda Bay. It is an ideal location for a private home for those seeking to live in a tranquil place yet close to local amenities. The historic village of Gavalohori is just a few minutes drive.