Your travel guide on Crete

Category Archives: Villages of Crete

Seaside settlement of Agios Pavlos is located 58 km south of Rethymno, west from Agia Galini, on the edge of Akrotiri Melissa. To get here you have to pass the villages of Akoumia or Saktouria.

Ag. Paulos it is a quite tranquil place, hidden in a windy bay, suitable for family holidays or one day relax. In the bay there is a beautiful beach with deep green waters and a wonderful sandy beach. Nearby there are several rooms for rent and taverns, where basic services (umbrellas, beach bikes, etc.) are provided.


the perfect beach attracts most of the visitors, some of them prefer to visit St. Paul village itself, to have short accommodation and food there. The Akumiani Gialia, is located behind the western edge of the bay and is probably the best beach in Rethymnon area.. You can get there from a path that starts from St. Paul village. According to newer researchers, Saint Paul visited this beach and harbour for the start of his trip to Rome.

Advertisements

Monument of the Battle of Crete

Plakias in Rethymno, Crete is located on the south coast of Crete about 30 minutes by car from the city of Rethymnon. Most of the houses in Plakias are located close to the cove of the village with a great view to the bay of Plakias which has the shape of a crescent. The development of the place started in 1970. Until then there were less than 10 residences.

Plakias Coast Line
Plakias Coast Line

Although Plakias is a small littoral village, you can find everything you want. There are many shops, super markets, rental cars offices and travel agencies. However you will not find a bank, so be aware to have enough cash with you or a credit card. There are a few cafeterias but it cannot be characterized as a place with an intense night life. If you choose to spend your holidays here, it will be because of the beautiful beaches and the clean waters of the place.

The Beaches Οf Plakias

Plakias
Plakias

Plakias’ beach starts from the village and extends eastward. It is one of the biggest beaches in Crete and can satisfy all the tastes as its east side is offered for nudism. There are also showers along the beach and enough space for parking. During your stay in Plakias it is possible that you will experience very strong south winds. In this case, you can visit Souda beach in the west side which is sheltered from the wind. There you can find a few taverns to eat.

plakias-beach
Plakias Beach

Other beautiful beaches near Plakias are Damnoni, Ammoudi and Mikro Ammoudi. Mikro Ammoudi is also offered for nudism. Other beaches, a little bit farther, are Lefkogia and Sxinaria suitable for those who love diving. You will find a diving center also in Plakias.

The Church at Kotsifu Gorge
The Church at Kotsifu Gorge

If you visit Plakias in Rethymno you will certainly hear about the palm forest and the lake in Preveli, two of the most popular sights in Crete with natural and unique beauty. Palms grow on the edge of river which stems from Kourtaliotiko gorge (you will drive through this gorge to reach Plakias). You can wander the paths of the palm forest, enjoy the trees’ shade or take some dives in the river.

On the estuary there is a beach with umbrellas and a canteen providing coffee and refreshments. You can reach Preveli by boat from Plakias and Agia Galini or by car. If you get there by car, you can visit the Monastery of Preveli which is located near the beach but you will have to descend several steps in order to reach to the beach.

Monastery of Preveli

The necropolis of Armenoi is situated 8 kilometers south of the town of Rethymno, on the main road which leads to Spili and to the south coast of Crete (Plakias, Agia Galini). The cemetery, which is the greatest Late Minoan III A-B (c. 1400-1200 B.C.) cemetery, was discovered on a low hill called Prinokephalo, which means “the hill of the wild oaks”.

Systematic excavations started in 1969 and 231 tombs, including one tholos tomb, have been uncovered up to the present time. The main characteristic of the Armenoi necropolis is that initially there was an overall plan for the cemetery which included special areas designated for the wealthy tombs and the poor ones. However, this plan was abandoned during the Late Minoan III B period and resulted in a mixture of large and small tombs throughout the cemetery.

All the tombs, with the exception of the unique built tholos tomb, were dug into the rock, and each consists of a corridor and a chamber (rock-cut chamber tomb with road). The corridor is composed either of a staircase or a ramp. The wealthier tombs possessed tombstones of different sizes.

Each tomb would probably represent a family group, containing multiple burials, either placed directly on the floor or inside larnakes. The grave offerings – pottery, weapons, tools and jewellery – provide us with useful information on art, religion and social organization of the period.

According to the osteological analysis the average age at death for the adult males and females was approximately 31 and 28 years, respectively most of the female deaths occurred between the ages of 20 and 25, probably a result of the dangers associated with childbirth. The chemical analysis of bones showed that the people buried at Armenoi had no marine food in their diets, but in general they ate a fair amount of animal protein and plants. They suffered from a range of infectious and nutritional/metabolic diseases, as well as from dental caries.

The main finds in the tombs were clay larnakes, fine decorated pottery bronze arms, utensils and ornaments, as well as seal stones and necklaces from semi- precious stones. Among the most important finds are a boars’ tusk helmet, a basket made of reeds and decorated with small bronze pins, a steatite pendant with a Linear A and a stirrup jar with a Linear B inscription.


The scenic village of Zaros is one of the most important villages in Psiloritis Riza and one of the most historic main villages of Crete with a total population of 2,000 who mostly work in agriculture, tourism, beekeeping and animal husbandry.

It is approximately 45 km from Heraklion and its name derives from the words Za(much) and Rous(flow). The area has always been inhabited during the times of recorder history, due to the abundance of water. Also, there used to be quite a few watermills, whose ruins remain along a water canal, while nowadays there is only one working at Votomos. The natural environment of Zaros is quite rich in ecological and geomorphological terms, and features special landscapes. Its environmental resources are unique and its flora and fauna is of special value. At the same time, it features some significant cultural elements, discovered in traces that date from the Late Minoan period until our days. Its natural and cultural adequacy, as well as the utilization of traditional farming activities have provided a solid ground for sustainable development. Nowadays, in Zaros, there is a regional health clinic, a kindergarten, an Elementary School, a Junior High School, banks and hostels for visitors. The Byzantine monasteries decorated with magnificent murals, the gorges, the crystal-clear beaches of the South and the live concerts of Cretan music are some places that are worth visiting in this naturally beautiful region.


The scenic village of Zaros is one of the most important villages in Psiloritis Riza and one of the most historic main villages of Crete with a total population of 2,000 who mostly work in agriculture, tourism, beekeeping and animal husbandry.

Zaros

It is approximately 45 km from Heraklion and its name derives from the words Za(much) and Rous(flow). The area has always been inhabited during the times of recorder history, due to the abundance of water. Also, there used to be quite a few watermills, whose ruins remain along a water canal, while nowadays there is only one working at Votomos. The natural environment of Zaros is quite rich in ecological and geomorphological terms, and features special landscapes. Its environmental resources are unique and its flora and fauna is of special value. At the same time, it features some significant cultural elements, discovered in traces that date from the Late Minoan period until our days. Its natural and cultural adequacy, as well as the utilization of traditional farming activities have provided a solid ground for sustainable development. Nowadays, in Zaros, there is a regional health clinic, a kindergarten, an Elementary School, a Junior High School, banks and hostels for visitors. The Byzantine monasteries decorated with magnificent murals, the gorges, the crystal-clear beaches of the South and the live concerts of Cretan music are some places that are worth visiting in this naturally beautiful region.


The women who constitute the Women’s Cultural Association of Spili, wishing to reinforce the cultural life and the folk tradition of their town, worked passionately and established the Folklife Museum of Spili, which has been housed in a two-story traditional house since 2011.

Folklife Museum of Spili

These women have collected objects which had been almost extinct from the village, maintained them and positioned them in the rooms of the ground-floor with the aid of Vorrin Museum Manager Mr. Vilianos, offering visitors a glimpse to traditional Cretan homes, while there is also an event room on the first floor. The exhibition includes farming tools, cobbler tools, a loom, traditional utensils etc. and the women have never ceased collecting objects with which many people – mostly the youth – are unfamiliar, to enrich the collection.


Spili is a small town in the municipality of Saint Vassilios and its population stands at around 800, including the inhabitants of neighboring Dariviana. Most of travelers who travel to South from Rethimnon, are passing it.

Spili

It is amphitheatrically built at the foothills of a mountain named Vorizis, spur of the mountain range of Cedar, on two hillsides facing each other, at an elevation of 430 meters. The village has always been characterized by its abundant flowing waters which make for a lush vegetation. Hence, it is also called a “cool-washed” place (drosoloustos). Its name translates as “cave” and is probably due to the many caves lying along the rocky mountain overhanging the village. Ever since the years of the Turkish occupation, Spili  has never been absent from Cretan struggles and revolutions. People of Spili have even formed their own revolutionary body and the village itself has sometimes served as a battlefield for the rebells of the entire province of Saint Vassilios. A visit to the watermills of the village is also extremely interesting. Not only because watermills are increasingly rare to find, but also due to the rare scenery surrounding the mills. The water flowing from the mills forms a downhill river, on the shores of which there are tall trees growing, whose branches create the sense of a cool jungle in the summer. The inner village lacks any special interest, mainly because most buildings have no exceptional architecture, due to perpetual holocausts. Spili, however, is not only a bubbling spring of abundant crystal-clear waters, but also a source of folk music and dancers, who have made history and contributed greatly to the preservation, dissemination and the reviving of folk Cretan musical and dancing tradition.