Who says only Chania Old Town is beautiful and alluring? Crete is full of really eye-catching and fascinating villages and the region of Apokoronas is famous for its small, yet of exceptional beauty settlements and villages.
They are located near the coastline or near the impressive White Mountains overlooking the Aegean Sea, medieval, historical, with narrow streets adorned with bougainvillea. The best summary of the Cretan essence is located in Apokoronas.
The major villages of Apokoronas are Vamos, Armenoi and Vryses, with police, municipal and utility offices as well as taverns and large churches; Kalyves, Almyrida and Georgioupoli are the largest beach resorts in this part of Crete.
The district capital Vamos, home to only 600 permanent residents, serves tourists exploring Crete’s northwestern coastline. Tourism and agriculture are the major local industries, with much construction and quarrying to satisfy the demands of many foreigners eager to buy or rent properties in what used to be beautiful and traditional villages.
At the present time, Gavalohori is among the more popular villages for foreign buyers, with a large amount of often low-quality building taking place. Many residents or workers in Chania also have homes in the area.
From cobblestone paths, to 19th century churches, and from Venetians remains to luscious green fields – these authentic Cretan villages in Apokoronas will surely charm you away.
Fres combines unique panoramic views and magnificent religious monuments in one of the most charming areas of Crete. Learn about the history and the traditions of the island of Crete by visiting the small kafeneion, sitting with locals, and tasting local treats with the Cretan hospitality.
The village of Fres is located 30 km from Chania and approximately 12 km from Kalives. Nested in a beautiful landscape, Fres is a tiny little village of a few homes without much tourism.
It is worth stopping by the square of Fres, at the small kafeneion under the shade of the age-long platanus. Because of its size and proximity to the city of Chania, Fres offers an escape from more crowded villages and sea-side resorts in Apokoronas peninsula. Indeed, you’ll still find a sense of authenticity and charm associated with a pleasant atmosphere.
Outside the village of Fres, inside a small gorge, dreamily nestled the chapel of Panagia of Two Rocks. Once a huge rock detached from the mountain and rolled down the hill. Panagia is a magnificent Byzantine monument and is set at the top of the rock.
This wonderful church has one aisle, an arched roof and interesting frescoes dating to the 13th century, painted using Byzantine-style techniques including the use of patterns, strong lines, and contrasting colors. Among them stand out the depiction of Abraham’s Hospitality (Filoxenia tou Avraam) and of Panagia Platitera (Our Lady of the Sign).
The region of Apokoronas extends from the foothills of the White Mountains north to the coast, in a wide plain with rolling hills. To the east, Cape Drapanon rises above the plain and extends out into the Sea of Crete.
The area is very green and fertile. The Kiliaris river, known in antiquity as ‘Pyknos’, runs through the region. Robert Pashley suggested that the name ‘Apokoronas’ came from the ancient city of Ippokoronas or Ippokoronion, also cited by Strabo.
There is a unique culture in the area of Apokoronas that sets it apart from anywhere else in Crete. From the cuisine to how they spend their time with family and enjoy the present and cherish every moment of life.
There are many ways to discover this way of life, but exploring the lesser-travelled but equally stunning locations on these spectacular villages is one of the best!
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