Here, you will experience lofty mountains, fertile valleys, plateaus, springs, rivers, caves, picturesque villages, Byzantine chapels, Venetian towers, ancient sites, endemic wildlife, unique traditions and cultural happenings… as well as a plethora of exceptional beaches with crystal clear water…
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.
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.
Stilos village is located in the area of the Apokoronas, 10 km southwest from Almirida and 18 km southeast of the city of Chania. This is a lovely and charming small village that retains its authentic character in contrast to the busy and tourist Kalives and Almirida sea-side resorts.
Stilos presents the traditional Cretan style with narrow, picturesque alleys, stone-built houses with stunning courtyards full of flowers, old wells and stone ovens.
It is an ideal destination for those who want relaxation while staying in a quiet and picturesque environment close to the beautiful beaches of Apokoronas providing lots of sightseeing and outdoor activities.
Although it has been somewhat influenced by the vacation industry, it is not a place where one can find many bars, restaurants, cafes or amusements.
Stilos keeps its traditional and authentic style that is confirmed not only by the everyday life and resident’s rhythms of life but also by the architecture character of the village.
Admittedly, walking through the stone alleys and observing the traditional settlement with the characteristic examples of Cretan folk architecture, one really appreciates a delightful walk in this charming traditional village.
As the day wears on, Stilos’ residents awaken from their siestas and the villages come to life. Elderly women sweep their porches, hang out the washing, and indulge in some idle chatter with neighbours.
Their sons and husbands head straight for the kafeneio to chain smoke,drink tsikoudia or wine. Hardy souls limp along the main road laden with wood and grumpy taxi drivers argue the toss with toothless gas station attendants. Join the locals and reward your endeavours with a coffee or, better yet, a glass of Tsikoudia.
The village’s main square with its traditional kafeneion and restaurants serving delicious traditional recipes of the Cretan cuisine, is for hundreds of years the meeting point of the inhabitants.
When the weather is good, the outdoors sitting under the shade of the great platanos-tree is incredible. The complimentary tsikoudia and amusing platter of fresh fruits is definitely a lovely gastronomy experience.
One word – variety. And Stilos has heaps of it. This fascinating landscape in Stilos is both sleepy and captivating with snippets to satisfy everyone. The nature is lush green and consists mostly of chestnut trees, olive groves and fruit trees.
With magnificent plane tree forests and natural springs of exceptionally beauty the area provides endless possibilities of hiking, walking, mountain biking and trail running. Moreover Stilos village is famous for its spring water that floats down from the White Mountain.
In the area there is a large water bottling plant that captures some of this water from its own springs and widely markets it as ‘Samaria’ bottled water.
Many churches and monasteries surround Stilos village, such as the Byzantine church of Saint John the Theologian (Agios Ioannis Theologos ) and the 12th century church of Panagia Zerviotissa, named Monastira by the locals.
Besides the excellent architectural preservation, the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos is particularly well-known for the magnificent frescoes . In all there are two layers of frescoes, the earliest dating back to the 12th century – the latest as old as the 15th century.
Next to the Church of St. John, there is a five million year old fossilized remain. The fossil is the articulated postcranial skeleton of a late Miocene sea cow or a late Myocene Cretan dwarf elephant, whose species is called Palaeloxodon Chaniensis. The specimen was discovered by a team of workers during the construction works of a village road and was carried to the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.
Additionally, in Stilos is also the beginning of the Diktamos Gorge, which is approximately 8 km long and ends up at the east side of the village Faragi on 40m height.
Additionally, in Stilos is also the beginning of the Diktamos gorge, which is approximately 8 km long and ends up at the east side of the village Faragi on 40m height. Diktamos Gorge is a spectacular natural wonder and features many species of the Cretan flora and fauna.
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. Specifically, he stated that the city may have been located near modern Nipos, or on the site of the Venetian fortress, Castel Apicorono, on an outcrop between Kalyves and Almyrida.
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