A little bit of history…
From the Turkish Fort at Aptera there are the most amazing views over Souda Bay, and the whole Apokoronas region. The fort is being extensively renovated and can be seen dominating the landscape for miles around. Beyond the fort, Ancient Aptera was once the principle city of Crete. The site has been important, possibly since 1st c BC as it is at a vantage point above the entrance to the natural harbour of Souda. There are extensive Roman buildings, including two huge cisterns – one almost complete, bath houses, an old monastery.
Gavalohori is a working rural village, still retaining its unique personality – relax with the pace of Cretan life.
Many of the lovely old buildings have been restored, including the Folk Museum, which chronicles the history of the village – an interesting record of culture and handicrafts. The local Women’s Co-operative is actively reviving traditional handicrafts, examples of which can be bought in their shop in the village square.
At the foot of the White Mountains, this is the greenest region of Crete. Being close to Chania international airport and the ferry port at Souda, our houses are easily reachable by direct charter flights in the Summer, or by internal flight or ferry from Athens all year round.
There is plenty to explore within walking distance. Near-by local amenities mean that a pint of milk, fresh fruit, bottled water and other essentials are never too far away. There is a traditional bakery, though it is advisable to arrive around or before 9am if you are hoping to procure a haul of fresh pastries for breakfast.
Gavalohori Square also plays host to 3 traditional Greek tavernas. Highly recommended is Monica’s, it really does feel like a home from home – many people’s dining rooms all in one place. On Monica’s menu is her delicious homemade tomato, chilli and fresh feta dip – delicious! Be warned, the dip is made fresh from day to day to expect different gradations of chilli on each occasion! All of the restaurants offer something different and mean that you can unwind within walking distance.
Explore the beaches
on foot or a short drive away
Almirida is our nearest beach resort. Once a small fishing village it is now a lively seaside resort with many delightful tavernas. Windsurfers, catamarans & kayaks can be hired by the hour from a French sailing school. The beach is sandy and shelves gently, making it ideal for small children. There are long sandy beaches all along the North coast – choose your favourite!
2km away, Amirida Beach can be accessed by foot but it is recommended that guests take to the sweeping roads by car. The walk down isn’t so bad, but it’s quite an uphill feat at the end of a long day. The beach itself offers crystal clear waters and a range of bars and eateries that open out on to the sand. Just one of the bars to be recommended along the front is Francoise’s – the kind of place where menus are dispensed with after your first visit as you immediately settle on a favourite – try the delicious homemade cheeseburger, perfectly seasoned and served with chunky chips.
We provide free drop off and pick up to Almirida beach. Please arrange your beach days in advance with us upon arrival.
The drive down to Scorpion bay is not for the faint-hearted, but if you want to unleash your inner daredevil driving in pursuit of a silent, tucked away shore this could be for you. 9km away, directions are in your welcome pack. When you arrive at the top of a steep track, its time to catch your breath; the sweeping roads and sharp turns are manageable by car, but if you’d rather, you can park your car at the top of the track and take it by foot. On arrival behold clear waters with a covered area to take leave of the sun. There is also scope to learn to scuba dive at Scorpion Bay. This can be organised by Omega Divers who cater for all abilities from complete beginners to experienced divers.
A little further away, 50 mins by car (20K) you can visit a beautiful and quiet beach with a great little Taverna, serving authentic Greek food at great prices. Check out some of the reviews on Google – link below. It is well worth the trip for a beach lounging, food adventure or to watch a fabulous sunset.
for some Cretan hustle and bustle
Chania old town is an archaeological wonderland with a unique combination of buildings – Venetian, Turkish as well as Cretan. There are two harbours which are packed with restaurants & shops. You can take a boat trip, visit the nautical museum, or just wander around the narrow back streets. Don’t miss the “Leather Lane”, The Agora & Saturday street market.
Walking & cycling
explore the less travelled
The famous Samaria gorge is just to the south and there are also many less well-travelled gorges such as Imbros Gorge, which runs parallel to Samaria. The Apokoronas area is wonderful for walking & cycling, especially in the Spring & Autumn. We have written out some circular walks and cycling routes from the houses. You only have to drive a little way inland and you will find enormous expanses of beautiful countryside, remote forest & mountain passes, with villages virtually untouched by the 21st century.
expect to be surprised
Crete has a fantastic variety of birds, not only its resident bird species which are numerous and include rare and endangered birds but also the migrants who stop over on Crete during their migrations to and from Africa and Europe.