The Sightseeing Arround Patrikό
Crete Balos Beach from Žiga Zupančič
It expands in the southern part of the Chania region and it is one of the most important sites-to-see in Crete, attracting thousands of people who wish to enjoy the natural environment while crossing it.
In 1962 it was declared National Park of the country, giving home to many endemic kinds of birds and animals, the most known of them all is the Cretan wild goat, or “kri-kri”.
The gorge was named after the now abandoned village of Samaria inside it, which functions as a resting stop to drink some water, get some shade and power up with a sandwich before continuing towards the exit and the village and beach of Aghia Roumeli.
In turn, the village was named after the church of Saint Mary and during the Ottoman-Turkish Occupation, it was used as a hideout for the villagers and rebels.
The route from the northern entrance of the Omalos plateau till Aghia Rhoumeli is about 16 km and it constitutes the second largest in length gorge of Europe.
During your stop in Samaria village, if you are lucky enough, you may see the inhabitants of the gorge, the known “kri-kri” wild goats and steal a quick photo from them.
The beauty of the natural landscape is the reason why thousands of people visit the gorge every year and it definitely should be added to your visit list during your stay in our island.
It is located on the south coast of Crete, about 12 km from the Chora of Sfakia, in Chania.
The fortress was built by the Venetians in 1371-74 as a garrison to impose order on the rebellious Sfakia region, to deter pirates, and to protect Venetian nobles and their properties. The Venetians named it "Castle of St. Nikitas", after the nearby church. The locals, however, who never saw it in a positive light, contemptuously dubbed it "Frangokastello", meaning the Castle of the Franks. The name eventually stuck and was adopted by the Venetians as well.
The buildings within the walls, as well as the battlements, were constructed during the Ottoman-Turkish Occupation.
On 17 May 1828, a celebrated battle was fought at Frangokastello. Hundreds of Sfakiotes and Epirotes led by Hatzimichalis Dalianis, a Greek patriot from Epirus attempting to spread the Greek War of Independence from the mainland to Crete, occupied the castle but were besieged by the Turks and massacred. However, many of the Turks were then themselves killed by rebel ambushes launched from the local gorges.
According to tradition, around the anniversary of the battle each May, shadows of the armed Cretan and Epirotes soldiers who lost their lives there, seem to march towards the fortress around dawn. These are called "Drosoulites", or dew-men.
After the visit in Frangokastello, you can go for a swim and relax in the extensive, sheltered and sandy beach next to it.
With its highly fortunate geographical situation, the city-state of Aptera was powerful from Minoan through Hellenistic times, when it gradually declined.
In Greek mythology, here was placed the scene of the legend of the music contest between the Sirens and the Muses. After the victory of the latter, the Muses plucked out all of the Sirens' feathers from their wings and made crowns out of them. Out of their anguish from losing the contest, the Sirens turned white and casted themselves into the sea, hence the name of the city Aptera (literally meaning "without wings"), and of the neighboring islands Leucae (meaning "white").
The city was destroyed by an earthquake during the 7th century and by the 12th century, a monastery of St. John Theologos had been built on the site.
There are several structures within the square monastery enclosure, including a chapel and a block of monks' cells.
The surrounding site is notable for a two-part temple from the 5th century BC, a large three-vaulted Roman cistern, Roman baths, and parts of several Doric temples. An ancient theater and a Roman peristyle villa have also been discovered on the site.
It is the only natural sweet-water lake in Crete and it is located in the Apokoronas region of Chania, near the village of Kournas. The village is perched on a hill overlooking the lake.
The lake used to be called "Korisia" in ancient times, after the ancient word "Kori" (<girl) and it seems there was a temple in the region dedicated to "Korisia Athena".
The mountains circling the lake create a magical landscape, making it one of the places you should definitely visit during your stay.
On the shore, you can rent a pedal-boat and reach the margin of the lake and after the long journey of pedaling and swimming you can stay and eat in one the many taverns there.