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Short trip to West Crete - Paleochora question

Short trip to West Crete - Paleochora question

Sep 30th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 94
Short trip to West Crete - Paleochora question

We'll be heading to Crete on Sunday for a 6 night visit.

The first night will be in Omalos assuming we make all our connections in Paris and Athens. The next day we'll head down the Samaria Gorge to spend a couple of nights in Agia Roumeli.

We then will take the ferry to Paleochora for a 3 night stay. This will be a first time there for us and I'd welcome any recommendations on restaurants and walks. From what I've read, the walk to and from Anidhri sounds like an interesting day. Also I've read that Paleochora has bicycle rentals. Is there really any place to ride in the area?
Roger1x is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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This is from one of my older (pre-Euro) trip reports.

"We spent the first week in the southwestern town of Paleochora- very userfriendly, lots of families, lots of Germans, no huge shops but good local shopping, high quality tourist craft shops and dozens of very good tavernas. There is a long sandy beach which has the European Blue Flag, and there are a lot of rocky coves and pebble beaches nearby. There is one lovely beach at Koundouras, about 5 miles away, which only the Greeks seemed to know about. Krios, which is as far west as the road goes, is quite pretty, but was overrun by wasps and hornets. Expect to pay about 1500dms for 2 sunbeds and a parasol, on any beach you use.

The town has a couple of night club places, but that is not its main claim to fame. There are a lot of “Rooms Rent” available, and a couple of good hotels- Hotel Glaros for one- and a well equipped campsite. We had a studio apartment less than 3 minutes walk from the beach(Ton Mari). Very good apart from having only a hand held shower..grrr!!!

Everywhere we ate was excellent ( I exaggerate not, honest) except the Third Eye- a veggy place which advertised that it did some meat meals too. The service was awful, they gave my husband Spaghetti Carbonara, which wasn’t, and beat up one of the neighbourhood dogs in front of us. The places we ate which we liked were- Calypso; Avenis; Gramenos (5 miles outside town);Odysseus (pizzas, but really good); and Coralio. So was Kamares in Souyia. Cost for two for a meal varied from 4500dms to 5700dms for 2 (£4.50-£5.70).

The area is called Selinos and is famous for frescoed Byzantine churches. We tried to see lots. A mixture of Greek roads, bad maps, worse map reading and locked churches conspired against our best efforts.

A lot of Cretan roads are not paved. If you get a rental company map they simply do not appear on it..and you will think you need a donkey to get there; but if you get a good map (this is a relative term) like Harms Verlag- which you have to organise before you go for your chances of finding it there are slim- then some but not all of them will appear. That makes counting to find road junctions a bit random. However it may lead you into great adventures…like our trip over the mountains, past lots of churches but not the ones we were looking for, to Elafonisso. This is an absolutely beautiful beach with an offshore island and a lagoon to die for. Until relatively recently it had no road access and you had to walk or get a boat to get there. That is no longer true and it is a bit overpopulated now. You can wade through knee deep water to the island, which has very few people on it.

6 kms outside Paleochora is a lovely little hill village called Anidri which has a frescoed church and a lovely kafenion in the old school. A super walk through olive groves, to be refreshed at the top, followed by a walk down the gorge to the pebble beach below. It also has a beach bar.

The main villages in the south west are linked by ferries in the summer. Whilst we had hired a jeep for the week we were there, we could just as easily have stayed in Paleochora and hopped along the coast by ferry. As it was, we drove to Souyia ( about 2 hours) and then walked up a gorge and over a hill to Lissos, which is an old Minoan site, again with its own pebble beach. There is allegedly a caretaker who can let you into the fenced site and will sell you a drink, but we did not see hide nor hair of him. You can also get there by boat without all the effort we put in.

The route to Souyia goes through some of the mountains which were the home of the Cretan resistance during the war. We read quite a lot about that period, and were breathtaken at the gallantry of those involved; I was a bit surprised that there were as many German tourists in this area, given that it seems that every few hundred yards there is another memorial for people killed in outrages that make Kosovo seem like the teddy bears’ picnic. I am not (I hope) being rascist or looking from too narrow a perspective but I’ve never been anywhere before where I’ve been so conscious of recent European history.

The highlight of my holiday was the first Sunday when we walked the Samaria Gorge. (In passing, do not deal with Syia Travel, who took a booking and our money to do this as part of an organised trip, and only when we went as requested, to confirm at 10pm on Saturday night, did they tell us they weren’t going after all.) We got up at 5.30am and caught the local bus to Omalos at the top of the gorge and then walked the 11miles through Europe’s longest, and, surely, most spectacular, ravine to Ayia Roumeli, where we collapsed for a few hours before catching the ferry back. "

I wrote this a year laterbr />
"I posted a lot about Paleohora last year and have little to add, other than it now has an internet café up the stairs from one of the town’s tavernas, spoilt only by the fact that when the french doors onto the balcony are closed the fug of cigarette smoke is appalling.

Good meals eaten at Corali, Caravello (probably the best in town), Dionysius, Christos and Pandolis(also very good-watch out for wolves on the rooftops when the moon is full!). Cost for two for a meal varied from 5300dms to 6500dms (£10-£12) Except when we had fresh fish which made it a whopping £20/ head or thereby.

Took a dolphin watching trip- no dolphins, a bit choppy, and the smoke from the stack blew back on the outward leg of the trip, all of which condemned me to sitting in the scuppers trying not to couk. My husband enjoyed the cruise tho’."

I think you will regret two nights in Agia Roumeli. It'sca completely made up village to catch the walkers coming out of the gorge. There's nothing there.

Cycling- heaps of places to cycle. A bit up hill and down dale if you stray from the coastal path, but probably good fun coming back down at the end. You could take the bike of the ferry to Elafonissi and cycle back for example. The paved road doesn't go that way
sheila is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Thanks for all the great information. I was hoping that you would reply, and would have put your name in my post, but some folks get annoyed at questions for specific people.

I'm sure 3 nights isn't enough in Paleochora but we try to get to Crete every year. We really enjoy Sougia but it sounds like Paleochora may even be nicer.

I know what you mean about 2 nights in Agia Roumeli, but we love staying at the Artemis Studios and eating in their restaurant. After once walking the gorge with the crowds, we now always start late in the morning and don't arrive in Agia Roumeli until after the last ferry has left. So we have to spend at least one night there. When you start out at around noon you won't see 20 people the entire day.
Roger1x is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 12:21 AM
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I can see the benefit of that. The one time I did it, however, I thought I'd die on the last 2 miles, it's so exposed in the sun. And I was fit, then.
sheila is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:07 AM
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I haven't walked the Samaria Gorge since mid-June 2006 and I thought I was going to die by the time I got to the old village of Samaria. It was really hot that day, but I had a nice lunch and a 45 minute nap and enjoyed the rest of the way.

I'm assuming it won't be as hot next week as in June. Also I have reduced the weight I'll be carrying from 25 lbs. to just over 15 lbs. I'm hoping that makes a big difference since I'm not as fit now as 3 years ago.

One of the other benefits to a late start means those last few miles aren't exposed to the sun since it's close to setting by the time you get there.

I had to laugh at your comment about hand held showers. I find them really annoying also and still fairly common. At least hot water is no longer a problem.
Roger1x is offline  

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