The Apokoronas region spreads to the east of Chania with its seaside villages enjoying excellent views to the entrance of Souda bay and the Akrotiri peninsula across. It is a very fertile area (olive trees, vines, avocado trees, orange lemon and mandarin trees) with several sandy beaches at Almirida,Plaka, Kalives and Georgioupolis. Apokoronas is one of the most picturesque areas of the province of Chania with many attractive and authentic villages like Armeni, Nio Chorio, Samonas, Ramni etc.
Almirida, 4 kilometers from Kalives, and 32 kms from Chania, originally a small fishing village, remains an unspoilt small resort. There are a variety of water sports available and many tavernas right on the sea front serving locally caught fish and fresh local cuisine. The beautiful Blue Flag awarded beaches in Almyrida have soft Golden sand, clear water and are very safe for children as they shelve gently to the sea. Sun beds and umbrellas are available.
There is a bakery, several bars, supermarkets and shops. A taxi rank and bus services into Chania town are all within easy walking distance. The Almirida Beach Hotel and the Almirida Residence Hotel are open to non residents and have internet facilities as well as a 10 pin bowling lane and a lovely sun terrace complemented with an infinity pool. There is a limited bus service to Kalives and Chania. At the entrance to Almirida archaeologists discovered an ancient Mosaic which belongs to the 5th century Church. Two kms from Almirida, village Plaka has several coffee shops and a couple of tavernas serving excellent home made food.The village has a lovely square dominated by the local church and surrounded by shady trees ,coffee shops and a couple of tavernas serving local specialities. Just a few minutes drive up the hill from Plaka, Kokkino Chorio is famous for its part in the filming of Zorba The Greek; nearly all the village participated. Anthony Quinn is still talked about in the village kafenions!! The ancient Castle of Aptera and the Roman cisterns are 15 minutes drive away. From here in addition to the interesting historical and archeological finds, the visitor can enjoy breathtaking views to the White Mountains, Drapanos Peninsula and the entrance to Souda Bay.
The historical village of Gavalochori
is situated just a few kms inland from Almirida, on the road to Vamos and was named after the Byzantine family Gavalodon who lived there about 1200AD. The village has many old buildings which are being lovingly restored . In the centre of the village there is a
shop exhibiting traditional arts and crafts of the local women (the famous “copanelli” bobbin lace). There is also a folklore museum. As in every Cretan village a kafeneion shaded by old mulberry trees and a couple of tavernas at the end of the village square, could not be missing!
Vamos is a working village where life goes on Greek pace all year around. Well situated at the centre of the Apokoronas peninsula has easy access from all the surrounding villages. Vamos is the capital village of the Apokoronas region. It boasts a Health Clinic with 24 hour medical care, petrol stations, a bank with ATM, a Post Office, 2 bakeries, 2 small well stocked supermarkets, pharmacy, a Greek cheese/deli shop, several kafeneions, kiosk for cigarettes, sweets etc., two hairdressers and a barber and last but not least, some excellent tavernas serving delicious Greek food with a modern twist that are open all year round. There is an increasing awareness of the conservation status of this area and many old houses are being restored to their former glory; part of this activity includes an art café from which you can enjoy wonderful views of the area and an organic shop selling local produce.
Kalives is a seaside village, retaining the original character and the local lifestyle. There are several small traditional shops, like butcher, grocer and of course bakeries famous for their excellent cheese and spinach pies (tyropita and spanakopita). There are several tavernas, either by the sea or in the village square, supermarkets, ceramic and jewelry shops and the traditional barrel maker (who also produces wine). In the central square, the dominating Aghia Paraskevi church is open to locals and visitors, whereas opposite, under the shade of the old plane tree, there are two “kafeneion” (coffee shops) and a couple of restaurants: the perfect spot to seat and watch the world go by! Kalives has two excellent sandy beaches, one at each end of the village. The one near our apartments is very long and sandy with a beach taverna, that rarely gets crowded: the other one, 1 km away, is at the end of the central village and is hosting the small harbor. Here, another great selection of tavernas by the seafront, offer excellent meals. The White Mountains beyond the village provide a dramatic backdrop that contrasts the sandy beaches. Kalives, without being spoiled by tourism, provides all the necessary amenities for couples and families. Lovely colorful churches, several shops and supermarkets blend-in perfectly with the tourist accommodation that includes from small cottages, to apartment complexes, hotels and luxury villas.
There are wonderful walks in this lush area, including the Diktamos Gorge and several others along countryside paths through orange and lemon groves, by the sides of rivers Xidas and Koiliaris. Extending several kilometers inland it is rich in olive and citrus groves, pasture lands and tiny hamlets rarely visited by tourists. In the spring-time, the fields, groves and tracks are filled in endless varieties of flora including many species which are endemic to Crete. Birdwatchers will find a large number of local as well as migratory birds to see, ranging from tiny warblers to large buzzards, eagles and hawks.