Following the north central road network from Hania to Kissamos for no more than ten (10) kilometers (6,2 miles) and without losing sight of the beautiful coast side that oversees the Cretan Sea, we meet the most organized tourist region of the district of Hania: Platanias. As most of the villages of the area, the first references of it can be traced back in ancient times, while there is a clear history of it in the Venetian archives. Placed on the top and the slopes of a steep hill, it extends downwards towards the sea, accompanied by the clear waters of the beautiful river Keritis. The river is well known from the epic poems of Homer by the ancient Greek name of Iardanos.
Pano Platanias is the oldest and richest in history part of the village. Many aspects of its history are still alive and can be seen in its architecture and in the remains from the Turkish occupation (like the remains of the Turkish lookout tower). Built amphitheatrically on the slope, the village offers a unique panoramic view of a serene and welcoming landscape. Moving on through the narrow picturesque streets, we will come upon gardens full of flowers and basil, white-washed walls, the “bendenia” and the warm greetings that come easily to the lips of the local population. All these reassure us that the way of life here is a happy and hospitable one.
Kato Platanias (the lower region of the village) is the modern extension towards the sea. Here are gathered all the amenities and services a modern tourist designation may offer. From food and shopping, to small sea excursions that begin and end at the picturesque, crowded with small fishing boats marine, you will find everything that matters for a beautiful vacation. Beautiful beaches that have never failed to be nominated with blue flags for their organization and cleanliness surround Platanias. They all look upon the little island of Theodorou, which, according to an ancient myth, was a giant sea monster that was petrified for eternity in that very location. The village possibly employs the very best in quality and the most complete tourist services in the district of Hania. Beyond its network of hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and recreation facilities of all kind, as well as jewelry shops, super markets, banks etc. there can also be found health clinics, pharmacies, nurseries, an elementary and a high school that cover the local needs of all the municipality. Transportation and communication with Hania by bus is well scheduled and on the clock. The village’s good transportation network, combined with its well-put location (close to Hania but also in the countryside) gives the visitor of Platanias the opportunity to travel fast and easily to most of the worthwhile sights of the district of Hania. Here you will have the chance to meet and truly understand many of the aspects of Crete itself, its agriculture, its unique beauties, its superb cuisine and flavors, its tradition, its villages and its monuments that attest how this land has put a deep mark on history and civilization. Continuing our tour, after 6 kms from Platanias,we will find on our route among the low hills the village of Xamoudohori . At its traditional cafeteria in the center of the village awaits us, aside from local manufactured soft drinks, the traditional homemade famous tsikoudia. The hills of Xamoudohori offer a panoramic view of the vineyards and olive groves, as well as of the bay of Hania and the cape of Spatha. A little after Xamoudohori, we meet the village of Kyparissos with its characteristic cantounia (neighborhoods) and its centenarian cypress tree that gave the name to the village (Kyparissi-cypress tree). Most of the population of the above villages is engaged in viniculture, winemaking, olive gathering and the making of tsikoudia. A little further down the road, we come across Maleme, a village that has been marked by history in various ways and times.Its roots begin in the post-Minoan era (1600 – 1070 B.C.), but it is remembered mostly for the fierce fighting that took place here during the German assault on Crete in 1941. The capture of its airfield was the primary target of the whole assault. The resistance of the allied forces, but above all the resistance of the poorly armed and even unarmed Cretans, was what elevated the Battle of Crete into a worldwide symbol of struggle for freedom.