West of Chania

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.Platanias overview

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 beachMaleme, 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.

Today, one can see, besides the airfield of Maleme itself, the German war memorial and burial ground of the fallen German troops. Climbing the narrow road that leads to the German cemetery on the left, we will encounter a small, unpaved path that shows the way to a post- Minoan tomb. All ancient artifacts that were found here are now displayed in the national archeological museum of Hania. In the village of Maleme operate a nursery school and an elementary school that serve all the surrounding villages of the area, a pharmacy, as well as both an agrarian and a private surgery. The local population, besides tourism, is active in agriculture works of olives and oranges. The oldest churches in the village are those of Aghios Antonios, which was built in 1918, and the small Byzantine chapel of Saint Peter and Paul, a building of 1530, which may be the oldest in the whole region. At the edge of the municipality, located in a semi-mountain region with plenty of sparkling waters, green scenery and remarkable landscapes for touring and resting, is the village of  Deres. Most interesting is a visit to the complex of well-preserved Venetian monastery buildings, as well as to the many chapels of the area. Undoubtedly, the images of the Cretan hospitality of the people of Deres and their traditional celebrations will be an unforgettable experience and a warm memory. Try to find time to… honor them with your presence at one of the four festivals that begin in July and end in early September. Taste the local thyme honey, Gruyere cheese, light wine, fried delicacies and, of course, tsikoudia… Here the local population, besides olive cropping, collects chestnuts, produces honey and even manufactures coal in a traditional manner. At the traditional cafeterias you will be able to buy the local products made here. Also, a horse riding school operates in the area, with its own tavern for rest, food and horseback riding.
Traditional Festivals and feasts in the surrounding villages
VLACHERONITISSA August 13/2005: Traditional Cretan night. January 17/05: Feast at the celebration of Saint Anthony’s chapel. May 2/05: Feast at the celebration ofSaint George’s chapel May 21/05: Feast at the celebration of Saints Constantine & Helen chapel. August 25/05 (afternoon): Feast at the celebration of Saint Fanourios chapel. August 28/05 (afternoon): Feast at the celebration of Saint Ioannis Prodromos chapel. September 8/05: Celebration of the central church of the village The Birth of Mary. September 20/05 (afternoon): Feast at the celebration of Saint Efstathios November 9/05: Feast at the celebration of Saint Nektarios chapel November 26/05: Feast at the celebration of Saint Stilianos chapel December 6/05: Feast at the celebration of Saint Nicolas chapel
LIMNI Tsikoudia (traditional Cretan drink) festival at 2 of September.
LOUTRAKI August 15: Traditional Cretan Feast with local music and dance troupe.
MALEME September 13 (afternoon): Feast at the celebration of Timios Stavros, at beach
MODI August 6: Traditional Cretan Feast with local music and dance troupe.
DERES July 6/05 (afternoon): Traditional Cretan Feast on occasion of celebration of Saint Kiriaki July 25/05 (afternoon): Traditional Cretan Feast at the celebration of Saint Paraskevi chapel August 28/05 (afternoon): Traditional Cretan Feast at the celebration of Saint Ioannis Prodromos  chapel September 7/05 (afternoon): Traditional Cretan Feast on occasion of the celebration of The Birth of Mary
SIRILI Xerotigano Festival, early August
Beaches in the area of the West of Chania accommodation: 
Platanias (sandy)
Elafonisi
Gerani (shingles and sandy)
Aghia Marina (fine sandy, extends for 4 kms)
Stalos (fine sandy, extends for 4 kms)
Falassarna (fine white sand, emerald sea waters)
Elafonissi (fine white and pink sand, emerald sea waters)
Attractions for children:
Limnoupolis Waterpark www.limnoupolis.gr
Little train tours (Platanias)
Childrens’ Play park and Creche (Aghioi Apostoloi)
Go Carts (Kalamaki)
Chania town Public Gardens and zoo (childrens’ playground area and coffee-snacks shop)