Paleochora Village: Jewel of Southwest Crete

In the far south of Chania Prefecture on an isolated peninsula, the traditional fishing village Paleochora is a Cretan jewel on the Libyan Sea. Surrounded by olive groves and rimmed in by the craggy White Mountains, the village stands on the ruins of the ancient Dorian city of Kalamydi.

The area around Paleochora is famous for its rugged terrain and inaccessibility, not to mention the 11 km stretch of pristine shoreline kissed by the deep blue of the Libyan Sea. Supported by tourism and agriculture, the modern settlement is now one of Crete’s fastest-growing tourist centers. Well-organized beaches and scores of traditional taverns and restaurants make no indication that Paleochora was once a deserted ghost village. Last but not least, Paleochora is one of Crete’s most sought-after villages for fresh seafood.

Paleochora’s history is rich. It dates back to Minoan times, stretching into the Venetian Era, encompassing the Ottoman rule, the pirates’age, and modern times since the World Wars. The current village takes most of its character from its recolonization in 1866, following a period after pirates destroyed the fort called “Castel Selino,” built by the Venetians.

For travelers searching for history and archaeological finds, or aquatic sports enthusiasts, Paleochora has a lot to offer. Offshore, the kiteboarding and windsurfing possibilities are epic, and there are many SCUBA and fishing offers in the area too. Dolphin and whale watching excursions are other family favorites. Hikers and nature lovers will appreciate the nearby Anidri village and gorge, and naturists have access to several nudist-friendly beaches not far away from the village.

While in the region, you’ll want to take the ferries from Paleochora to visit other remote settlements like Loutro, Sougia, Agia Roumeli, or even mysterious Gavdos Island some miles distant offshore. Some adventure seekers even recommend getting Paleochora boat owners or fishers to carry them to Crete’s remotest and most stunning beaches.

Finally, Paleochora offers shopping opportunities – including tons of local handicraft shops, banks, ATMs, gas stations, car and bike rentals, and a pharmacy. The village has a near-perfect climate all seasons, so visiting in the fall or early spring can make for an idyllic, peaceful holiday.

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