The villages surrounding Georgioupoli are full of natural beauty, architectural gems, monuments, and wonderful people.
Georgioupoli is surrounded by countryside villages rich in history and tradition yet most are quaint and slow-paced even at the peak of the summer tourist season because destinations by the sea are more popular with tourists. In the following lines, we have rounded up some of the region’s most cinematic settlements.
Georgioupoli lays where Almyros meets the sea in Apokoronas, an area that looks like it’s something out of a fairytale, with villages where you can still experience the authentic Cretan way of life, even when other destinations on the coast of the island are busy with visitors from all over the world. The villages surrounding Georgioupoli are where you go to escape the tourist crowds.
Vryses: authentic Crete
You’ll reach Vryses in less than twenty minutes after you leave Georgioupoli. The village lies between Chania and Rethymno at the foothills of Lefka Ori. It’s a scenic place with large plane trees that provide generous shadow in the summer when many of the locals will spend lazy afternoons sitting at one of the rustic cafes that line on the shores of the river. Visitors who stop here can also appreciate the quality of the food – typical Cretan home-cooking at very attractive prices. Even the wine and raki are homemade.
The main source of income for the locals here is agriculture, with a strong focus on the growth of olive and citrus trees, but also herding. For tourists, Vryses is just a stop to appreciate authentic Cretan lifestyle. Yet many also enjoy this destination for hiking and horseback riding. The village itself is rustic and unpretentious. It’s getting touristic appreciation only due to local agencies conducting adventure tours and word of mouth advertising. If you plan to visit Vryses without a guide, it’s really easy to get around. Do not miss the fascinating Greek Kamara here, a Greco-Roman bridge from 300 BC to 300 AD, which now stands in ruin at one of the borders of the village (close to the interchange).
Vamos: historic seat of Apokoronas
Built on a hill at an altitude of 190 meters above sea level, Vamos is a state-recognized traditional village. It is now strongly advertised as a sustainable tourist destination, but although it attracts a fair number of visitors with an array of activities that range from cooking lessons, olive oil, and wine tasting, to hikes and visits to famous local landmarks, Vamos maintains its true Cretan spirit. Vamos is particularly interesting for its hikes, which take you from the most interesting landmarks of the village to the picturesque villages around it.
Must see landmarks when you visit the Vamos region include:
- The ruins of the Monastery of the Virgin Mary in Katomeri in the Venetian village Karydi Kartsomados
- The Monastery of Agios Georgios in Karydi with its impressive arched olive press built in 1860. The monastery itself has well-maintained museum where a 500 year old silver icon is the main attraction.
- The Church of Agios Nikolaos – a Byzantine landmark, widely considered the most beautiful of its kind in all Crete, with traces of frescoes and engravings from 1362, 1382, and 1388-1397.
- The village Gavalochori: has several interesting landmarks worthy of your attention, including the Venetian stone wells and the Folklore Museum.
- The picturesque village of Douliana, just two km. from Vamos – a traditionally preserved village with a cozy square where you can rest for a while at the local cafe before you continue your adventures in Apokoronas
Fylaki: traditional settlement
Fylaki is another officially listed traditional settlement. It is noteworthy for a Late Minoan domed tomb, which was preserved in excellent condition. However, this is not the only attraction in the area. In Fylaki, you can also visit the 700 years old Byzantine church of Agia Anna, and the famous “Platanos” tavern – opened by Markos Kymionakis in 1922 – which ranks among the best authentic establisments of this kind on Crete.