Tame the wild beauty
Paleochora was once a remote, isolated fishermen’s village first to be appreciated by the backpacking youth and flower power hippies of the 70s. The wilderness and authenticity of this tiny village set between steep mountain drops and miles upon miles of gorgeous beaches was attracting foreign visitors like a magnet. This connection between locals and visitors was always chill, relaxed and friendly, making it easy to blend in and even more appealing to this new found niche tourism that kept returning over the years.
Today, Paleochora is an ideal destination for alternative activities like walking and trekking all through the year. From beaches, to gorges, remote islands and coastal trails and villages, the southern part of Chania is an unspoiled, remote ecosystem that evokes emotions and offers you memories of a lifetime!
SUMMER The most popular, sizzling hot season. Paleochora, in the summer, is a mixture of Mediterranean culture, buzzing nightlife and tropical beaches. There is a total of about 18 kilometers of accessible coastline hence it is known for its numerous, splendid beaches, such as Pahia Ammos, Chalikia, Keratides, Anydri Volakas, Karavopetra, Plakaki, Grammeno, Krios and Limnaki.
Being in the center of Southwest Crete, Paleochora makes an excellent base point from which you way explore the far western side of the island by visiting jaw-dropping Elafonissi and Kedrodasos beaches which are part of a network, Natura 2000, protecting wildlife and unique habitats. Samaria Gorge, Gavdos island, Selinos region, the E4long distance path, Lissos, Elyros, Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Loutro are some of the must-visit summer spots of the wider area. In the summer, the social life of the town of Paleochora is at its best, with locals and visitors flocking in, creating a mosaic of bubbly extroversion and a blend of numerous cafes, bars and tavernas serving Cretan delights.
Social life and nightlife in Paleochora are framed by a familiar and cozy vibe created by the traditional cafes (“kafenia”) and bars, which set tables outdoors, on the coastline and the small alleys, serving local “tsikoudia” spirit with excellent snacks. During the summer, life in Paleochora after midnight is even busier than during daylight. Small and larger clubs create a vibrant music scene, while serving sweet cocktails and unforgettable nights! During the summer, many entertainment events like outdoor concerts with Greek and international bands take place, as well as full moon parties on the beach and theatrical performances. Many restaurants and bars organize Cretan music evenings with local artists, while wandering musicians, jugglers and other street artists, all add even more magic in the Paleochora nightlife!
Pachia Ammos beach is one of the two beaches located at cetral Paleochora – and the only sandy beach. It is named after its white, thick sand (“pachia ammos” = “thick sand”), which is a rare sight in this area. Pachia Ammos beach is one kilometer long and wide enough. This makes it less crowded, even during the high season. It is the most organized beach in the area, with sun beds, parasols, showers, water sports, lifeguard on duty during the tourist season, and it generally has all the facilities you would expect from a well-organized beach minus the crowds of Chania’s northern region. The shallow, crystal-clear water of the Blue Flag awarded beach is ideal for families with young children. Within a stone’s throw of the beach, there are several cafes and taverns, which will make your travel experience even richer and more comfortable. When strong west or southwest winds blow in the area, there may be waves. In this case, you can visit the other beach in Paleochora, the beach of Chalikia or Votsala, as it faces the east. Also note that a part on the edge of the beach is popular with nudists.
Chalikia or Votsala
Chalikia or Votsalabeach is the second of the two beaches inside. Named after its whitewashed pebbles, (“votsala”=“pebbles”), this beach is ideal for those who don’t like sandy beaches. The relatively small beach has crystal-clear waters and is located amidst a beautiful natural landscape, with the mountain rising dramatically to the sky in the background on its north side. Chalikia beach is quite organized with sun beds, parasols, and wooden walkways for those who do not want to walk on pebbles. It is right behind the street where most of the taverns in Paleochora are located, so a nice lunch after swimming is certainly not hard to arrange.
Anidri or Gialiskari
Anidri or Gialiskari beach is located 4 km east of Paleochora, and lies on the easternmost edge of the coastline with a total length of about 18 km. The beach is accessible by car via a dirt road. Anidri is essentially a cluster of 3 smaller beaches on the west and east of a small peninsula. These picturesque beaches were named after the Anidri Gorge, as they lie on its southern end – the gorge beginning next to the homonymous village a little further north. All 3 beaches have fine pebbles and deep, crystal-clear water. They also have sun beds and parasols for the hot summer days, and there are also two canteens with tables. The eastern edge of the beach is popular with nudists and it is also exceptional for snorkeling.
Grammeno beach is 4.5 km west of Paleochora, and it consists of 3 individual beaches around a scenic little peninsula in the area. The first beach facing east has pebbles. The second, which is the busiest, faces west, and has excellent golden sand and shallow water, being suitable for families with young children. The third beach, also facing west, consists of small secluded coves on the edge of the peninsula, where there is a beautiful cedar grove, offering a marvelous natural landscape along with the tamarisk trees of the area. All the beaches have crystal-clear water and the area has consistently been awarded the Blue Flag. The first two beaches have sun beds and parasols. There is a camping site in the area, while along the beach you will find good taverns for lunch or dinner.
Karavopetra beach is 2 km west of Paleochora. The beach has beautiful small pebbles and scattered rocks, as well as crystal-clear water. The beach is named after a large rock that is there, which reminds of a ship traveling on the sea (“karavopetra” = “ship rock”), and it consists of scenic small coves. It is not organized and has no shade, except for the rocks next to the beach, which can protect you to some extent from the sun, depending on their orientation.
Keratides beach is just 2 km east of Paleochora, and is accessible via a paved road and a dirt road in the last part of the route. Its name comes from the “keraties” (= “carob trees” in the traditional Cretan Greek dialect) that are everywhere to be found in the area. The beach is relatively isolated and has thick pebbles and very clear water. Apart from swimming, the beach is also excellent for snorkeling. Although it is not organized, next to the beach is the camping site of the area, which has a beach bar among other facilities. On the beach there are tamarisk trees and rocks that offer shade during the hot summer days. Also, the edge of the beach is popular with nudists.
Krios beach is 10 km west of Paleochora. It was named after the homonymous Cape Krios, as it is located on the cape’s eastern side. It is about 1 km long, consistsing of 3 smaller coves with beautiful pebbles and crystal-clear water. The first cove, which is about 50% of the total length of the beach, is not organized and unpopular because of its exposure to southern winds and it also has rocks blended with pebbles. The middle cove, right after the large parking lot, is the most popular. It features sun beds and parasols, and at the back there is a good canteen with tables. The third, westernmost cove on Krios beach is located right after a rocky formation that reaches the water, and it is the smallest and most secluded of all. You will find sun beds and parasols here too, but you can also find shade in the small natural caves on the rocks behind the beach. This small beach is idyllic and attracts both couples and nudists.
Lake of Krios
Lake of Krios or Viena beach is 12 kilometers west of Paleochora, on the west side of Cape Krios, and is the most remote beach of the coastline in the Paleochora area. The beach is accessible from the neighboring Krios beach, via a dirt road suitable for cars, which starts from the parking lot. The last part of the route is a footpath. Lake of Krios or Viena beach will enthuse all of you who like natural beaches: It consists of a series of small, isolated and well-protected coves, some of which are rocky, and some have sand. At the back of the beach there is dense vegetation where you can easily find shade and protection from the hot summer sun. However, what makes this beach truly unique is that it is situated in the exact location of the ancient Hellenistic or Roman city of Viena. Although few things of the ancient settlement have been preserved to this day, you can still see the rectangular base of the ancient sanctuary of the city, as well as scattered pieces of columns on the beach. This is one of the few beaches in Greece, where you can swim in the clear blue water and see, besides the beautiful shells, broken columns and ancient tombs just below your feet. The beach is one of the best in Crete for snorkeling.
Plakaki Beach is located 2.5 km west of Paleochora. It is a beautiful beach with pebbles and crystal-clear water. The beach is well protected from the winds and is known for its calm waters. It is not organized and the only protection from the sun is provided by the scattered rocks next to the beach. The beach is relatively secluded, and as a result it is also popular with nudists. The tranquil Plakaki beach, just outside Paleochora, Chania, is ideal for those who want calm waters for swimming when strong winds blow in the area.
Psilos Volakas beach is just 1.5 km west of Paleochora. The name of the beach means “big rock” in the traditional Cretan Greek dialect, and it comes from the rock that forms the southern boundary of the beach and protects it from south winds. Psilos Volakas beach is very characteristic and picturesque, and you will most certainly notice it as you drive by on the adjacent road, as both its special shape and its crystal-clear water will easily catch your eye. The beach has fine pebbles, and is ideal for those who don’t like sandy beaches. It has no shade, and the area around the big rock is perfect for snorkeling.