Paleochora, ‘The Bride of The Libyan Sea’, as it has been called, is a small, typically Greek town (or perhaps large village) sitting on the south-west coast of the island of Crete. Well, ‘sitting’ on the coast is a little deceptive. The town is built on a small peninsular which juts out into the sea and is a perfect holiday destination for many people ‘in the know’. About 80% of tourists who visit the town return again and again. Many of them will not recommend Paleochora to anyone but trusted friends as they want to keep it from becoming too popular and developed!
Getting around in Paleochora is easy. It takes just about 5 minutes to walk from the west cost to the east coast and all of the town lies between the two so you are never far away from anywhere. Someone once described it as like being on a tiny private Greek island as it is easy to forget that you are connected to a large land mass.
That land mass is useful, mind you. The large mountains protect Paleochora from the worst weather. Many times it can be pouring with rain on the north coast and sunny and dry in Paleochora! The town boasts two ‘Blue Flag’ beaches, a huge sandy beach (which has a semi-official nudist section) on the west side and a pebble beach on the east side. This is useful as, on windy days, there is always a beach which is sheltered. The water is very clean, crystal clear and there are no dangerous currents so bathing is safe for all. In fact Paleochora is an ideal destination for an old-fashioned family holiday.
The headland of the peninsular is dominated by an 12th century Venetian Fort which is well worth exploring – unfortunately mostly just the walls remain these days, but there has ben a lot of archaeological work carried out to show the structures which once stood here. Besides that, the views back to the town with the mountains behind is wonderful. Keep your eyes peeled! You may discover a centuries old Venetian coin on the ground or even an oldcannonball!
At night the town transforms itself into a low-key but interesting resort. The main street which runs through the cent re of the town and the east beach promenade are closed to traffic after 7pm and restaurants and bars put their tables out into the roads. Walking around town hearing many different languages spoken with people enjoying themselves is a real pleasure. There is no drunken behavior, no louts just nice good people all having a pleasant evening. This is a complete escape from the brash, ‘in-your-face’ resorts which a lot of small towns have grown in to. Here you can experience Greece as it was 25 or 30 years ago (even the prices here are the lowest on Crete).
There is a website which is dedicated to being a resource for people wishing to visit Paleochora and is called simply, The Paleochora Site. This site has many interactive features including a discussion forum, Photo Gallery, a live local radio station, blogs on local recipes and walks in the surrounding area. There are also two useful pages about getting here. One is a rooms booking service and the other page has many links to find cheap flights, and car hire. Visit The Paleochora Site and then visit Paleochora for a perfect holiday!