The region of Apokoronas

Posted on February 15, 2016 at 1:45 AM

Apokoronas is one of the most beautiful regions of Crete with is valleys of olive and orange tree groves, spectacular coastline and towering mountains. It occupies the north-eastern corner of the Chania prefecture and is at the foot of the White Mountains. It features some interesting sights, such as Lake Kournas, the island's only freshwater lake, picturesque villages and small beach resorts.


The ruins of ancient Aptera are located on a hill above the bay of Souda. Founded in the 7th century BC, Aptera was one of the largest city states in Crete and was continuously inhabited until an earthquake destroyed it in the 7th century AD. A monastery was established there in the 12th century. Most of this very large site has not been excavated yet but you can see impressive Roman cistern, a Greek temple, various other buildings and massive defensive walls. At the north-western end there is a fortress with superb views of Souda bay. The archaeological site of Aptera is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am to 2.30 pm and entrance is free.

Medieval castle in Aptera overlooking Souda Bay.

Remnants of ancient theater in Aptera

Kalyves, Almyrida and Plaka

Located on the coast in the Souda bay, Kalyves is a large village with a nice sandy beach and has been attracting more and more tourists in the last few years. Most of it is fairly low key and you still get the sense that you are in a Cretan village. A little further to the east, Almyrida has seen a number of tourist developments as well. Its sandy beach with shallow waters make it a good destination for families with small children. Above Almyrida, the small villages of Plaka and Gavalochori offer stunning views of the Souda bay and the White Mountains.

Kalyves beach with a view towards Souda bay

Georgioupolis and Lake Kournas

Georgioupolis, at the eastern end of the district of Apokoronas, used to be a sleepy little fishing village but its long (9 km) sandy beach has become a popular destination. Lake Kournas is located 3 km inland from Georgioupolis is the only freshwater lake in the whole of Crete.

Kournas lake

Georgoupolis and its beach


Vamos is the capital of the district. In 1995 a group of villagers started a project to preserve the traditional way of life of Vamos. With funds from the European Union, they started a project to showcase the crafts and products of the region and restored old stone buildings using traditional materials and crafts and turned them into guest houses.


Vrysses is a relatively new village established in 1925. It is located on the road which links the north coast with Sfakia. It's a picturesque village with a river flowing through its center making it a nice place to escape the summer heat in the shade of the giant platanos trees.

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