Villages of Crete – where you meet the authentic spirit of the island. Crete is a place that preserves its traditions and culture through the years. An island appreciated for its rich history, the hospitable people and the amazing natural landscapes. Moreover, its beauty and the diversity of the scenery make Crete so special and one of the top destinations worldwide. And of course, the Cretan cuisine is always the highlight of your visit. Rich flavors and aromas are combined with the Mediterranean diet and create a healthy and delicious gastronomy experience. However, the real spirit of Crete hides among its scenic villages. Filled with character, history, outstanding architecture and goodhearted people, you will be impressed by everything. Let’s find out the most beautiful villages of Crete that definitely worth a visit!
To begin with, in Greek the word village means “chorio”. A place where we always keep in our hearts and we connect it with warm feelings and memories. Although most of the Cretan people live nowadays in larger cities, such as Heraklion or Chania, every each of them has a specific village. Each of them is unique with different traditions that are well preserved. In essence they have their roots that go back in history. In fact, many villages but also towns in Crete have Venetian and Ottoman features. They mostly developed during and after the Venetian times and everyone can see that from the architecture.
Village of Crete depict the authentic spirit of the island
During a visit to a Cretan village, you will see stone bridges, towers, castles and churches that count hundreds of years. Moreover, mansion houses preserved form the Cretan Battles, narrowed streets and historical monuments for the heroes of Cretan War. The interesting thing, however, is that there is always a square with a church in the center of every village. Many of the villages are famous either for their natural beauty, either for their architecture or their significance in history. Here are some of them:
Chora Sfakion, Chania
Chora Sfakion or Sfakia – an unspoilt and historical village that depicts the spirit of Cretan people. Its location is around the White Mountains, overlooking the Libyan Sea. Known for its tradition and the fierceness of its inhabitants during occupations, you will find welcoming people who are willing to share their hospitality. There are endless activities that you can do from Sfakia, starting from boat trips to gorgeous beaches or Gavdos till hiking unbelievable E4 trails. During your visit there don’t forget to taste local products, as most of the inhabitants are farmers and cheese producers.
Anogia Village, Rethymno
Anogia village is one of the most famous villages of Crete. Perched on the slopes of Psiloritis mountain, the village remains unchanged in time. The inhabitants carry the traditions and their spirit alive from generation to generation. Some of the most important personalities of Cretan music were born there, such as Nikos Xylouris. A musician who all Cretans love and admire because he managed to capture the essence of Greek psyche and ethos through his songs. This is why this village is associated with the Cretan music tradition.
The historical village of Vamos depicts the crumbling charm of Crete. Scenic narrow streets with old stone mansion buildings in earthy shades are the characteristic feature of the place. A stroll through the streets will leave you speechless with the amazing Venetian architecture – perfect for a photograph lover. Moreover, you will find the historic Vamos ruins while the ancient olive press with half-destroyed ceiling arches is totally impressive. From the highest point the beautiful sea beckons every traveler down to the beach.
Margarites Crete Village, Rethymno
One of the prettiest villages of the island. Margarites is on the northeast part of Rethymnon in a distance of 27 km and it is known for its pottery tradition. It is one of the four main pottery centers in Crete, as the tradition goes back many generations. In total there are 23 potters in the village. You will be able to admire colorful and handmade pottery in every corner of the place, while every house has decoration with them. The village has also extraordinary architecture and winding streets that are well worth exploring.
Zaros is a mountainous beautiful village with traditional architecture at the southern foothills of Psiloritis. It is known for the traditional water mills which have been working since the 16th century and thus, for the major bottled water company “Zaros”. Part of the village is the famous Rouvas Gorge, a route from the E4 European walking path. The setting is unbelievable full of imposing trees and springs of water.
In conclusion, Crete is not only beautiful beaches and tense nightlife. It is about its culture and traditions that come alive through its people. Life in a Cretan village lies among the simplest things such as picking thyme, producing cheese or making bread. The ruins of them tell a story to every traveler who wants to explore it. Villages in Crete are the hidden treasures of the island that keep the spirit of hospitality and await your visit.
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