lies 75 kilometres to the south of
Chania city and is the base of
Pelekanos municipality in Selino
region. It has 2000 permanent residents
and many more visitors in the summer.
A special feature of the wider area
between Anidri and Koudoura
is the diversity of the coast. The wide
variety of sandy and pebble beaches will
surely satisfy even the most demanding
visitors. Every year the beaches are
awarded a Blue Flag. The sea has always
played the most important part in the
development of the area.
While in Paleohora one can enjoy daily
trips to Sougia, Elafonisi
and Sfakia either by car of by
daily ferries. A short and economical
cruise like that gives visitors the
opportunity to observe the landscape
diversity of the southwest coast of
Crete. Travelling by car, they can enjoy
the mountainous part of the area while
passing through magnificent olive groves
and picturesque small villages typical
of Selino region.
Visitors will also have an ideal chance
to take short walks along the coast or
up the mountain and those who really
like hiking can follow the international
E4 mountain trail.
Apart from these natural beauties,
Paleohora offers a wide range of shops,
café–bars and restaurants suitable for
every taste. From early in the
afternoon, cars are not allowed to enter
the centre of the town or the beach, so
it is convenient for both residents and
tourists to walk around the area.
Cafes and bars remain open till early in
the morning so nightlife never ends.
A vast amount of visitors from all over
Europe and Greece choose Paleohora for
their summer vacations.
is a small coastal town in the southwest
of Chania prefecture, in Selino region.
The settlements belonging to the wider
area of Paleohora are: Anidri, Azogires,
Asfendiles, Ahladiakes, Platanes,
Prodromi, Kalamos, Vlithias, Spaniakos,
Vasilaki and Agia Triada.
Paleohora’s special natural feature is
its being built on a small peninsula
between two bays: the east and the west.
The mountains around it protect it from
the strong north winds known as
meltemia. Although these mountains
are not imposingly high (300 m) they are
really spectacular and enchance the
natural beauty of the area. What
visitors like the most in the beginning
is this magnificent mountainous scenery
full of aromatic bushes and plants. As
visitors reach Paleohora, this rare and
quite wild landscape is followed by a
gorgeous flat piece of land.
The west bay
is characterized by a nice artificial
harbour in the area of Tigani and
a naval beacon is placed on an islet to
guide ships through their way to
Gibraltar or the Suez Canal. Next to
that, there is the area of Pahia
Ammos which is the most important
spot of Paleohora. Every summer,
thousands of tourists visit this golden
sandy beach which has been awarded a
Blue Flag. Its great size and the fine
hot sand are what every visitor would
dream of. People in bathing suits, with
beautiful bodies or not and of all ages
and nationalities, either rest under the
shade of colourful umbrellas or enjoy
the sea and the sun. During noon, when
the sun is too hot, you can enjoy a cold
drink under the shade of native
armirikia trees along the beach.
The east bay
is so different from the west one that
they look as if they were miles away
from each other. It’s a typical Greek
landscape with pebbles and rocks. It
faces the White Mountains which
separate Selino from Sfakia region.
There is also a wharf in this bay where
ferries leave for Sougia, Agia Roumeli,
Loutro, Hora Sfakion, Gavdos and
Visitors can enjoy short pleasant
cruises in comfortable ferries sailing
along the southwest coast of Crete.
Taking a special trip like that, one
will be marvelled at the natural beauty
and the diversity of this breathtaking
On the east bay there are bare steep
rocks in different shapes, caves and
small pieces of land with unspoiled
sand, only accessible to birds,
fishermen and the Cretan wild goat.
Huge rocks jutting out into the sea form
another small barren peninsula which
faces Paleohora to the southwest and
makes it seem completely different. An
old Venetian castle was built there,
which we are going to talk about later.
As far as climate is concerned,
Paleohora is an ideal place to stay, in
contrast to other coastal areas of
southern Crete. Visitors always talk
enthusiastically about this truly
Rarely can someone find such a mild
climate and beautiful beaches. All year
round weather conditions are superb.
It’s always so warm that people are
almost unaware of the word ‘cold’. It’s
an ideal place to stay, not only in
summer but in winter, too.
From May till October the weather is
warm and the temperature is higher than
it is in the countries of Northern
Europe in July and August.
Winter is also mild and pleasant. There
is an annual average rainfall of about
400 to 450 mm. The average temperature
is 19.5°C. The maximum is 41.5°C and the
minimum is 6-7°C.
More specifically, the average
temperature is: 14.5°C in January, 13°C
in February, 14°C in March, 17°C in
April, 19°C in May, 23°C in June, 26.5°C
in July, 27°C in August, 24.6°C in
September, 21°C in October, 18.5°C in
November and 19°C in December.
The average temperature of Paleohora is
a bit higher than that of the French
Riviera which is the most touristically
developed area of the Mediterranean Sea.
So Apollo, the god of light and the sun,
who according to Greek Mythology was the
loyal lover of the beautiful ‘Bride’
living in the southern Crete, was right
never to abandon her even in the coldest
days of winter. That is why Paleohora is
called “The bride of the Libyan sea” and
“The land of the sun”.
Due to the dryness of the air, with
average moisture of 15%, the atmosphere
is clear and the sky is blue and bright.
There are 44 cloudy days per year while
in Athens there are 57. All year round,
the sea temperature is so high that
people can enjoy their swim even in
Along the coast surrounding Paleohora,
there are many different magnificent
beaches of breathtaking beauty.
Looking at these beaches from above, you
are amazed at the blue colour of the sea
stretching away to the distant horizon.
Especially in shallow waters, impressive
iridescences make the colours of the sea
bottom seem incredibly rich and vivid.
The golden sand, the colourful pebbles,
the rocks and the beautiful little fish
swimming calmly in the sea remind you of
unique faraway places that haven’t been
reached and altered by man yet.
‘The bride of the Libyan Sea’
Paleochora in 1926
Many years ago, the flat land of
Paleohora was below the sea surface and
the fortress hill was just an islet. So,
after many geological changes, the sea
bottom became fertile land.
On the southern edge of the peninsula
and specifically on Kastela hill
(today’s Fortetza) there had been
a wall, domed buildings and an
underground aqueduct before the 1897
revolution took place.
The Duke of Crete Marino Gradonico built
the fortress of Paleohora in 1282 and
named it Selino (that is how the whole
region probably took its name).
Revolutionary Vardas Kallergis took the
fortress in 1332 and killed Kastelano
Ermolao Velenio, his guards and his
In 1539, Pirate Barbarossa destroyed the
fortress which was rebuilt again in
The Turkish took it in 1653 but some
years later they were forced to abandon
Since the Turkish left, Paleohora
remained uninhabited until 1886 when it
gradually became an important harbour
connecting the region to Chania.
Polioudovardas, a well known warrior, as
well as Kriaris, the chief of the
region, who both fought against the
Turkish occupation, came from Paleohora.
It is said that during the 1897
revolution, after the Turkish had
slaughtered all non-combatant residents
of Sarakina, they entered two houses in
Paleohora where many Christian men,
women and children were hiding, and
slaughtered them all, too.
Before the war with the Germans,
Paleohora had become a very prosperous
region due to the fact that it was
directly connected to Piraeus harbour.
From 1940 to 1960 however, that
On 1st September 1941, the
Germans surrounded the whole region of
Selino, arrested all resistance fighters
and transferred them to Paleohora. Their
unfair trial took place in the oil mill
of the village and they were executed
one by one in the cemetery yard. The
executions lasted for 4 days and the
people murdered were 29.
Paleochora after the war
Since 1960 Paleohora has seen a large
increase in tourism and today it is a
well known tourist destination all over
It has a nice street layout and
How Paleochora took its name
During Venetian occupation, Paleohora
was called Selino Kasteli due to
the Venetian fortress which had the same
name. Selino region, which was
previously called Orina, took its
name from that fortress, too.
In 1834, Robert Pashley, an English
traveler, visited the Venetian fortress
and said that all he found were ruins
and a deserted place.
There was only a warehouse where they
kept the wheat brought from Chania. That
wheat served the needs of Selino and
Sfakia residents. During his visit on
27/04/1834, Robert Pashley noticed the
ruins of an ancient city and said: ‘We
left Selino Kasteli at about
9:15am and crossed a river located half
a mile on the east. The ground along the
river is full of broken ceramics, which
indicate the existence of an ancient
We also know that Paleohora residents
found various coins while they were
cultivating the land in the same area.
Traveller de Feure Paul claims that
Paleohora is built on the ancient ruins
of Kalamidi city and that is how it
acquired its name (paleo=old, hora=land).
Plivios referred to 40 ancient cities in
Crete and we are not sure yet which one
There are many theories about this
First theory: An unknown traveler in
Crete claims in his book ‘Stadiasmoi’
that the ancient city of Kalamidi was on
the west of Lissos and about 6
kilometres far from ‘Kriou Metopon’ and
the mouth of Strados river today called
Pashley is more specific and these are
his exact words: ‘If we accepted that
this was an ancient location, we could
assume that Kalamidi was built here’.
Second theory: All these broken
ceramics, the coins and the skeletons
which were found about 500m on the
northwest of Paleohora might belong to
the residents of an old Venetian village
(borgo) situated outside the fortress.
Studying the local history, we conclude
that the exact location of ancient
Kalamidi is disputable. Some claim that
it is on the north of Agia Triada
village in the area of Fournaki where
carved graves and ancient walls have
been found within a walking distance.
However, if we examine the area
carefully we will find out that the
morphology of the ground, which makes it
difficult to cultivate, as well as the
lack of water in the area wouldn’t allow
a city to be built there.
An elderly resident assured us that in
the past that area was waterless and
while he was cultivating his land he
came across the remains of an old
aqueduct at a quite low altitude. This
shows us that people had tried to bring
water to the area where the ancient city
was once situated.
What is most believed is the theory of
historians and travelers (Faure Paul,
Dapper and Pashley) who said that
Kalamidi was situated by the sea on the
northwest of Paleohora near a flat
riverside area. That is why we assume
that ancient Kalamidi was once the
harbour of Kantanos just as ancient Suia
(Sougia) was the harbour of Eliros.
All the above verify the fact that
Selino Kasteli was not an ancient
city. The name Paleohora was given to
the area in 1881 by its first residents
because there was an old city very close
The local residents of Paleohora are
native Cretans, some of whom come from
Sfakia and Gavdos.