Situated on the western coast of the island, Chania is a top-rated destination for domestic and international visitors. The historical sights alone would be enough to enchant any visitor. Yet, in the case of Chania, it manages to combine them with innumerable beaches and enchanting villages that feel like stepping back in time.
The morphology of the island and the barren and rugged peaks of the White Mountains, trace an imaginary line between north and south. Cosmopolitan resorts and lively attractions distinguish the north, while in the south, untamed villages and wild gorges await. Among them, Samaria, a natural and cultural landmark that has harboured fugitives and is home to the endangered wild goat, kri-kri. The vegetation on the southern part is a blend of rocky soil, endemic plants, forests of wild oaks, and cypresses, palm groves and endless stretches of sandy coastline.
You can wander for hours through mountainous villages, before turning a corner to discover a panoramic vista of the Libyan Sea and tiny secluded bays where few tourists ever go.
The city of Chania is an idyllic and romantic destination, which offers both intimate moments spent strolling the harbour, and a lively nightlife and shopping centre. Yet, only an hour away, in the seaside port of Kissamos, you can board a ferry to take you to the island of the pirates, Gramvousa, and Balos Lagoon, a natural paradise with shallow waters of exquisite colours. The coastline may be irresistible, but more treasures await those that dare to head inland.
In Ano Vouves, you can gaze upon the oldest olive tree still bearing fruit, that dates back thousands of years; and follow it up with a wine tasting at Manousakis, an organic boutique winery that produces both local and international varieties.
One more reason to head to the mountains is to experience traditional chargrilled meat tavernas, that remain loyal to Cretan tradition and have a farm to table dynamic that elevates the flavour and overall experience. A drive to the historic village of Theriso, only 25 km from the villa, through lush greenery, flowing streams and the windy road that cuts through the gorge, is one of the best-kept secrets in the area. The village was also the starting point and headquarters of the resistance fighters during the Theriso Revolt against the Turks. A visit to the square, where the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos – leading figure and later a prominent politician – and the Historical and Folklore Museum is highly recommended.
The tavernas are known for their slow-cooked, authentic dishes, rich and creamy staka and mouth-watering lamb chops.
When it comes to hiking trails, Crete provides an abundance of geographical diversity that invites you to explore the rich fauna and flora on the island. With the E4 trail, Europe's longest hiking path, tracing more than 500 km across the island, there is no shortage of trails, from short day hikes to long challenging journeys. Starting in Kissamos, the path hugs the western coast, crossing through the Monastery of Chryssoskalitissa, and leading walkers to the stunning beaches of Elafonisi and Kedrodasos.
Of course, the most popular day trip is that of Samaria Gorge which is incomplete without a swim in the refreshing waters of Agia Roumeli.
Samaria gorge is also well suited for rock climbing with various multi-pitch routes available; in Akrotiri, the village of Stavros also offers a stunning 110 meters high cliff that looks toward the beach.
At night, let the villages carry you, with their traditional tavernas and friendly locals, to the joyful spirit of Cretan life.
If you stumble across a “panigyri" you will find yourself eagerly joining the dancers, and tasting the local raki until your heart, stomach and soul is filled to the brim with new experiences.
Of course, there is no reason to limit your sightseeing to what you can see on foot. A helicopter tour over the city of Chania offers a one-of-a-kind unforgettable experience, that can be combined with a leisurely tour over nearby beaches like Balos, and other popular destinations.
Looking for a glimpse of the most famous sunset in the world? Santorini awaits across the Aegean Sea, so you can enjoy lunch while looking at the caldera with a glass of Vinsanto, and spend the day exploring the cobblestone streets of Oia before returning to Chania.
First layer of exploration
The awe-inspiring landscape that surrounds the Akrotiri peninsula will mark the first layer of your Cretan exploration. Bearing the ancient name, Kiamon, it has always been a strategic point of defence for the harbour city of Chania. The rocky cliffs surrounding the peninsula provided the necessary fortification but now form charming bays with sandy beaches offering a wonderful holiday experience.
The southwestern side, which borders the area of Halepa, was chosen by prime minister Venizelos as his final resting place. Under the shade of pine trees, and with the chapel of Prophet Elias only a few footsteps away, the spot offers panoramic views of Chania Bay, but turn your gaze towards the south and you will spot the snowy peaks of the White Mountains.
Numerous archaeological and historical findings have brought to light the importance of the area as a place of worship during ancient years, while in more modern years it was a centre of religious and secular life. It is no surprise then, to discover caves with beautiful stalagmites, stalactites and intricate rock formations, that offered a sheltered sanctuary to rebels or monks. The most famous cave is located at the top of the northern side, near Stavros. There is also Arkoudospilio, which has taken its name from the bear-shaped stalagmite near the entrance. The latter can be visited during a short hike from the Monastery of Gouverneto that traces north towards the Monastery of Katholikon. The third century-old monastery located in the peninsula of Akrotiri is that of Aghia Triada, all located only 10 km from the villa and not to be missed during your stay.
With easy access to the main road and a mere 6 km from the centre of the city, Casa Scordilli is ideally situated for visitors that wish for absolute privacy but seek to remain connected to the best of what the area has to offer.