Villa Mia is located on the outskirts of Gavalohori - an ancient and attractive Cretan village just a few minutes drive inland from the coast and only 25 km east of Chania. The town of Rethymnon, with its characteristic Turkish minarets and attractive harbour and leather markets, is 25 km along the coast in the other direction.

The village of Gavalohori stands at the end of a green and wooded valley leading the 3.5 km to the sea at Almyrida. The village is renowned locally for the work of its women's cooperative. These local ladies wish to keep ancient Cretan traditions alive, including the manufacture of hand made lace, silk, pottery and honey.

There are 4 cafenions in the village (including more than one with free wi-fi). At the bottom of the lane from the villa the Gavalianos Kafenes offers local specialities and hospitality to locals and visitors alike, with English spoken. The café opposite is the place the local aging male population choose to use to sit and while away the hours playing Tavli (backgammon) and they may well invite you over to take a coffee with them and play a turn.

There are in addition two small supermarkets in the village, both easily walkable from the villa, and both stocking a good range of fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables, bottled, canned and frozen goods to stock the villa freezer. They also sell home brewed raki (the local spirit of choice) and locally pressed olive oil. The village also has an excellent bakery, open all hours and offering a wide range of breads, hand raised cheese and apple pies, the delicious aroma of which snakes its way up the hillside to greet you as you walk down of a morning for warm bread for breakfast !

Local Beaches

There are so many beaches on Crete it is impossible to list them all, but here are a few of our favourites:

    Kyani Akti beach
  • Kyani Akti.Between Kalyves and Souda, about 20 minutes drive. This sandy beach is only popular with Greeks (and therefore quiet every day except Sunday). There is good surf here for bodyboarding, but it can be cold near the pretty river outlet. There is a lifeguard post, two snack cafes and toilets and changing rooms
  • Georgioupolis beach
  • Georgioupolis. A 20 minute drive towards Rethymnon, this pretty resort has a quiet beach to the western side, beyond the river bridge, and a long but narrow stretch of sand with umbrellas and sunbeds by the new promenade. This beach actually stretches for several miles beyond the resort and is worth driving to for the sheer isolation! Georgioupolis itself has many tourist shops, bars and tavernas as well as mini-golf and several night clubs. The river is still an active fishing port and at the river mouth is a beautifully photogenic white chapel on the rocks.
  • Almyrida beach
  • Almyrida. Only 7 minutes drive from the villa, this is the perfect family beach - shallow, calm, with showers and changing cubicles and with a toilets and a beach bar. Behind the beach is a ribbon of tamarisk trees and then a pretty resort with quiet bars, shops and restaurants.
  • Elafonisii beach
  • Elafonisi. This has to be paradise. Almost no habitation, and for the last few hundred yards, no surfaced road. Shallow sandy lagoons full of water so warm it is like a bath. There are beach bars, umbrellas and sunbeds but no shortage of room to get away from it all. A good 3 hours from the villa through beautiful scenery - an amazing day trip (make sure you stay after all the coaches have left!).
  • Falasarna beach
  • Falasarna. This is a good hour and a half's drive away, but worth the effort. Follow the signs from the road after Kissamos then drive down the winding road as far as you can. until you come to Jimmy's "Freedom" bar above the beach. From there a path and steps lead to the pink (yes) shallow sandy beach and dunes. There is also a part buried Minoan town at the end of the beach. Quiet and almost desolate - don't go on a windy day - but fantastic in its beauty and isolation.

If that's not enough, you can find out about yet more wonderful Cretan beaches ...

History and Archaeology

arch History and archaeology abounds here. Within a few yards of the villa is a complex of Venetian wells, and within sight (albeit a 20 minute drive away) is the huge ruined Minoan and Roman city of Aptera at Megala Horafia. tower at dusk
church interior There are numerous other Roman and Minoan sites all over the island - a visit to the world famous Minoan site at Knossos is a must - and walk into almost any of the thousands of churches and chapels to be amazed at 12th and 13th century frescoes and icons. church exterior
Gavalohori history The village of Gavalohori itself has an interesting history - the name comes from the Gavalas family who originally settled here at the time of the Venetian occupation. As well as the wells, there is a Roman cemetery, a variety of Venetian buildings and several churches.
There is also a local folk museum which is worth a visit.
Gavalohori places to visit