Down on the south west coast is Paleochora.This seaside town is
the second largest town in southern Crete, Ierapetra being the
largest. Its bustling population of 2000 inhabitants live at a
distance of 74.5km southwest of Chania. Historians suggest that
Paleochora is located on the site of the ancient city of
Kalamidi and the Museum of History located in the town centre
has an abundance of interesting exhibits evidencing the
magnificent history of the area.
It is a picturesque town which is well developed for tourism. There are lots of good beaches nearby and some outstanding scenery. It is quite remote from some of the main sites of Crete, for example, Knossos but has plenty to offer in its own right. There are the remains of a Venetian fortress and, below these remains is the charming old town with its narrow streets. There is a ferry service which connects to the main towns along the south coast such as Agia Roumeli, Souyia, Chora Sfakion, Loutro and the island of Gavdos in the Libyan sea.
Heading slightly northwards is the Kandanos, the capital of the province of Selinos, in the fertile valley of the same name. The region is dotted with olive groves, vineyards and chestnut trees and several notable Byzantine churches are located in the region. Kandanos lies in the middle of an old olive grove nestling in the foothills of the White Mountains. The village experienced one of the worst atrocities of the Nazis during WW2 when, in retaliation to the killing of 39 German soldiers by Cretan freedom fighters the village was completely destroyed in June 1941.
A plaque on the village square commemorates this. The only seaside villages of this province are Paleochora and Souyia. Souyia has a wide, long sandy and pebbled beach shaded by trees which line the coastal road. It is a wonderfully relaxing, peaceful place owing to the fact that access to it lies at the end of a narrow winding road which makes it difficult for tourist buses to enter the village. It is quite popular with Cretans from Chania who often come for the day (a two hour bus journey) during weekend in the summer. .
Places to visit in and around Paleochora are Castel Selino, a fortress built by a Cretan Duke, Marino Gradonico in the late 13th century to protect himself and his property from local insurrections and also from invasions of the harbour from the sea. The fortress was destroyed in the early 14th century by insurgents but rebuilt in 1334. What can be seen today is the result of further reconstruction after its destruction in 1539 by the famous pirate, Barbarossa. Close by Paleochora is the village of Azogires with the fascinating caves of Zoures and Haraks where, it is thought, the 99 Fathers of our Church chose to establish their monastic order. Finally, from the waterfront of Paleochora it is possible to take a boat trip to visit the small island of Gavdos