Ever found yourself in Chania with a couple of hours to spare, or tired of shopping and in need of a walk and sea air ? Or staying at one of the north coast resorts, and the weather too unpleasant to go on the beach? Here’s what we did on a windy day late last autumn …
The “old” road from Kolimbari follows the coast closely almost into Chania, but after Kato Galatas and Kalamaki beach it heads inland. From here it’s possible to walk along the shoreline for around 8 km, via a succession of bays and headlands, all the way to the Venetian harbour in Chania, and that’s where we went. The “bendy-bus” (for Kolimbari) will take you Kalamaki beach in twenty minutes or so, or a taxi in less time but more expensively.
Kalamaki is the seaside ‘resort’ of Galatas, the family village of Greek composer Mikel Theodorakis, more of whom later. The beach, reached by steps, is often referred to as Glaros, along which we walked close to the water’s edge, all sunbeds cleared away by mid-November.
The church of the Holy Apostles is beautifully situated on the first of three promontories, from where the views to Ag. Theodorii evoked memories of several kayak voyages around the islands, and beyond there to Rodopou, and a longer and more serious expedition along the coast from Kolimbari to Menies Bay and Dyktina sanctuary (ref. Explore ! March 2015).
Easily down to Apostoli, or for reasons unknown to me, Iguana Beach, where several were enjoying warm seas of late summer. Not tempted, but we found it impossible to pass by a still-open seashore cafe. A path climbs in front of beach volleyball courts, probably easier to the rear, and on to the next headland. There’s a myriad of paths to choose from here ; we kept as close as possible to “ the water lapping with low sounds by the shore …” and soon reached the second Apostoli beach, remarkably similar to the first.
En route to the third foreland, we climbed above a sea-cave marked on Google Maps as ‘Mikel Theodorakis Hohle’, although the connection to the famous composer and politician is not clear.
Born in 1925, Theodorakis is probably best known for his musical score for the film “Zorba the Greek” (1964), but had a long life as a political activist and member of the Greek government. He died in Athens in 2021 aged 96, and as he wished, is buried in the family grave in Galatas.
With many paths to choose from, we always seemed to follow those less travelled and rockier, rather than through the pine forest. Soon Chania came into view, and fittingly, we dropped into Hrisi Akti, or Golden Beach, at sunset.
Close to, and thus popular with Chania residents, the sandy beach, with shallow clear water, sun-beds/parasols, water sports, lifeguards and cafes, can be crowded in summer ; late on a November afternoon it was empty.
Next, via a rocky outcrop, came small Aptera beach, and then over to the 500m long Kladissos beach, with pebbles and tiring soft sand. So much so that we abandoned the seashore for the track slightly inland, where easier walking took us over wooden footbridges to Nea Chora beach,with its busy fish tavernas and colourful harbour.
And soon afterwards to Talos Square, and the poignant memorial, erected in 1990, to the S.S. “Heraklion”, which sank in a storm on the night of December 7th/8th 1966. Sailing from Souda Bay (Chania) to Piraeus, only 47 persons were rescued, and c. 234 drowned, a terrible tragedy.
The lighthouse at the entrance to the Venetian harbour was catching the last of the afternoon sun as we ended our leisurely walk of around three hours.
There are many excellent restaurants in Chania, and one of the best is ‘Tamam’, so after a well-deserved drink on the waterfront, that’s where we went for dinner.
Thanks to all who entered the December Explore ! Puzzle. The winner was Colin Whiteman who will be receiving the unique Paleochora trophy, and a “To Delfini” gift voucher.
Well done! Watch out for an email, Colin, so we can arrange for your prize delivery.
The correct answers were TSALIANA and MESAVLIA