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Crete: Hania Prefecture Overview Page Twenty-nine

Westernmost Crete

Though the westernmost part of Crete has seen plenty of tourist development during the past decade, it has been concentrated on the beaches of Falasarna and Elafonisi on the northwest coast and, to a greater extent, on Paleohora on the south. In general though, the far west of Crete has not drawn the hordes that the rest of Crete to the east sees every year. Although the bus route along the north coast of the island includes the westernmost city of Kastelli Kisamou, this town itself has none of the tourist attractions of Hania or Rethymnon, and the beach is rocky. In additon, the one main road leading south from the city, though it has several junctions, does not offer access to most of western Crete, which remains remote. There are, however, secondary roads and hiking trails with beautiful scenery and beautiful villages which are all well worth seeing, as well as some of the greenest land on the island of Crete.

Hania to Paleohora

West from Hania you turn inland at the village of Tavronitis and follow a river valley, then, around Kakopetros begin a climb up through wooded hillsides followed by more rugged terrain, a pass, the final descent to Kandanos, a village destroyed by the Germans in May of 1941, during the Battle of Crete. The Cretan resistance had held up a German motorcycle detachment sent to prevent Allied reinforcements from landing at Paleohora and killed 25 Germans soldiers, and the entire village paid the price with its complete destruction. Interestingly, the waterworks seen outside of this rebuilt village were given to this community as an act of atonement by a German group after the war. Kandanos has the highest rainfall in Crete. Selinos is the name of this southwestern portion of Crete, a region famous for its Byantine churches, with two in Floria about halfway down the road from Hania, at Anisaraki farther south, in Pleniana and Kakodhiki. Kardanos has about fifteen Byzantine churches in its vicinity.

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