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Crete: Hania Prefecture Overview Page Thirty-five

Westernmost Crete continued

The road south from Kaloudhiana is to the east of Kastelli , going roughly south at first and then curving over to the south west to a junction at Mili with the road to Stomio to the southwest and to Paleohora roughly southward, on the other side of some hills from the main road south from Tavroniti (on the north coast).

the beach at elafonissosBetween Topolia and Vathi (to the southwest) you travel through some of the most fertile countryside in Crete, with woods and mountain streams, flora and fauna, Elos and Kefali with a tremendous abundance of water, such that agriculture is preeminent and tourism dispensable. Near the village of Voulgharo, in Makronas and Mouri are the churches Aghios Yiorgos and Ayhios Nikolaos, and there are more frescoes in the church of Aghia Paraskevi in Topolia.

The cave of Aghia Sofia, cut into the mountain, near the beautiful Koutsoumatados ravine, is one of Crete's biggest caves, inhabited in Neolithic times. There's a chapel there now, stalactites, stalagmites, and a bat colony. Koutsouamatados is a nice place to stop for a meal or to rent a room as a base for exploring the area and the owners are good sources for hiking details.

Nearby villages in lush green countryside include Vlatos, Rogdia, and Limni, this detour passing also wooded areas of chesnut and plane trees. This region, called the Enneahora (nine villages), is very much a center for chesnut growing, and a cool lovely place in summer at altitudes up to 1200meters. At Elos (the main village of the nine), there's a nice shady square and you can find an inexpensive room above the taverna there which served delicious freshly roasted dishes, a stream alongside it with ducks in a pool filled by it and behind it a large arch which may have belonged to the old Turkish aqueduct. Nice walks from here lead into the chestnut forests, and in late October there is a chesnut festival here. Nearby Perivolia (which means 'orchards') sits along the steep sides of a gorge beneath Mount Aghios Dikeos Iov (Job the Just), and is yet another green place with narrow lanes with old houses and vegetable gardens. There's a museum here with old photos of Crete, and various memorabilia. Another of the nine villages is Kefali, with a 14th century frescoed church, Metamorfosis tou Sotirou (mentioned above). At Kefali is the junction of the coast roads going north back to Platanos and southwest to Elafonisi, respectively.

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