Holidays in Plaka
Plaka is a small village of no particular tourist development. The many houses built in recent years are villas, mostly for private use.
In Plaka you won’t find any tourist or souvenir shops, banks or cashpoints. However, Almyrida and Kalyves are nearby and you can find all you need there.
There is no pharmacy or post office in Plaka, but you’ll see the distinctive yellow postbox if you want to send a friend a postcard.
There is also a minimarket in the main square with the basic necessities for your holiday.
Tavernas in Plaka
In the main square of Plaka you will find tavernas with traditional Greek cooking. There is no international cuisine here but the local dishes are delicious, showing that tourist development has not touched the area and altered the traditional way of cooking.
There is also a very good cake shop in the main square, selling Cretan pastries and Greek confectionery. Even if you’re just passing through, take the time to relax in the square and cool off at one of the cafeteria tables under the trees.
Hotels in Plaka
In Plaka there are hotels renting furnished apartments and kitchenettes for those in search of relaxed and independent holidays.
The hotels may be small, but they have lovely gardens and stunning views of Souda Bay.
Many of the foreigners resident in Plaka also rent out their villas when they’re not staying there, so that’s another possibility to look into if you feel like staying here.
What to do on holiday in Plaka
If you decide to stay in Plaka, you’ll see for yourself that the sunsets here are truly splendid. The scenery of Plaka is dramatic anyway: the village looks west to Souda Bay and south to the White Mountains, while Mount Drapanokefala rises to the east.
Even if you’re not staying in Plaka but are based in Almyrida, it’s worth climbing up before dusk to admire the sunset from here. It’s one of the most impressive sights in the area.
Michalis Papadakis or Plakianos
The nearest beach is at Αlmyrida, about 1 kilometre from Plaka. Other local beaches are the beaches at Kalyves and the beach at Georgioupolis.
Many events and a Cretan music festival, known as the Plakiana, are held at Plaka every summer, at the end of July. .
The festival is held in honour of Michalis Papadakis or Plakianos, a talented local lyre-player.
Just a few kilometres away you’ll find several extremely pretty traditional villages which are well worth visiting: Kokkino Chorio, Vamos and Gavalochori with its two-roomed, vaulted 18th-century olive mill and the only Folk Museum in the area.
You can also visit Chania, just 23 km away, for a stroll around the town and a coffee at the wonderful Venetian harbour.
If you’re in the mood for exploring, you can head to Vamos and take the road to Xerosterni village and the traditional village of Litsarda, to see the lovely cave known as “Tou Dafne i Trypa” (Dafne’s Hole), a site of archaeological interest.
On the coast near Kokkino Chorio, 10 metres below sea level, is the impressive “Elephant Cave”, one of the major local sights.
Elephant Cave was discovered by accident by an amateur diver, shedding light on prehistoric Crete. The cave was found to contain prehistoric elephant bones, belonging to three adult and one baby elephant of the species Elephas chaniensis.
The cave also contained deer bones from both normal and dwarf deer, attracting the attention of scientists. According to them, the rapid increase in the numbers of agile deer reduced the food available to the large, lumbering elephants.
The underwater entrance to Elephant Cave is 30 m long. At the end of this tunnel, daring divers see a huge cave, measuring about 60 x 60 m, full of reddish stalagmites and stalactites indicating minerals rich in iron and aluminium. The air inside the cave is safe to breathe.