Holidays in Kissamos or Kastelli
Practical information for holidays in Kissamos or Kastelli
Kissamos is a small town in Chania Prefecture, offering everything visitors might need.
If you're in Kissamos on holiday, you'll find:
- a Health Centre
- shops and tourist shops
- banks and cashpoints (ATM)
- a post office
- car and bike rental places
- foreign press outlets
- Internet cafés
Most of the shops are in Tzanakaki Square, Skalidi Street and Venizelou Square.
If you need a taxi in Kissamos, the main taxi rank is in Venizelou Square. The bus station is in Tzanakaki Square.
Hotels in Kissamos or Kastelli
You will find many hotels in Kissamos: small family hotels, furnished apartments and rooms for rent.
Most of these are on the east side of town, very near the sea, although there are also rooms for rent and smaller hotels in the town centre.
At the west end of the beach are the largest and perhaps slightly more expensive hotels, along with the Kissamos camping, which may be small but affords shade and facilities for your tent or caravan.
Restaurants, tavernas and bars in Kissamos
Most of the restaurants and tavernas in Kissamos are on the beach and in the pedestrian area.
This is also the nightlife centre during the summer months, as many of the cafés turn into tasteful bars and clubs in the evening.
Most of the restaurants and tavernas are in Venizelou Square and Tzanakaki Square, offering Cretan specialties such as Kissamos roast rabbit and the famous local wine.
Kissamos wine comes from a grape variety thought to have been brought here by the Venetians.
What to do on holiday in Kissamos or Kastelli
Kastelli or Kissamos is the ideal base for excursions in the beautiful and interesting Prefecture of Chania, particularly the south and west.
Enjoy a swim off the beaches in Kissamos itself or a short distance to east and west of the town.
You can visit Falassarna Beach and the site of the ancient city there. Falassarna beach, with its wonderful sea and huge length, is considered one of the best in Europe.
Polyrrinia is another ancient city you must definitely visit. Kissamos was once the harbour of powerful Polyrrinia or Polyrrhenia. The remains of the ancient acropolis survive on a hilltop above the village of the same name, about 7 kilometres from Kastelli. There are daily buses there.
A daytrip to Gramvoussa and Balos is something else you mustn't miss if you're staying in Kastelli. There are little boats to Gramvoussa from the harbour outside town. The local tourist bureaux can provide information on departure and return times and ticket costs. The trip takes 55 minutes and there are daily boat trips from April to October.
If you have a car, you can visit Balos Beach by taking the dirt track after the village of Kalyviani, a little outside Kissamos.
Elafonissi with its lovely pink sand is one of the most famous beaches in Crete. It's well worth a visit, in spite of the fact that it's a very popular and very crowded. Try to get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crush.
Monastery of Chryssoskalitissa
If you're heading to Elafonissi, take the time to see Chryssoskalitissa Monastery, the "Monastery of the Golden Step", at Stomio. The monastery is named after the legendary golden step in the long stairs leading up to it, supposedly only visible to the pure of soul.
There are several monasteries and pretty churches to visit near Kissamos: Gonia Monastery at Kolymbari, the Monastery of St John the Hermit at Spilia, the female Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi (the "Fount of Life") at Kastelli, and the Monastery of Our Lady at Tilifos are the best known.
If you are a keen hiker, Kastelli is the ideal base for lovely, picturesque walks, and also hikes down gorges. The 1,500-m.-long Topolia Gorge is one example. It has very high, sheer cliffs with many caves.
The best-known cave near Kissamos is the Cave of Agia Sophia, full of twisted stalagmites and stalactites. Neolithic pottery sherds have also been found there.
The Sirikari Gorge is also quite famous, running from the village of Sirikari down to Polyrrinia, about a 3-hour walk. It is particularly beautiful, with rich plant and animal life.
Another well-known gorge near Kissamos is the Keramari Gorge, the entrance to the traditional village of "Milia".
Kastelli is only a short distance away from many traditional villages, such as Kalathenes with the Venetian villa known as the "Rotonda", Nopigia with its lovely, ancient stone theatre, and Drapanias.
In Kissamos is the Eirinaios Galanakis Foundation, housing the newly-established Eirinaios Museum, dedicated to Metropolitan Bishop Eirinaios Galanakis, a leading figure of the Cretan Church.
Eirinaios Galanakis is one of the most brilliant personalities of the Orthodox Church, who has engaged in many cultural and humanitarian works, both in Kissamos and in Germany, where he served as Metropolitan.
You must also visit the Kissamos Archaeological Museum which opened in Tzanakaki Square in 2006, to admire the wonderful finds from the town of Kissamos and Polyrrinia, and the fragments of clay tablets bearing inscriptions in Linear A.
The museum also houses the clay seal impression known as the "Master Impression", depicting a multi-storeyed building in a rocky coastal landscape.
In Canevaro Street you can see excavated sections of two streets, a square and four houses.