Crete travel guide

Paleochora or Palaiochora, the Bride of Western Crete

paleochora on crete mapPaleochora is located 77 kilometres south of Chania in south-western Crete.

The town of Paleochora is built on a long, narrow peninsula that stretches into the Libyan Sea on the south side of Crete, and offers, among other things, a different beach on either side: sandy to the west. pebbly to the east.

Paleochora is a place of sparkling appeal with such an abundance of gifts that it’s called the Bride of the Libyan Sea.

What you will find in Paleochora

paleochora panoramic image

In Paleochora you’ll find small hotels, rooms and apartments for rent, and two campsites.

The first camping site in Paleochora is at the east end of Halikia beach, while the second is at Grammeno, about 4 kilometres west of the town.

There are also many restaurants and tavernas, a few bars and cafés, an open-air cinema, a supermarket, a bakery, souvenir shops, a bank, cashpoint machines, taxis, hire cars and anything else you may need on your holidays.

Paleochora is ideal for all sorts of holiday, especially those involving outdoor activities such as swimming, windsurfing, fishing, scuba diving and hiking.

There is some nightlife in Paleochora but it’s definitely not a hopping place like Platanias, Hersonissos and Malia.

bougainvillea in a house at paleochora

What makes Paleochora special

Capturing your attention are Paleochora’s enchanting whitewashed houses draped in oleander and bougainvillea, her pretty pathways and streets with cosy cafés sporting decorative facades, and above all, her gorgeous tree-lined ‘urban boardwalk’ lit by lovely wrought iron street lanterns.

Paleochora has 2,000 permanent residents who held a town meeting years ago; they unanimously decided it was their job to keep all tourists happy. (That’s the going joke).

So successful are they at this, they treat tourists like special guests attending the star bride’s wedding feast – and it’s a perpetual one!

taverna in paleochoraPaleochora’s atmosphere is akin to a grand swimming pool party, but here, the pool is the Libyan Sea. Everyone jump in!

So what makes Paleochora the bride of western Crete?

All this, plus the rapturous views that giftwrap Paleochora on three sides, seductively revealing the many layers of the bride’s crinoline: the temptations of the town itself, the heavenly assortment of beaches and the wild wonders beyond.

The rival of her coastal counterparts, Paleochora is unbeatable; she’s a real catch. It would seem the entire world wishes to behold Paleochora, bride of the Libyan Sea.


How to Get to Paleochora

From Chania to Paleochora by bus: Paleochora is located 77 kilometres south of Chania. Buses to Paleochora leave from Chania four times a day: 5:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 12:15 p.m. 16:00 p.m.

The bus trip takes two hours, and passes through a dozen unique villages - the most historical being Floria and Kandanos, whose inhabitants were martyred by the Germans in retaliation for their heroic collective resistance and individual courageous acts.

From Heraklion to Paleochora by bus via Chania:It takes 3 hours to get to Chania from Heraklion. Buses leave every hour starting at 5:30 a.m. until 7: 30 p.m., then at 8: 00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The itinerary includes a stop at Rethymnon. At Chania you change buses to Paleochora, so the whole trip will take 5 hours if you’re lucky and catch a bus leaving for Paleochora at once.
The same trip by rented car takes about 3.5 hours not counting any stops.

From Chania Airport or Souda Port to Paleochora. In both cases you need to take a bus or taxi to the centre of Chania and the main KTEL bus station.

Alternatively, you can rent a car and ask for it to be delivered to the airport at Akrotiri or Souda Port. With a good map you won’t have any trouble finding the road to Paleochora and getting there quickly and easily. You’ll need a hire car anyway, to explore the area and the many beaches extending across the 18 kilometres of coastline east and west of the town.

Getting into the Paleochora Groove

Getting into the Paleochora groove is as easy as lying on your back and staring out at the heavenly blueat paleochora beach skies. That’s what the hippies did when they first arrived in the 60’s.

But getting sunburnt wasn’t groovy, so they took to the streets, began creating clever crafts and sold them to any Tom, Dick and Kostas who would buy them. They sure lucked in.

Paleochora’s hospitality proved addictive, so many hippies along with rugged individualists stayed on - even built homes here.

Today, an incredibly warm feeling of acceptance puts Paleochora high up on the altar. Everyone holds her in esteem.

She’s a beautiful bride with open arms – big enough to embrace us all. Her groove of hippy hominess, humanity and humour hums happily night and day. Local liveliness makes this bopping bride the grooviest gal of all. What more could you want? Crazy fun, peaceful pleasures and mind boggling attractions. Getting into the Paleochora groove is the greatest sensation – certainly in all of Crete - some say in all of Greece!

* Article by Nancy Snipper - Copyright 2009


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