The village of Spilia is named after the Cave of AI-Yiannis Erimiti which is to be found in the west part of the village on the hill above the Villa (1 km away), on an impressive site of great historical importance and exceptional views of the olives groves, the sea and the White Mountains. The Cave of St John the Hermit looks like an oblong arcade. Its length is about 135 meters and the scientists believe that it is essentially a prehistoric river bed.
The church of Archangel Michael is one of the finest Byzantine monuments located at village Episkopi, (4 km away from the Villa), where it operated as a diocese (Episkopi) during the second Byzantine Period.
The church is best known as Rotonda as it has circular mastoid dome, like the temple of the Rotunda in Thessaloniki. There is still only a third temple of that type in the Balkans. This Rotonda dates back from the 6th century and its floor is decorated with mosaics with various plant, animal and geometric representations.
A few meters away from the Villa in the upper square of Spilia, there is a Spring and the dense vegetation of extremely high Plane Trees, that are centuries old. Under the trees is a very pleasant and locally run taverna Ta Platanias (the plane trees at the cave) offering traditional food from mid of April till end of September.
In the center of Spilia village there is a new local tavern, Plateia (village square) where you can find local Cretan dishes , you can also enjoy a greek or Italian style coffee, or just talk with locals. They are open all day, every day.
Kolimvari beach (5 minutes drive from the Villa) is organized and stretches for several kilometers. It has deep wavy waters, as do almost all the beaches of northern Crete. Although the coast is mostly sandy, in some places you will find small pebbles. On Kolimvari beach you will enjoy crystal clear waters, where you can play and sunbathe under the magnificent view of the green cliffs. Take care, when you enter into the sea, and choose the best entrance.
The place is famous for local people, especially for seafood. We can just mention Diktina and Argentina which are my favourites for excellent fish.Afrata is a beautiful village, about 6 km north of Kolymbari .The village and its picturesque beach are located in Rodopou peninsula, which is protected by the Natura 2000 network and is an area of unique natural beauty and environmental value. The beach is 1 km from the village in a small sheltered bay. There, you will find a tavern (from mid April till end of September) with umbrellas and sunbeds as well as tamarisk trees for shade by the sea. There are also 2 famous taverns on the hill in the center of the village.The beach is pebbly and the sea is ideal for snorkeling. As well as the beauty, Afrata has the big advantage that is protected from the Westerly wind.
Deliana: The village lies at the beginning of the Deliana Gorge, which is the beginning of a hike surrounded by high cliffs and unspoiled Cretan nature. There are interesting flowers and herbs in this gorge, which is easy to walk. There are also plenty of sheep, goats and buzzards. Before the road to the gorge on the left hand side in the village there is the small church of St John the Theologian, where you can have a rest in the shade of the cypress trees that surround it. There are also 2 great traditional local taverns in the village we can also suggest. To Faragi.
Falassarna (one of my favourites)
Falassarna is a long sandy beach with wonderful sunsets. It has been voted for Best Beach of Greece. There are several beaches in the Falassarna bay: There are many exits to the beach. I prefer the last one just before the road is being destroyed. There is a snack bar named Orange blue. It has a really grate view. The sunset at Falassarna is amazing, you need to enjpoy it! There is a tavern named Spilios ,where you can eat traditional food (meat food or seafood) with grate sunset view.
Balos Lagoon is one of the best beaches all over Greece consisting of white-pinkish sand and broken sea-shells.The water in the lagoon is very shallow and warm but the seabed is muddy and sometimes it can be a bit smelly. There is a primitive cafe here if you fancy a cold frappe coffee or a beer.People occasionally camp here but there are no trees and no shade. Unfortunately there is a tar problem, so be careful of where you step.You may also swim out of the lagoon. The water is deep, crystal-clear, much colder and good for snorkelling.
Elafonissi beach is one of the prettiest beaches in the west coast of Crete and Pinkish sand, very shallow water and really crowded till 16:00 when the tourist buses depart. This is the time to enjoy the beach of Elafonissi.Wait till the sunset and have your camera loaded and ready.
Don’t forget!!!The best part of the place is to pass to the island (you can – the water is not so much) and walk. At the back side of the island there are no umbrellas but the sand is pink and the water better than the classic side where more tourists go. So walk for 10 minutes it is worth it!!This is another favourite place!!
3.1 Kedrodasos (i.e. cedar forest) is an amazing beach, located 1km east of the famous Elafonissi lagoon. The beach is filled with juniper trees (mistakenly confused with cedars) and sanddunes, reminiscent of tropical Lebanese beaches.
The biggest village of South Crete. Many beaches, many taverns, a lot of choices
For me one of the best beaches (not so famous and touristic) is Gialiskari,which is situated at the East part of the village a few km away from Palaiochora. You can follow the directions to the camping of Palaiochora and then to continue 1-2 km to find the beach. For food you can go to the village Anidroi at a very traditional tavern named Sholeio. Other great options is to go at Grammeno or Krios beach (Western part).