Around Paleochora there are several hikes, some of which can be done directly from Paleochora and some in connection with boat and bus.
From Sougia to Paleochora
You take the ferry from Paleochora to Sougia in the morning. The trip takes about 45 minutes. In Sougia you can either have a breakfast coffee or go straight to the entrance of the Lissos Gorge.
After about 30 – 45 minutes you will reach the Kandouni plateau. Following a small path between thyme bushes you reach the descent to the ruins of Lissos. The descent is steep and requires good footing.
As a reward, a cool spring of drinking water awaits and invites you to take a short rest in the shade of the trees.
This is followed by another occasionally steep ascent, which again leads to a plateau. After passing the plateau, the path leads up a steep slope and down to the sea to a beautiful little bay. The rest of the trail to Gialiskari beach is more leisurely walking.
At Gialiskari beach there are two small beach bars with food and refreshments. From there it is a one hour walk along the sea to Paleochora.
For the whole distance you need about six hours.
From Paleochora to Elafonisi
In order not to have to walk the first kilometers of this hike on the asphalt road, it is recommended to take the bus at seven in the morning to Krios Beach(Kondoura).
From Krios Beach the path is marked with the yellow-black E4 hiking mark.
After a first short ascent, the path goes down to a beautiful quiet and small bay. For the following parts surefootedness is absolutely necessary.
For the next 45 minutes you will walk steadily uphill and you will have a first view of Elafonisi from the top of the hill. The trail continues to the Agios Ioannis chapel, about 30 minutes away, where you can refresh yourself with spring water.
From there the path continues along steep slopes that drop to the coast. After this challenging stretch, the path goes back down to the sea. Several rocky bays must be crossed, which always offer beautiful swimming opportunities. Afterwards you walk through cedar and juniper groves before you reach the edge of Elafonisi.
Since you need no more than 3.5 – 4 hours for the entire route, there is still enough time for swimming in Elafonisi, until it then goes back to Paleochora by bus at 16.00!
Hike to the Chapel of the Prophet Elijah
Drive to the mountain village of Anidri by car and from there, past the old school (Kafenion) walk in the direction of Anidri Beach. After a short distance you come to a fork, where you turn left to Anidri Beach and right to the chapel, which is also written on a small wooden sign.
The ascent takes about 30 – 45 minutes and is easy to walk. At the chapel, which was renovated in 2020, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Anidri and down to the sea.
If you are not tired of hiking yet, you can continue on the marked hiking trail to Paleochora. Start right behind the chapel and walk down a small gorge, which is a bit steep in places. Immediately after, the trail continues with a long climb until you see Paleochora in front of you after about 30 minutes. Continue following the markings (orange), sometimes up, sometimes down and always Paleochora in front of you. After about 60 – 80 minutes total walking time (depending on the pace) you reach the Olivetree Cottages and from there you can walk back on the asphalt road to Anidri.
From Anidri to Azogires
This extremely beautiful hike is absolutely worthwhile for two reasons. On the one hand, you are gifted with completely different landscapes and on the other hand, you meet the owner Lucky in Azogires in the Cafe Alfa, who not only always has a smile and a joke ready, but also an inexhaustible knowledge about the history of this area.
In Anidri you pass the Kafenion Sto Scolio, on the left hand side there are some big garbage bins. Immediately after the second garbage station, turn left up the hill. For the first part of the way, always follow the signs for Caminada, a vacation home. Immediately after the Caminada, a wooden signpost on the right already points to the path of the Azogires trail. The path goes uphill for a bit until you reach a gate behind which there is a large square overlooking the sea. After crossing the square, you will come to another gate and after about 200 meters you will be able to see the course of the Parkos from the hiking trail. Due to the installation of a wooden gate in the fence, it is also possible to enter the parko through the hiking trail.
The path continues, always uphill, passing an old ruin and always with a view of Azogires. Barren rocky landscape and shady forests alternate. Again some gates are passed until you finally pass the monastery of the 99 holy fathers and reach the waterfalls. From there it is only a few minutes up to the village, where you can recover from the hike with a cool drink in the Cafe Alfa.
The way back is the same and in Anidri it is a “must” to reward yourself with excellent food and a wonderful delta view to the sea in the Kafenion.
Per way you need about 90 minutes!
Hike through the Anidri Gorge
The starting point of this hike is the Kafenion Sto Scolio in Anidri. The path passes a few houses and a chapel on the right side of the tavern. After a few minutes you can already see a wooden sign on a tree with the inscription “tot he beach”. Following this direction, after a few minutes you will reach the entrance to the gorge. Walking alternates again and again with a few climbing passages. To the right and to the left, rock walls rise up and embed the gorge in a wonderful silence and stillness. After about 45 minutes you reach the beach and find cool refreshments in the two taverns located there. Depending on your mood, you can either jump into the cool water at a sandy beach or a stone beach.
Back to Anidri it goes the same way again. With good food in the Kafenion you can end the day pleasantly.
Experience nature on the back of a horse
If you don’t want to experience the nature by hiking, you have the possibility to make riding tours with Maria Mylidaki.
Single riding lessons are possible, as well as excursions to Gialiskari Beach and Anidri.
More detailed route descriptions can be found on Maria’s website: http://horsespaleochora.gr/
Forest and nature school
For children a special experience is the nature school, which is located on the road between Paleohora and Anidri.
From Paleohora you drive towards Anidri, about 300 meters after the turnoff to Anidri Beach you will see a wooden sign on the right side of the road with the inscription of the nature school.
Children can have a great time here with all that the forest and nature have to offer.
More details can be found on the website: http://driadesforest.weebly.com
Artists living in and around Paleohora have created the ” Paleochora Art week” in 2015. Behind the idea of the Art Week is the desire of the artists to bring art to the people. In the meantime, it has become an integral part of the art scene in Paleochora and takes place once a year for several days. Also worth mentioning is the great children’s program, which is offered in various workshops.
The artists exhibit their works on the stone beach, in cafes, bars and taverns.
A co-initiator of the Art Week is the Austrian Gerhard Stelzhammer, who has built a beautiful sculpture garden on the road to Anidri, which is also open to visitors.
Art Flow Gallery
In June 2017, the Italian Claudia Boldura has fulfilled a big dream with the opening of a small gallery.
There are always vernissages, but also otherwise the various works of art can be viewed. The gallery is located near the ferry dock, next to the pet store and visavis the Vakakis bakery.
The Acritans of Europe Museum
Is a unique ethnographic museum in the world. With its exhibits and educational materials it proves the common cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe.
It is located in a small street behind the restaurant “Third Eye”, near the sandy beach.
Here you can find contact information and current opening hours
Music in Paleochora
In and around Paleochora live many musicians who perform their music in the streets or in taverns and cafes. From rembeto music to wild Cretan music to bouzouki music and modern music, everything can be heard.
A special musical treat is the music of Evi Gavriilidou and Giorgos Papazoglou of “Rainbow Touch”, who provided musical accompaniment for the opening of Parkos 2019.
You can hear them live every Tuesday and Friday from about 21.00 in Giorgos Kafenion (diagonally visavis from the old townhall).
A small taste of their music can be found on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-XUYXlbkSQ_hCtNgKu-duA/videos
In and around Paleochora there are countless taverns, kafenions and bars, which of course we can not list all here. However, we want to name a few that we personally like to visit.
Basically, there are many ways to indulge in a good breakfast, but there are two places we would like to recommend in particular.
The “Manto” breakfast cafe with a great buffet full of regional food. Homemade jams and typical Cretan cakes complete the offer. The Manto is located a few houses after the bus station on the road towards Chania.
The cafe “Almyrida” also offers varied breakfast with a wonderful view of the sea.
The cafe is located on the stony beach, a few hundred meters west of the harbor and can be reached via a staircase from the street, or via the parallel street at ground level.
If you feel like a coffee or a cool beer in between, you will find small bars and cafes everywhere to linger, such as the “Agios Bar”, the “Coconut Bar”, the cafe “Cosmogonia”, which are all very centrally located and invite you to linger and observe.
For the greater hunger we can also recommend some taverns, which we ourselves also like to visit. But there are countless taverns in and around Paleochora and there is certainly something for every taste.
In Anidri, the “Old School” run by Simone and Christo is an absolute “must”! You linger in a beautiful garden under a 300 year old olive tree with a view (not from every table) of the Libyan sea. The dishes, which are prepared daily with homegrown vegetables and fresh herbs, make the heart beat faster for the Mediterranean cuisine.
Absolutely delicious and typical Cretan-Greek cuisine. Daniela, the owner, always has a smile on her lips and gives excellent advice about the different dishes even to the uninformed.
The Seagull can be found on the harbor promenade.
This tavern is not only recommended for its very good food, but also for its excellent coffee, as the beans are always freshly roasted in its own roastery.
You can find it on the sandy beach, opposite the kiosk.
Also traditional Cretan cuisine and fresh fish can be found in this tavern. It is located in the direction of the Gavdos quarter, just past the cab office about 100 meters, then on the left side.
Located at the far end of the stone beach, taverna with a beautiful view of the sea and an in-house small pebble beach with sunbeds and umbrellas.
The menu is very extensive and includes delicacies such as octopus in red wine sauce.
Just before the church turn left into a small side street after about 100 meters is the Pantelis, which serves delicious fresh fish and typical Cretan dishes.
As with the tavernas, there are countless possibilities to find accommodation in and around Paleochora in a wide range of price categories. It is best to look on tripadvisor or booking.com.
However, we would like to mention a few, because we either have good contacts to the operators ourselves, or guests of ours have already had very good experiences.
If you want to have an accommodation near the Parko and also want it a bit quieter, we can recommend three very good options in Anidri.
Crete Time Out
Directly on the way to Parko located vacation home in an absolutely quiet location with views of the mountains and the sea. If you are looking for peace and quiet to recharge your batteries, this 70 m2 vacation home is the right place for you. The house is very lovingly and comfortably furnished. From the house you can walk to Parko in about 10 minutes.
Also in a quiet location and only 10 minutes from the Parko you will find the Caminada. It is located on the road to the Azogires trail, just before the junction from the road to the trail. Here, too, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding area. More detailed information about the Caminada can be found on their Facebook page or on airbnb!
Also located in Anidri, but no longer so close to the Parko. Christo and Simone offer six cottages in absolute tranquility located in an olive grove and with a fantastic view of the Lybian more.
If you don’t want to be so quiet and rather close to the sea, you will find it in Paleochora.
Hotel Pal Beach
Directly on the sandy beach with fantastic sea view. Very friendly service.
This hotel is located right next to Pal Beach. Also a fantastic view directly to the sea.
Also only 50 meters from the sandy beach with very colorful rooms and a pool and courtyard. The hotel is especially popular with families with children.
The Manto has seven apartments and studios, all decorated differently with very artistic painting. The house includes the, already mentioned, breakfast buffet.
Hotel located only two minutes from the stone beach in a quiet area with very large and comfortable apartments.