Short tour in the mainland
As you leave Platanias and drive on to the west, the road forks off to the left at the centre of Gerani village and, after about 3 kms, brings you to Loutraki, a village with a history going back to 1500 AD at least.
The road leading into the village is lined with huge eucalyptus trees but, in fact, the whole village, stretching from the road all the way to the hill top, is also covered in greenery- orange trees, olive trees, eucalyptus trees and many other specimens of the local flora.
The lower part of the village near the country road is the more traditional one while the houses near the top of the hill are more modern but also retaining the traditional style of the village. Many of these houses belong to Europeans who have chosen Loutraki as the best place for them to settle down in.
On 15th August every year the very active local Cultural Club holds a grand feast and celebration with delicious food, music and dancing till the early morning hours.
The road running along the north coast from Platanias to Maleme forks off to the left just before entering Maleme. Turn left and follow the road uphill which, after only 3 more kilometers brings you to Xamoudohori.
The houses of the village line up on both sides of the country road, “hugs” the hill top and goes off in the opposite direction, among green vineyards, olive groves and tall cypress trees, moving further south into the inland towards Syrili, Zounaki and Deres.
It is a most picturesque village, with a marvelous view of the northern coast of Platanias, a paradise for nature lovers, ideal for peace and relaxation.
Its residents cultivate olive trees and vineyards producing wonderful aromatic wine and extra virgin olive oil.
The traditional café in the centre of the village awaits you with local refreshments, coffee and the traditional raki.
The main church is situated on the north eastern side of the village. It is dedicated to Agios Ioannis Chrysostomos and is grandly celebrated on 13 November. In 1870, the first inhabitants of the village, regarding the church as too small and unaware of its archaeological value, tore it down and , in 1935, built the new church in its place.
For the past years Xamoudohori has steadily been expanding with modern homes being built constantly which attract many foreigners not only for holidays but also for their permanent residence.
When driving away from Platanias in the direction of Patelari , just a few metres after the intersection of the national road, you see road signs on the right directing you uphill to Modi. Built at an altitude of merely 80m it has a history dating back to ancient times when, on the very same spot, there was an ancient city called “Modea”. Proof of the existence of this city is provided by the ancient coins and the 7 sculpted tombs of the early geometrical era which were revealed by the excavations of 1953.
The more recent history of the village is full of struggles and fighting for liberty as well as massacres of its people, as was often the case during the German Occupation.
In spite of all this, the village “nesting” in the green scenery with the magnificent view of the underlying plain and the northern coast of the Platanias Municipality, is steadily developing and growing with an active Cultural Association, a Football and Gymnastics Association, a kindergarten, a doctor’s surgery and continuous construction of modern houses many of which have become homes of foreigners who have chosen the village to live permanently.
The huge village square, at the top of the hill, is dominated by the main church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, over 100 years old, where a grand feast is held on 6 August with delicious food, folk music and dancing. There are many more chapels in and around the village, some dating back to Venetian times. On a hill top, south to the square and the main church, accessible by car – or on foot if you are a nature lover- there stands the chapel of Agios Gerassimos, built in the hollow rock, celebrated on 20 October.
Modi is constantly developing and improving while retaining its traditional characteristics. It may not have huge hotels. However, it has the warm hospitality of its people, the relish of its top quality products- the extra virgin oil, the sweet wine and the aromatic citrus fruit. All these make the village very particular and your stay there unforgettable.
As we leave Bapiolos and Psathogiannos behind we follow the winding country road downhill through olive and orange groves. After approximately 3 kms. we reach a river lined with huge plane trees and dense local flora- the river flowing through one of the most beautiful villages of the Platanias inland :the village of Manoliopoulo.The village is also accessible from the northern side, from Gerani, from which it is about 8 kms.
The village itself is a monument of natural beauty since it is literally “swamped” in dense greenery comprising of century-old plane trees, olive trees aged over 400 and amazing paths for nature lovers. One of these paths is the one leading in the direction of Lagos and Skonizo which is already used for moto cross racing. A second route(Manoliopoulo- Apothikes-Koufos-Fournes-Agia)is very picturesque and is used for cycling.
Manoliopoulo, which, together with the nearby little village ,”Apothikes”, comprise one administrative unit, also has a rich history since the great majority of its inhabitants were slaughtered by the Turks and the whole village was burnt to ashes. The village we see today is built on the ruins of the original village . The main church , dedicated to Agios Antonios, is said to have been built on the bones of the inhabitants slaughtered by the Turks.
Every year on the 28th and 29th August a religious feast is organized to honour St John who was beheaded on that day. The traditional meal served on the day of the feast is octopus with macaroni because the legend has it that if anyone eats meat on that day he gets the shivers and becomes very ill. In fact , this particular Saint is called “Rigologos” meaning “the Saint who gives the shivers”.
The visitor can enjoy coffee , a beverage or even a delicious meal in one of the traditional cafes of the village while relaxing in the thick shade of the huge trees lining the village and the village square. This is a truly scenic and idyllic site cherished dearly by its people who try and distinguish it in every possible way through activities organized by its very active Cultural Club.
As you reach the centre of Tavronitis ,coming from the direction of Maleme, turn left and follow the road signs leading south towards Voukolies. Approximately 2 kms away the road forks off to the left again and brings you to a group of very small but beautiful villages- Syrili, Zounaki and Limni- scenic villages, “swamped” in greenery with amazing paths for nature lovers, ideal spots for relaxation and tranquility.
Follow the country road leading to the heart of the inland, through a route lined with orange groves, olive groves, walnut trees and huge plane trees and you come to Deres village. It is literally an oasis of the Platanias inland which, due to its natural beauty and its idyllic location, attracts many visitors especially on May Day, the feast of nature.
About 2 kms before entering the village there is a fork of the road leading to a private Riding Club where, apart from horse riding, you can also enjoy culinary delights and relax in the tranquility of the Cretan inland
A very impressive site, definitely worth a visit, is the chapel of Agia Kyriaki which is literally perched on the rocky hillside among the tall cypress trees on your left as you enter the village.
The road traversing Deres leads outside the village through many small settlements scattered on both sides. When reaching the exit of the village, turn right, drive uphill and you will find yourself in the mountainous villages of Platanias Municipality (Nea Roumata, Prasses, Sebronas, ) or, by turning left and driving downhill you come to Skines, Chliaro, Lagos. The whole itinerary we have just described
is the one followed by cyclists participating in the World Cycling Championship held in Platanias every May- the race includes almost all the inland villages, filling those taking part with awe at the beauty of the Cretan countryside.