Thru the hills to the chapel

There are so many lovely walks in the Apokoronas, in the foothills of the White Mountains in western Crete.  They follow dry stream beds winding thru gorges, or amongst the orange groves.  Everywhere in Crete is dotted with a white chapel, sometimes on the most inaccessible locations, so they can form an interesting end point to a walk. Here is one which you can walk from straight out of the door. It is visible from the gardens at the villa.

Nestling under the White Mountains from the Contemplation Bench in our gardens

What its like

Its a 1 1/2 hour walk on a mixture of good dirt tracks, concrete and tarmac lanes, so its an easy walk. After climbing thru shady vegetation eventually it reaches a pretty little white chapel in a beautiful setting with great views over the hills to the sea.  It returns thru a mountain village along a sleepy back road.

The Chapel

 After following a dirt track which winds up the foothills thru shady undergrowth, you pass a long disused football pitch – or was it a running track?

Football pitch or running track?!

Then up towards the little white chapel which you can see from the edge of the gardens. 

The Chapel from our gardens (at 50* magnification!)

Its worth the climb because the views from the chapel grounds are panoramic and spectacular, as far as the sea. 

Panoramic from the chapel grounds, note lighting! and toilets!!

Above all you can see the villa, perched on the top of the Chiliomoudou village hill!

The villa from the Chapel

Where to Start

It takes ten minutes or so to walk down from our house, or a couple of minutes in the car, you can park on the junction where the dirt track leaves the road.

Beautifully shady

The walk itself can take around one hour walking at a leisurely pace, but its worth spending some time up at the chapel.  Its good to make up a packed lunch which you can eat while you rest and enjoy in the shade of the plane trees in the grounds whilst taking in the views.

Refueling… Note the raki flask…

The White Chapel at the end of the Walk

The chapel is in a beautiful setting.  It was dedicated to Giorgos Matsamakis in 1909, whose family are a central part of Ramni, the nearest village. The family also own the dairy which makes delightful sheepsmilk yoghurt and fine Graviera. 

Lovely little bell tower

The inscription reads “Diligence”.  Inside the fittings are simple but moving, with incense burner, candles and pictures of Mary and saints.  The screen is a gift of Michalis Gelasakis of Tsakistra, the village on the next hill. 

Typical chapel interior

Getting back again

In order to get back, we turn towards “Upper Ramni” and come out onto the road back into the village, which slopes back down to the starting point of the walk. 

Sign to help identify the right road

Then, if you’re walking, it’s a bit of a slog back up to the villa, but there?s the consolation of two other churches to visit’

If you’d like to take it here is the route in pictures:

In addition a walking route on Google maps if you have a smartphone:

Panokosmos “on top of the world”

More about living in Crete

There is much more in our blogs. These show things to do in Crete, whether it be walking a gorge, hiking in the foothills of the White Mountains, or taking a drive to see the sites.  Chania is a great town to visit, particularly to go to the street markets, and of course you’ll want to get the benefits of the Cretan diet – be it the yoghurt and cheese, or the olive oil.

Street market in Chania

This Dream Villa

And if you would like to live in a place where you can see these, here is just the place. This is a dream villa which we designed and built 10 years ago and now reluctantly are ready to sell and move on. Its in the Apokoronas, in the west of the island, 35min drive from Chania, 50min from the international airport.