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 is visible from our gardens at Panokosmos.

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

What its like

Its a one 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 we can see from the edge of our 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 Panokosmos, perched on the top of the Xiliomoudou village hill!

Panokosmos 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.  We often make up a packed lunch so that our guests can rest and enjoy in the shade of the plane trees in the grounds whilst taking in the views.

Our packed lunch, with overstuffed home baked rolls. 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

This is one of the stops on another walk – the “five villages” that we like to do.

Our turning by turning directions for the Five Villages walk

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 Panokosmos, 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:

 Finally if you want to be ideally situated to go on it, come stay at Panokosmos!

Panokosmos “on top of the world”

Lots more to see and do…

In any case for your holiday in Crete you might like to look at our blogs which 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 sitesChania 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.