Discover a Cretan village - Stylos high street
Crowds in Stylos village

Stylos is a bit of a forgotten place. Its in the midst of the Apokoronas, but overshadowed by Kalyves, about 5 km away.  Discover a Cretan village here in Stylos. Amidst the shade of plane trees, the running water of the Koliaris river, you can get a feel for rural life in Crete. 

Koliaris river flows thru the park
Tributary of the Koliaris River

The village has an authentic Cretan character. This is because there’s a  mix of old stone houses, more modern concrete structures, bougainvillea and jasmine. 

Mix of buildings in Stylos centre
Stylos centre

Byzantine Church

The old Byzantine church of St John towers over the village centre. Its from a similar era to the Agios Nicolaos church outside Kyriakoselia. Its flanked on the other side by the plant which bottles the Samaria water. The same source as our water at Panokosmos!   

Byzantine architecture in St Johns Church
St Johns Church

The Koliaris waters feed fountains too, just outside the taverna Moustakies – the “Whiskers” of Google maps fame! – named apparently after the splendid moustache of the owner.

Stylos fountains
Fountains near to Moustakies

In the grounds of the church is a huge fossil sea cow from the Pleistocene era, 3 million years ago.  Very well preserved skeleton, its an ancestor of the manatees, and was discovered whilst widening the road.

Sea cow fossil from 3 million years ago
Pleistocene fossil in the church grounds

Tavernas in the Village

There are many tavernas and cafes in the village, our favourites being Treis Filoi kai O Cook.  Its run by three friends and their chef is from Thessaloniki.  The food has these influences which makes for some subtle changes from the local Cretan cuisine. 

Discover Pissas taverna in a Cretan village
Pissas Taverna

Almost opposite this is Pissas, where the family of the butcher have for the last 6 years run a taverna.  Because much of the outside space is on the edge of the newly developed park of the village, this has lovely shade and cool breezes.

Tables in the shade of the plane trees at Pissas
Tables in the shade of the plane trees

  Due to this as you could imagine, the meat here is the principal attraction – biggest pork chops you ever saw!, and tasty lamb.  They do charcoal barbecue with meat on the spit, its well frequented by the locals.

Discover a Cretan village in the Park at Stylos
The Park at Stylos

Stylos in WW2

It seems hard to imagine as you sit drinking your beer in this pleasant quiet and sleepy environment that Stylos was the scene of fierce fighting in the second World War.  Australian and New Zealand forces held up the advance of the invading German army, in order to enable allied troops to escape to Sfakia and the south.  Some of these troops were hidden at great risk by the villagers.

Discover a Cretan village - here the Minoan tomb
Entrance ot the Tholos

In Minoan Times

Yes, there is more to discover in a Cretan village! Closeby the village, up the hill towards Megala Chorafia, is the site of a Minoan settlement.  There’s a well preserved tholos tomb, nearly 5 metres in height, with perfectly cut huge stone blocks making a perfect circular structure. 

Stone blocks in the entrance to the tomb
Massive stone blocks in the entrance

Maybe this was a burial site of an important Minoan ruler in the late Minoan period (1400 BC).  Get in by walking the 20 metre long dromos, which drops down from ground level, flanked by stone walls.  The site is marked from the road, in an olive grove. 

Path from the road to the tomb
Path from the road

Its not obvious where is the tholos – enter the site (tho padlocked, the key is conveniently hung on a chain next to the padlock!) after that keep left up the hill. 

Cretan security - the padlock has its key on a chain, attached!
Cretan security

Take the second track off to the right, and the tomb entrance is 30 metres or so on the left hand side.

Route to the tomb thru the olive grove
Keep left, second right

Nearby via another marked entrance is the rest of the settlement, where the foundation of a pottery kiln is visible, surrounded by a fence and roofed over.  This area may have been the main site of Aptera which was an important town in the Minoan era.

Minoan kiln in the ruined settlement
Minoan kiln in the ruined settlement

Discover a Cretan village – Stay at Panokosmos!

Stylos has a special significance for Panokosmos – at about 12min drive its our nearest village with shops and tavernas, when we come “off the hill” of Xiliomoudou.

Panokosmos - the luxury of a first class hotel, the intimacy of a private villa, the atmosphere of staying with friends.  What a way to discover a Cretan village!
Panokosmos – the luxury of a first class hotel, the intimacy of a private villa, the atmosphere of staying with friends

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.