Spili – Agia Galini

Spili is a picturesque village located 30 km south of Rethymnon, at the foot of a small mountain, an extension of the well known mountain Kedros. The village’s name is probably due to the “cave” sight, one sees from there. The drive from Rethymno to Spili contains places of unique beauty … Before the village, 9 km after Rethymnon, there is the most spectacular of all the Minoan cemeteries in Crete, the Minoan Cemetery of Armeni, with more than 300 carved tombs (most “not looted”), which are worth visiting. Continuing south after 20 minutes, we arrive at Spili, overgrown, with abundant water and many old churches with frescoes, (St Theodore, St George, the Church of Christ, the Church of Our Lady). It is worth walking the uphill cobbled streets in the upper neighbourhood, where are retained and still inhabited the stone mansions of the village. In one of these mansions was born Thanassis Skordalos, one of the largest lyrists and teacher of Cretan music.   Agia Galini is located 61km southeast of Rethymno and 68 km southwest of Heraklion, on the south coast about the middle of the island. With the odd but fitting name, is a labyrinthine small village, amphitheatrically built, with white houses, surrounded by three mountains, Mount Asideroto, the Kedros and Psiloreitis, opens to a picturesque harbor which is very vibrant and very busy during the summer months. The small and old houses of the village appears to squeezed by bigger apartments springing up now in the region, and hotels which try to cover the increased accommodation needs for visitors. Agia Galini is famous tourist place with good beach, one of the first places to develop for tourists in southern Crete. What makes Agia Galini special is the amphitheatric arrangement of the houses, which offers great views of the harbor and the bay of Messara, while equally beautiful is the view from the port to the village standing on the hill, especially at late afternoon and at night.