Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean. Over three thousand years ago, it was the centre of Minoan civilisation, the oldest in Europe. Today, visitors flock from all over the world to marvel at Minoan monuments and to experience the Cretan countryside’s stunning natural wonders, such as its ancient olive groves; glistening white sandy beaches; wild gorges, valleys and high mountain peaks.
”Whoever sets foot on this island feels a mysterious force, warm and benevolent, begin to flow through their veins and enlarge their soul.”
- Nikos Kazantzakis
Georgioupolis belongs to the municipality of Apokoronas in the prefecture of Hania, Crete. It is located at the beginning of the longest beach on the island, overlooking a scenic bay at the juncture of a eucalyptus-lined river valley that leads inland through lush greenery and ideal hills for hiking.
A relatively short distance away are the small cities of Hania (35 km. to the west) and Rethymnon (22 km. to the east), with their castles and picturesque old city centres. Georgioupolis, situated roughly halfway between these two bustling towns, is in a wonderfully peaceful location and makes a perfect basecamp for those wishing to explore the island.
Lake Kournas (Korissia) is the only natural freshwater lake in Crete and is a protected nature reserve belonging to the Natura 2000 network. It is located close to the village of Kournas, 2.5 km. southeast of Georgioupolis, 43 km. east of Hania, 20 km. west of Rethymnon and only 6.5 km. from our hotel.
Beautiful little forest roads lead to the lake, and the footpaths around its shores entice visitors to walk and explore. During the summer months, one can rent a pedal boat as well as sunbeds and umbrellas on the lake’s sandy beach.
Besides the various birds and waterfowl, such as ducks, geese, swans and herons, one can also see harmless water snakes and small turtles.
Rethymnon combines a rare mix of qualities: the charm and history of its “old town” – with a beautiful beach for swimming. And even though it is the third largest city in Crete, it doesn’t feel at all like a city the way Hania or Heraklion do. It has kept its provincial character: things move slowly here, and, more important, it has preserved its Venetian and Turkish buildings and atmosphere. A visit to Rethymnon’s famous castle, the Fortezza, will inspire you with images from another era, and for a little while at least you will feel a part of its history.
In the old town you will discover more than just culture and history; in the winding cobblestone streets and alleys you will find many different kinds of shops, and along the edge of the old Venetian harbor the fish tavernas are exceptional.
The second largest city in Crete is Chania, located in the northwestern part of the island. The city’s splendid setting and rich history, the picturesque nearby villages and exotic beaches – all combine to leave a powerful impression on its visitors. One of Greece’s most beautiful and charming cities, Hania is also a paradise for those who appreciate great food. Take a stroll through the winding streets of the old quarter; visit a museum, or just admire the wonderful old buildings, which comprise one of the most interesting collections of Ottoman and Venetian architecture anywhere in the world – thanks to the city’s complicated history of occupation by different Mediterranean powers throughout history.
Any visitor to Chania is eventually and irresistibly drawn to the old Venetian harbour – with its working lighthouse and its countless cafés, tavernas, bars and restaurants. The cultural scene is enlivened by the city’s numerous museums and galleries, the lively “Agora” marketplace, the harbour’s impressive stone arsenals and defensive works – and so much more to experience and explore.