Small Town in Crete
is a small town counting only approx. 700 inhabitants and belonging to the prefecture of Rethymnon on the island of Crete. It is located some 30 kms South of the city, at 421 meters above sea level. The south shore is just behind the coastal mountains. The surroundings are composed of particularly exciting landscapes. Mt. Vorisis (878 meters) towers above Spili, and the town itself is said to be most picturesque.
Inside the town they have everything which makes a genuine Cretan small town complete: Shops, supermarkets, post and bank offices, grammar school and high school, churches, hairdresser, pharmacy, a Medical Center and even an episcopal palace. During the summer half-year, the suburban bus from Rethymnon to Aghia Galini (24 kms) touches Spili 5 times per day, and during the winter half-year 4 times.
In the town center, lifestyle is expressively relaxed. A Venetian style fountain with 25 water-spitting lionheads is the town's landmark, and there are even some old houses which originally remain from the Venetian era.
The name Spili comes from a cave in the neighbouring mountain (Greek "spileon" = cave) which is not developed for tourism but anyway allows exploration on one's own account. The closer surroundings suit excellently for hikes. One can find wild flowers and orchids, and frequently eagles and vultures can be seen.
As a basis for more extended excursions, Spili suits perfectly as well. In eastward direction via Gerakari, one can enter the Amari Valley with it's uncomparable landscape between the foothills of the Ida mountains, with the Antonios cave near Patsos, and with Minoan excavation sites at Thronos and Apodoulou.
Northwards, the town of Rethymnon offers vibrant tourism and a 17 kms long beach where all kinds of watersports are on offer. Westwards via Frati, one can pass the Kourtaliotiko Gorge towards the south coast. Do not miss to visit the small port village of Hora Sfakion, and the abandoned village of Aradena above.
The palm beach of Preveli is located there, and so are the villages of Plakias, Rodakino and Frangokastello and between them several other beaches of different types. For the duration of your holidays, a rental car hired at the airport e.g. from Eurocars will provide you with the mobility that is essential to visit all these places.
In southward direction there are the beaches of Kerames and Akoumia which have very fine sand but still not too many visitors, and the small town of Agia Galini with it's picturesque fishing-port. Who intends to hire a holiday villa will find a steadily increasing supply in this area. The excavation sites of Festos (Phaistos) and Gortys are not far away, and the caves by the beach of Matala are worth a side-trip as well.
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