Kolymbari, Crete

Kolymbari, Crete: Relaxation on one of the most  beautiful bays of Chania region

is a picturesque coastal village at the root of the

Rodopou peninsula in West Crete. Kolymbari is not as developed, regarding tourism, as other destinations in Crete. Hence, it is ideal for the visitor who wants quiet relaxation.

Kolymbari is about 25 kilometers to the west of Chania city. Getting there by car is easy, as the new national road is in very good condition. The village is home to about 1.000 permanent residents.

Some of the main occupations of the residents of Kolymbari are fishing and tourism. Also, the wines of Kolymbari are well-known in Chania.

Kolymbari, Crete – the beach and the bay

The scenic beach of Kolymbari is long, sandy, and ideal for swimming. By the beach, you can find nice taverns, cafés, and various shops. Kolymbari beach is ideal for leisurely sitting in a café in the evening, watching the sunset.

The bay of Kolymbari is very picturesque. The Kolymbari port has played a historical role in the history of Crete Island. This particular port was used by the Ottomans in 1645, when they arrived in Crete to occupy the island. In 1897, Kolymbari port was also the port used by the Greek army for its landing operation that finally led to the independence of Crete from the Ottoman Empire and to the island’s reunion with Greece.

Sights in and around Kolymbari, Crete

The most interesting sight in Kolymbari area is the Monastery of Panagia Odigitria, dedicated to Virgin Mary, which in Greek is known as Moni Gonias, or Monastery in the Corner, as it is situated at the western end of Kolymbari bay.

Moni Gonias was built in the 9th century and has taken an active part in the struggle of Chania and Crete for independence during the Ottoman occupation. For this reason, the monastery has been destroyed several times by the Ottomans. Nowadays, one can still find many centuries old manuscripts and books in the library of the Monastery, although a large part of these priceless books was unfortunately burned during a fire in 1867.

About 20 kilometers north of Kolymbari and in the Rodopou peninsula, lies the archaeological site of Diktina, a sacred ancient location, dedicated to the goddess Artemis Vritomartis, who was worshiped here from the 2nd Century BC until the Roman years. The road leading from Kolymbari to Diktina is unpaved and not in good condition, so you will need to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or a motorbike.

In the summer, the municipality of Kolymbari, Crete, organizes a series of local activities and feasts. A known local feast takes place in Moni Gonias, in the 15th of August, the day of the Virgin Mary in Greece. Another known local feast is celebrated on the 6th and 7th of October, in honor of the Saint Agios Ioannis Erimitis, at the homonymous cave close to the nearby village of Marathokefala.

Kolymbari is a place in West Crete that combines relaxation with a scenic landscape, and surroundings that are mostly untouched by tourism development. It’s certainly worth a visit when you are in Chania region.


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