Gavalohori (Γαβαλοχώρι) is an idyllic traditional village on Cape Drapano in the Vamos municipality of the Apokoronas region of Crete.
“I knew that no matter what door you knock on in a Cretan village, it will be opened for you. A meal will be served in your honor, and you will sleep between the best sheets in the house. In Crete, the stranger is still the unknown god. Before him, all doors and all hearts are opened.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
Named for the Gavalas family of Venetian times, has particularly interesting and well-preserved folk architecture. Situated about 25 km east of Chania, Gavalohori is a protected traditional village with numerous 18th-century and earlier buildings, temples, and many residences. The village is nestled in a lovely green, wooded gorge that runs 3.5 km toward the sea at Almyrida.
Visitors will find fascinating the Historical and Folklore Museum of Gavalohori. Located in a renovated Venetian building, the museum is all about traditional Crete customs, art, and architecture. The building, of the style kamarospito, is home to countless wonderful heirlooms including fabrics, clothing, pottery, paintings, weapons, stone artifacts, and wood handicrafts from days gone by.
Gavalohori is also renowned for the work of its women’s cooperative. The ladies of this picturesque little hamlet work tirelessly to keep ancient Cretan traditions alive, including the manufacture of handmade lace, silk, pottery, and honey.
There are wonderful shops, taverns, cafes, a pastry shop, a graphic design studio, a bakery, and three grocery stores, plus a handicrafts shop in the village. Nearby there are 14 Greek Orthodox churches, not to mention countless Venetian, and Roman tombs, and much more within hiking/walking distance of the village center.
Also in the area, the Church of Saint Paul at Apokoronas is something you won’t want to miss. History lovers will also want to visit the Aptera Minoan archaeological site, the natural beauty around Stilos Village, Gavaliana Wells, and perhaps even rising horseback along the Cretan Sea at Georgioupoli. There’s a lot more to see and do at Kalyves and other nearby villages, as well.
Finally, Gavalohori is a haven for curative experiences such as art and yoga therapy retreats, plus countless nature experiences to be had in the verdant outdoors surrounding the town. Suggestions for dining include Taverna Arismari, and Gavalianos Kafeneos (Monica’s taverna). For accommodations, there are so many to suit any expectations nearby, but the close favorites include the wonderfully traditional Bleverde suites and the stylish Artful Retreats.
“Love of liberty, the refusal to accept your soul’s enslavement, not even in exchange for paradise; stalwart games over and above love and pain, over and above death; smashing even the most sacrosant of the molds when they are unable to contain you any longer – these are the great cries of Crete.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
For more information, we suggest readers visit the official site of the village, Cretan Beaches, The Cultural Association of Gavalochori, and the Instagram profiles we’ve sourced here.
Note: Special thanks to the amazing artist Danny Touw and Konstantinos Liodakis for their kind assistance in creating this village profile.