Setting out south from Rethymnon the road leads to the narrow pass of the Kourtalis Gorge [Kourtaliotiko farangi], with the small church of St. Nicholas the Kourtaliot.

At the other end of the imposing gorge visitors face one of the most beautiful parts of Crete, i.e. the valley of the Kourtaliotis River and the coastal hamlet of Plakia.

To the south of the Kourtaliotis River there are the two historial monasteries of Prevelis.

Leaving behind the villages of Asomatos, Lefkogia and Myrthio, visitors can see the Church of St. Nicholas in Kotsyfos Gorge.

After going through Selia, affording a panoramic view, the road goes west to the village of Sfakia.

At Frangokastelo there is the Early Christian Basilica of St. Niketas and the church of St. Charalampus.

After going through the villages of Vouvas, there is the church of St. George at the village of Komitades and Mother Mary of the thyme Monastery [Moni Panagias Thymianis] before arriving at the Chora of Sfakia.

In the region of Anopolis stands the Church of Archangel Michael, in the quaint village of Aradena, next to the imposing Gorge.

From the Chora of Sfakia one can take the small boat to Agia Roumeli, with its Early Christian Basilica. At the village of Samaria, within the famous gorge of the same name, stands the small Byzantine church of Osia Maria [Holy Maria].

The way back to the Chora of Sfakia goes through the small plateaus of Niatos and Askyphos that lead us to Vryses and back to Rethymnon.


Archangelos Michail (Archangel Michael) (Aradena)

At the edge of the Aradena Gorge, in Sfakia, lies a deserted hamlet of the same name, where the church of Archangel Michael or Astratigos – as Sfakia residents call him – stands. It is a cruciform church with a six-sided cupola with several features of the School of mainland Greece (Helladic), built on the […]


Osia Maria Egyptia (Holy Maria from Egypt) Church (Samaria)

Half way down into the Samaria Gorge lies the deserted village of the same name. Here stands the Byzantine Church of Osia Maria from Egypt, which gave the gorge its name (osiamaria=samaria). This is a one-aisled, arch-roofed church with 14th century murals.


Early Christian Basilica (Agia Roumeli)

The ruins of a three-aisled basilica with a wooden roof and a narthex, built on the ruins of an older church. Within the sanctum there is a one-aisled, arch-roofed church with 15th century murals, now well-preserved. As in most early Christian basilicas, there is a mosaic floor dating from the 6th century with geometric shapes […]


Agios Georgios (St. George) (Komitades)

A small Byzantine church with murals painted in 1314 by icon painter, Ioannis Pagomenos. There is a special mural depicting the donors of the church, while emphasis is given to the life of St. George.


Early Christian Basilica (Frangokastelo)

The ruins of a two-aisled, 6th century basilica with a narthex, dedicated to St. Charalampus and St. John the Divine (Theologos). On the site of the sanctum of this early Christian basilica, a church dedicated to Archangel Michael – whom the Sfakia residents call Astratigos, a corruption of the name Archistratigos, i.e. Commander- in- chief […]


Agios Nikitas (St. Nicetas) (Frangokastelo)

Northeast of Frangokastelo stands the 13th church of St. Niketas, built on the ruins of an early Christian Basilica. St. Niketas is a one-aisled church and was built with architectural members of the old basilica, including two marble pillars. The floor mosaic is also that of the old basilica.


Preveli Monastery

The famous monastery of Prevelis, overlooking the Libyan Sea, is composed off two building complexes, the ‘Back’ (Piso) and the ‘Low’ (Kato) Monastery, with a distance of 2 kilometres between them. There are numerous legends associated with the establishment of the monastery, dating back to the Venetian rule period, like most Cretan monasteries. At that […]


Panagias Thymianis (Mother Mary of the thyme) Monastery (Komitades)

According to tradition the name of the monastery comes from an icon of Mother Mary found under a thyme bush and has been a sacred site for the residents of Sfakia. The catholicon (main church) of the monastery is a two-aisled church dedicated to the Nativity of Mother Mary (Gennisis tis Theotokou) and the Holy […]