Agia Galini before the advent fo tourism was a port of the ancient settlement of Sybritos. Now it is a convenient base to visit Phaestos, Agia Triada and Gortys around 25 km away. Then you could follow an impressive mountain route, which starts from Apessokari and gives you a taste of the Asterousia wilderness and the sandy beaches behind the mountains.
Legend has it that, the name of Agia Galini was given by Empress Eudocia of Byzantium when her ship sailing to Africa faced a big storm close to the ancient city of Soulia. Asking for the help of Virgin Mary, the Empress suggested that the crew approach the shore, and vowed she would build a church dedicated to Virgin Mary if they could find shelter.
History of Agia Galini village is built upon the ancient Minoan city of Soulia, one of the hundred cities of Crete described by Homer. It was a place of worship and there was also a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The history of Soulia continued until the 7th century when it was destroyed by pirates. Remnants of this city and temple have been found, such as buildings, tombs, marbles,as well as two granite columns that adorn the church of the village till our days. The bay of Agia Galini has always been a suitable anchorage for ships. It was used in the revolutions of 1821 and 1866 for unloading munitions. Due to its close proximity to the fertile and oil producing regions of Ampadia and Melampes, the port was used for loading oil to ships. The settlement was founded in 1884, when commercial buildings, oil warehouses and some residences were built. Over the years the commercial traffic and oil export increased significantly and therefore Customs were founded. After a few years (1890) there was a permanent settlement of about 20 people. Indeed the ship moored safely to the naturally sheltered beach of the village, and the Empress built the temple, as promised. The temple was dedicated to the so-called 'Holy Virgin of Serenity' after which the village was named.
10 things not to miss during your stay in Agia Galini:
- The view from the theatre to the village and the bay of Messara late in the evening when all buildings are lit up.
- The statues of Daedalus and Icarus on the rock from where they flew away, as legend has it.
- Drink local raki and taste “spoon sweet”, a preserve made of fruits.
- Sample local fish (tuna, swordfish, mullets or the catch of the day) & traditional dishes (mousaka, pastitsio, kleftiko, meat with honey and local herbs).
- Relax at a traditional “kafeneio” and enjoy a Greek coffee, raki and meze.
- Take a fishing trip with one of the boats departing from the harbour.
- Swim at nearby beaches (Aghios Georgios, Agios Pavlos, Triopetra, Kommos).
- Visit the archaeological sites of Phaistos, Gortyna, and Agia Triada.
- Take part in one of the many local festivals organized every year.
- Enjoy the breathtaking sunrise.
During summer there are daily boats from the harbour to the beaches of Agios Georgios, Ayios Pavlos, Agiofaraggo and Preveli (Palm Beach) as well as the Paximadia Islands 12km offshore , which have wonderful fine sand beaches but little shade, making a sun umbrella a must.
Don't miss the dolphin-watching excursions which are organised in the area, as dolphins are plentiful here. Ask for details at one of the tourist agencies or the harbour. The days and times change depending on the season.
For the most romantic ones go down to the jetty to see the sunset and the cave of Agia Galini, just outside the harbour. You can visit the cave with its wild doves by small boat from the harbour.
According to mythology, the rock that was used by Icarus and Daedalus to escape from King Minos and fly to freedom is located in the port of Agia Galini. At this point there is a monument with their statues and the view is excellent.
Visit Zaros Village a particularly attractive, refreshingly unspoilt village famous for its spring water, which are now bottled and sold all over Crete.
|Hotel Information||Recommended For|
|Type:||Mid-Size Hotels||Quality of Service :|
|Rooms:||28||Cheap & Chic :|
|Pool:||Yes||Nice atmosphere :|
|Dining:||Breakfast / Bar-Cafe||Marvelous view :|
|Children:||Welcome||Family hospitality :|
|Closed:||November to March||Village Atmosphere :|