The county of Kissamos lies in the westernmost region of Crete extending to 150,000 km2 . Only 36 km far from Chania, Kissamos has a population of about 12,000 people consisting of the municipality of Kissamos (former municipality of Kissamos, Innachorio and Methymna).
Falasarna Beach is just 10 km from Kissamos (20 minutes drive – cycling 1 hour and thirty minutes – 4 hours hiking ).
Elafonisi beach is located 45 km from the town of Kissamos (2 hours drive).
Click here to find other beaches of Kissamos, ask us for more details.
Of particular interest are the villages of Kissamos where you will find very good food, paths and depending on season, folk music events. Ask us for more details!
In the town of Kissamos you can enjoy swimming at a beach from April to October, shopping in the city center and have a drink in a bar or enjoy good Cretan cuisine.
During the summer months, many events take place throughout the city and villages.
During the winter months you will find several coffee-bar for coffee or a drink and of course many taverns with Cretan cuisine and good music.
Consult our office or a local to guide you.
Kissamos, the town!
In the center of the bay that has the same name, Kissamos is a little town in the middle of a fertile area with olive groves and vineyards. Originally built in a short distance from the sea, Kissamos has now extended to the coast , while it is the so-called gate of western Crete as it is the only way through to the other destinations of the area. Kissamos was named after the namesake pre-Hellenic settlement located on the same site, referred by Plinios and Ptolemaios. Ancient Kissamos was the port of the ancient town Polyrenia, the oldest Dorian city of Crete, situated 7 km south of Kissamos, while at the same time it was an autonomous town having its own coin which depicted the head of Hermes (the master of commerce) on the one side, and the picture of a dolphin on the other side. The dolphin is still the emblem of the town nowadays. The port of Kissamos was located on the western side of the modern town, on today’s location of Mavros Molos.
As the capital of the county, Kissamos is regarded as an autonomous town, whose economy is mostly based on agricultural production, commerce and tourism. As a matter of fact, the oil and wine of Kissamos are exceptionally famous products. Having kept in full its scenic characteristics and without having been spoiled by tourist development, Kissamos remains the center of attraction for the visitors who seek quiet vacation, familiarizing themselves with the habits and traditions of the local people. A wide variety of cultural events, as well as, alternative forms of tourism (agro- tourism and hiking tourism) are the best choices for the nature lovers.
The Banks, the Post Office Agency, the Health Centre and all the various kinds of shops enable Kissamos to be a functional and fully organized town. You will come across café-bars and restaurants in various central points of Kissamos. However, at Telonio Beach area, a pedestrian precinct, you will find cafés and various types of restaurants and snack bars all gathered in the same area, opening early in the morning till late at night.
Do not miss a visit to the town’s Archaeological Museum located at the square of Statigos Janakakis. It is a listed building with spaces designed in contemporary art style, preserving precious findings of the area from the Roman and Hellenistic times.
As you walk through the picturesque Street Skalidi, in the ancient market of Kissamos, you will be impressed by the traditional arches of the buildings, the small shops and the traditional cafés.
As you walk westwards, you will see the Limni(=Lake), a lovely little port with fish taverns ,which are a greatly traditional characteristic. Moreover, take a few minutes of your time to visit the chapel of St Giannis Damialis, which was built inside a rock, in the 10th century ,and was reconstructed in 1947. A small tunnel in the front yard of the chapel will lead you to the beach of Damialis, which is a small bay with pebbles and crystal-clear waters.
The old Telonio beach is located 100 meters north from the center of Kissamos, along a pedestrian precinct by the sea. Meeting point for locals and visitors of the city of Kissamos. Here you will find traditional taverns, restaurants, fast food, cafe and bar next to the sea with view to the blue bay of Kissamos.
Start your day in the morning with coffee, juices, ice cream or dessert at one of the cafes. At noon and evening you can enjoy the traditional cretan cuisine in some of the restaurants ,while late at night the bars will offer you plenty of drinks and music for all tastes.
Skalidi Street (old market)
Particularly picturesque Skalidis street, with small shops and cafes, was the old downtown known as the”old market” until today. The architecture of the listed buildings ,with the traditional arches,is typical . Here you will find traditional cafes, cafeterias, restaurants, internet café. Do not forget to visit the shops for memorabilias and souvenirs .
Limni (Little Harbour)
The small picturesque fishing harbor of Kissamos (1.5 km from the center), with its fish taverns, is a key element of the traditional side of Kissamos.
Drapanias is a seaside village with relative development on tourism ,especially in recent years. Along the road to the beach of Drapanias are several cafes- restaurants,, where you can eat or drink by the sea. Villa Trevisan is proudly crowning this village .
A few kilometers from Kissamos ,the village Kaliviani , the biggest settlement of the area. At the northwestern tip of Crete, in the peninsula of Gramvousa, and a few hours before the lagoon of Ballos, a stop here is essential, either for food in traditional famous tavern in the village square, or a little further, at special Ethnic Jazz Bar.
Platanos / Falasarna
Platanos is the main village of the area, and is located 10km from Kissamos.
In the village you will find several tavernas and cafes ,where you are given the opportunity to enjoy good traditional food, but also ,to experience the untouched Cretan tradition and the people.
A few km from Platanos , Falassarna is located(5km) ,one of the most famous beaches in Greece, famous for its crystal blue waters and beautiful sunsets. Driving down to Falasarna, you will find restaurants that will compensate you with their traditional Cretan cuisine, but also the great view (the sunset, especially during the first summer months).
In Falassarna you will find tavernas with fresh fish and beach bar, across the beach, an area of 3 km!
Mavros Molos is the main beach of Kissamos and attracts the most people coming from the city’s beaches. It’s a great beach, with sand and relatively shallow waters. There are many cafes, restaurants and hotels near the beach. Furthermore, umbrellas are offered, and there are several tamarisks providing shade.
Do not forget to visit the shops on the promenade for memorabilia.
Main Characteristics of Kissamos
Kissamos area belongs to the precincts of Chania County located in western Crete, being the second county of Crete in land area and population, after Heraklion County. Kissamos lies on the northeastern part of the county and is the western connection point between Crete and Peloponnesus. On its northern and western side, Kissamos is washed by the Cretan Sea. A special geographical characteristic of the area is Gramvoussa and Rodopos peninsulas which lie vertical to the northern coast, forming this way the bay of Kissamos.
The morphology of the region’s ground is distinguished by its profound corrugations with deep valleys in successive hill and mountain areas . Dominated by mountainous terrain (48%), while the plain and fertile land (17%) is found in most of the north west. Furthermore, there are a number of gorges in the area, such as the Gorges of Malathyros, Roka, Pateriana, Sirikari, Topolia, Kambos, Kalogeros.
In the north and west side the areas are dominated by the stunning beaches of the gulf of Kissamos, Falassarna, Sfinari and Elafonisi.
The general morphology of the area complete rivers and streams, leading to the northern and western coasts.
In the northern coastal part of the Kissamos region the Mediterranean climate is prevalent with the prosperous effect of the sea, which peters out ,as you sheer off from the coast and the altitude becomes higher. In its western and southwestern part the climate is mainly Mediterranean, mild ,marine with the intensity of the prosperous effect of the sea. Its main characteristic is the exquisitely mild winter, the increased sunshine, particularly during the winter period, the limited rainfall and the long warm dry period.
An important characteristic of the area is the fact that the sea temperatures in the southern coast ,during the winter period ,are nearly the same as the sea temperatures in the northern Europe, during summer. Therefore, winter swimming has become a most favorite activity in recent years with a growing number of followers.
Western Kissamos region has 340.285 km2 in area. It has a population of 11.820 people.
Kissamos precinct used to be divided into 3 municipalities (Kissamos, Methymna, Innachorio). Today, according to the Kallikratis project of the municipality unification, we only have the Municipality of Kissamos.
The Kissamos cuisine is based on
1.The finest quality olive oil (it is famous for its low acidity and distinct aroma).
2. The outdoor organic garden products (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, vegetables, etc.).
3. The wild herbs, that are plenty on the slopes and beaches of the area (stamnagathi, askrorlympoi, petrofyllies, akournopodoi, lagoudochorto, vrovioi, radykia, avronies etc.) which are consumed raw or cooked.
4. The aromatic, medicinal, apiarian plants (oregano, thrympa, thyme, stamatochorto, malotyra etc.) used either as a drink, or condiment.
5. The meat from free range sheep and goats, as well as ,chickens and rabbits and, pork etc.
6. The snails of the mountain and the sea.
7. The fish and various seafood from the area (famous salad sea )
8. The products produced by bakeries and crafts of the area. Rusks, bread, cookies, olive bread, etc. are made.
9. Pasta and traditional products from the housewives and the small industries of Kissamos (hilopites, xinochontros, kalitsounia, spoon sweets, xerotigana etc.)
10. The wine and raki from local grape varieties of excellent quality in the area (the local wine is famous from the Minoan era).
see also : Cours de cuisine traditionnelle crétoise
The largest number of local people is involved with agriculture and stock raising. Indicative quote:
- Olives – olive oil of high quality (internationally awarded) and productivity (first place in olive oil production per olive tree internationally)
- Vineyards, it is registered in Venetians’ reports that Kissamos is not only an olive productive area, but also well-known for its excellent wine
- Citrus fruits
- Outdoor and greenhouse vegetables
- Honey with special characteristics due to its medicinal and aromatic herbs with which bees are fed by
- Meat and dairy products (cheese, myzithra, yoghurt, fat milk etc.), which are produced by grazing goats and sheep
- Meat by small farm animals, such as rabbits, hens etc.
Small Industries of
Bakery Products (nuts, olive-bread, cookies etc.)
Traditional handmade products (noodles, xinochondros, frumenty, kallitsounia, traditional sweets, etc.)