South Crete (Zaros - Kaliviani Monastery - Matala)

Travelling south through the pass of Vourvouliti, we reach the ancient village of Zaros. Built on a green valley, at the foothills of Psiloritis mount in the heart of Crete, at an altitude of 340 meters, the village is famous for the beautiful lake of Votomos and the local vivarium with the trouts and salmons. It’s also known for the amazing Gorge of Rouvas, which is on the hiking route and is named as the E4 European walking Path.

Leaving Zaros heading south, we stop at the Monastery of Panagia Kaliviani. It dates back to the 2nd Byzantine period, and it’s dedicated to Virgin Mary, since an old small icon of the Annunciation of the Holy Mother, was miraculously found there (the icon can be found today in the new chapel). The monastery also houses a girls’ orphanage established in 1958.

Passing the villages of Mires and Tympaki we reach the South Coast and the small fishing village of Matala with its beautiful beach. Here you can have lunch, swim in the clear sparkling water, sunbathe on the golden sand and explore the pre-historic caves in the cliffs on the beach, that were once used as tombs and later  as  the homes of the early Christians on the island. During the 60s and 70s the caves hosted an international Hippie’s community known worldwide.  


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