Crete is not only famous for its ancient relics but also for the spectacular landscapes and renowned Cretan hospitality. To truly discover and explore Crete, you will need more than a week’s holiday, not even a month, a lifetime would be more like it and even then only a few people can tell you that they have seen all of Crete. It is almost impossible. Having already spent the past few summers on the island and in Rethymnon it was my first time visiting Argyroupolis.
I was invited to stay at the Arcus Luxury Suites in Argyroupolis which was the perfect opportunity to further explore the area and the nearby villages. Here are some of the places that I visited during my two day stay.
The highlights of Argyroupolis
Ancient Lappa was once a powerful Cretan city. Legend has it that is was founded by Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope. Today the village of Argyroupolis stands on the site which was once the ancient city of Lappa.
A number of Venetian mansions can be found here till this day and excavations in the area have uncovered remarkable finds which trace back to the Late Geometric period. Loukia who is a local of Argyroupolis took us on a tour of her authentic, traditional family home.
The springs of Argyroupolis
The springs of Argyroupolis are one of the highlights of the area. Numerous small waterfalls dominate the village, shaded by ancient plane trees.
There is also a very small church inside a rock, the chapel of Agia Dynami (Holy Force). The water which flows the chapel is said to be miraculous.
There is a plethora of taverns which serve grilled trout which guests can catch directly from the springs and have it grilled to order.
The church of Agia Kyriaki
This tiny church of Agia Kyriaki is located on the banks of the Mousellas river next to the famous Springs of Argyroupolis.
Featuring 11th and 13th century murals it was built on the site of what used to be a Roman bathhouse.
The church of the Holy Five Virgins
The church of the Holy Five Virgins located at a close proximity from the village of Argyroupolis and is an important historical site.
The church is dedicated to the Five Holy Virgins Thekla, Marianna, Ethane or Athena, Martha and Mary, who are believed to have died here.
The church was built on the ground of the ancient Roman tombs carved in the marly limestone rock. An impressive site indeed.
Panagia Antifonitria in Miriokefala
Miriokefala is a mountainous village which is located on the border of Rethymnon and Chania.
A short drive away from Argyroupolis the village is famous for the monastery of Panagia Antifonitria which is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete, founded in the 11th century.
The monastery celebrates on September 8 and 12 and many pilgrims walk up towards the monastery, starting a few days before the celebration.
New friends take you to places you have never been before. When our friend Andreas told us about visiting the Kallikratis village up in the mountains, we couldn’t resist his kind offer.
First we stopped for a Greek coffee at the most impressive little coffee shop I have ever seen. It is owned by Babis and his wife, who have a great passion for herbs and make their own jams, oils and other delicacies.
Whatever you do, this place should be on your list of places to see when you end up in Chania. We then headed towards the Kallikratis Gorge which lies on the southeast of Lefka Ori (White Mountains). The view from here is unbelievable!
The mountainous road that leads from Argyroupolis will give you the opportunity to explore the small villages and scenery. It might take you around 40 minutes or more to get to Lake Kournas which is the only fresh water lake in Crete.
During the summer it usually gets quite busy as it is a favourite destination for both locals and tourists. There are tavernas and coffee shops in the area and you can also rent a pedal boat to explore the lake and the natural surroundings.
Where to eat in Argyroupolis
Tavern Arhaia Lappa (Ancient Lappa)
On both evenings we had dinner at the Tavern Arhaia Lappa (Ancient Lappa) which serves delicious Greek food. We exchanged travel stories with our new friends who are worldwide travellers and are keen on exploring the world!
Over dinner we spoke about the famous Cretan snail dish and our friend Andreas told us that he knows a secret place that has the best snails. The next day he was out at 07:30 in the morning collecting snails for our dinner.
This is what makes Crete special. The generosity and thoughtfulness of its people. No hospitality can ever beat the Cretan hospitality.
Thank you Eleni and Yiannis Deligiannakis for your warm hospitality at Arcus Suites Rethymno Crete, Θόλος Σουίτες Ρέθυμνο Κρήτης member of the Guest Inn – The Greek network of rural accommodation, your sweet parents Argyro and Kanakis, and their special friend Andreas. Last but not least, Loukia for taking us on an interesting tour of her authentic and traditional family house.
If you haven’t been to Argyroupolis before, we hope that this post will inspire you to go!