The Venetians called it Castello Selino, the Bride of the Libyan Sea. Greeks call it simply the Old Town, Paleochora. If no longer nuptially fresh, Paleochora still attracts suitors and although the hippies of yesteryears have upped sticks, it continues to draw mostly young independent travelers. It has a rare advantage of straddling two beaches –Pachia Ammos– wide, sandy and lined with tamarisks, the other pebbly Chalikia –which are never wind-smacked at the same time, allowing you to pick up your towel and move according to the weather. Rent a car in Chania Airport and you will be in Paleochora in an hour.
On the tip of the peninsula the Venetian built Paleochora’s Castello Selino in 1279, more to police the Ornery Greeks than protect their new territory. When tested in 1539 by Khair Eddin Barbarossa, Castello Selino failed to measure up and was captured and demolished, leaving only empty walls to defend the poppies that fill it each April. To get away from it all, there are sand and pebble coves with crystal water all along the road west towards Koundoura and Ag. Kyriaki, but the presence of greenhouses keeps it off the postcards. Look for Karavopetra, a pebble beach by what looks like a petrified rock and one facing a monolith rising from the sea, Psilos Volakas.
Car rental in Crete is a cheap way to enjoy Paleochoras’ attractions.