Paleochora (Greek Παλαιόχωρα) is a small town in the southwest of Crete with almost 3000 permanent residents. The centre of the town is located on a peninsula-like headland off the steeply rising south coast. Because of this geographical location, Paleochora is the sunniest point of the island of Crete. At the southern end of the headland is the harbour, another landing stage is located on the eastern promenade. From there, ferries and ships dock, which transport locals and tourists to Gavdos, Sougia or Agia Roumeli (also the exit of the legendary Samaria Gorge), or to the beach of Elafonisi. The distance to Chania is about 72 km. The name means in english “Old (main) village” which indicates that the village was uninhabited for a long time or temporarily the function as a central place for the area was transferred to another place.
Paleochora belongs to the district of Pelekanos in the municipality of Kandanos-Selino and exists, according to various sources, since about 1400 A.D. Above the village, on a small hill, the remains of a Venetian castle are found. The excavation of the castle, which has been started but not finished, shows various fundaments and remains of a cistern and a well.
Paleochoras shops and gastronomy cover the needs of both the local inhabitants and visitors. There are two supermarkets, which are open up to 14 hours in season. It is interesting to note that many shops are closed in the afternoon during the season. So they don’t follow the typical tourist life. Most of the inhabitants earn their living by renting rooms or working in the gastronomy. There are no tourist hotspots or All inclusive hotels. The tourism lives from many, always returning visitors. Furthermore, agriculture (especially tomatoes, olives) and cattle breeding play a very important role in Paleochora and its surroundings.
The scenic, cultural and social charm of the small artist village and its inhabitants is so magical for many visitors that it seems almost impossible to visit Paleochora only once in a lifetime.