The village of Kefalas in the Apokoronas in Crete
The village of Kefalas is situated in the Apokoronas area, on the north side of Crete, west of Georgioupolis and east of Chania. The district is shaped like a "triangle" and set away from the highway. It's a green and quiet part compared to for instance The Akrotiri (which is the peninsula next to Chania), with less houses and a more traditional lifestyle. In the Apokoronas there are lots of olive groves, woodlands and farms, and a couple of great beaches like Almiryda, Kalives and the long stretched beach of Georgioupolis which is about 10 kilometer long. Kefalas is an old village in the heart of the Apokoronas. It is over 800 years old and thought to have been founded around 1175 A.D. during the Greek Byzantine times under Emperor Michalis Komnenos. Inside it's boundaries there are a large amount of historic buildings from Venetian and other times, some beautifully restored, others in ruins. From 1669 until 1898 Kefalas was under Ottoman Turkish occupation. It's a large village, but it is quiet. There are squares, beautiful old trees, an old stone windmill, a couple of taverna's (one with Illy coffee!) and two supermarkets. The supermarkets are small, but with all the essentials - one of them sells bio-organic food and vegetables and the other is run by an English lady - we think - that gave us free lighters and a large bottle of local wine so we could "taste it" after we did our shopping. The people are really friendly and say hello and wave as you walk through the streets. The whole village is pretty with old stone buildings and just a few tastefully done new ones. Supposedly there are some 30 churches in the village, most of which are from the time of the Turkish occupation, when land would not be confiscated by the Turkish rulers if there was a church on its grounds. I didn't count the ones that I have seen, and I haven't seen all of them, but it is defenitely the village in Crete with the largest amount of churches that I have encountered.
Kefalas can be reached easily. Best is to drive from the new national road into Georgioupolis, on the Rethimnon - Chania road, and turn left after about 25 meter just before the village square of Georgioupolis. After a few meters there is a turn on the right side where you can see the sign for the village of Vamos. If you follow this road and climb up the hill you will automatically run into the sign to Kefalas on the right after about 5-10 minutes. You can also enter the village from the other side - from Vamos for instance. There are several signs to the village and it is hard to miss them, because the village is clearly marked.