The seaide village of Georgioupolis between Chania and Rethymnon offers a relaxed Cretan charm with plenty to do away from its 10 kms of sandy beach. The village is large enough to satisfy all tastes but not so big it loses its village feeling.
The village hub is its large central square, quite buzzy at night when the cafes and tavernas are full. There are plenty of taverna restaurants elsewhere and a handful of bars. Georgioupolis has good amenities including ATMs, a doctor, pharmacy and several supermarkets. A regular fast bus service runs along the coastal road behind making a trip to Rethymnon quick, easy and affordable (c. 4 euros in 2016).
With the White Mountains as a majestic backdrop, there are plenty of traditional villages to explore inland by foot, car or road train, and Lake Kournas is only 3 kms away. The Almiros River runs to one side of the village and is home to numbers of geese, frogs and terrapins. Take a pedalo trip to the small lake just upstream, a boat trip to the caves, or a fishing trip.
20 minutes drive beyond Rethymnon, the atmospheric village of Panormos has everything we look for – oodles of laid back charm, two good sandy beaches, a photogenic harbour (with church above and tavernas to each side) and, above all, a true Greek village atmosphere. Yet, remarkably for such a pretty place, foreign tourism here is still low-key and there is only one hotel.
Panormos has everything close to hand, including some ten tavernas and a good selection of local shops in the narrow streets leading down to the harbour and beach. A fun trip is the ‘road-train’ which runs to villages in the hills. For bright lights Rethymnon can be easily reached by the frequent local bus.
Transfer note: Panormos transfers are combined with Kalives/Almirida. Private taxi transfers can be quoted for and cost £120 each way (per taxi).