|Other places of interest|
This large seaside village counts 1041 inhabitants. Agia Galini is a new village, founded in 1884 by villagers from Melambes. The name, though not to be found in the census, is very old, as is the name of the river Platis or Amarianos, and ancient maps mention the same river under the name of Elektra.
In ancient times there used to be a settlement called Soulia or Soulina in exactly the same place, which was the port of ancient Syvritos. Artemis was the goddess adored here in that remote age, and the church of Galini Christos, visited by Buondelmonti in 1415, was built on the ruins of her temple. We therefore draw the conclusion that the present-day Agia Galini owes its name to the monastery of Galini Christos.
There are several caves along the coast, where the sea plays games with the rays of the sun. You can just stroll around this nice little tourist village, take a swim, enjoy the blue flag beach, try water sports or go for a long and quiet walk in the mountains. Apart from one main road the entire village is free of cars. The main road is not a thoroughfare and it only leads to the harbour.
High mountain area
If you have a 4x4 drive, you can go and explore the high mountain. There is a road starting from Gergeri, and reaching the Nida plateau. At these altitudes, the nature is totally different than what you can see in the plain, and the panoramas are both impressive and unexpected. Another road starts from Lohria and climbs on the Psiloritis, up to 1800 m. There, you reach exceptional points of view on the Messara plain and bay, the Asteroussia moutains and of course the Psiloritis itself, which highest part belongs to a natural world with no equivalent (eagles, plants growing on the snowed zones, circular stone-built shepherds refuge, etc.).
Heraklion is of course another destination for a one-day trip. Except walking, shopping and having a drink in the very "in" area of Dedalus street or on the Venizelos (lions' fountain) place, the main things to see in Heraklion are the archeological museum and, a few kilometers outside the Knossos archaeological site.
In the area south of the monastery of Odigitria, and for sure the most southern point of the island there is finally a mountain called Kefali. A non-asphalted road leads to the top, where you will find too more churches and a beautiful view along the south coast. From your feet to the lower sea it's more than 300 meters. Unfortunately, it's too far away to discover Africa, but it's a very, very impressive place...
The Mount Kofinas (1231meters) is the highest mountain in the south of Crete in the Asteroussia mountains and especially worth the trip because of a phantastic view on the Messara, the south coast and sometimes even up to the north end of the island. You could go by 4WD and have a short walk up to the peak or go for a day-trip hiking up this mountain, earning what a trekker´s heart may wish after an ascent of this peak: great panoramic views and maybe some majestic griffon vultures on the way up.
Moni Koudoumas (It's a 4 wheel-drives trip only!)
The town of Rethymnon is a good destination for a one-day trip. From Kamilari, it will take you about one hour and a half (from the road passing by Spili). Spili by itself is worth a stop, both for shopping, seeing the fountains and making a break.
Rethymnon is a very beautiful town, resulting in the superposition of all its past, being Greek, byzantine, Venetian and Turkish. Don't miss the old harbor and the old town; but there are also many other things to see, visit and enjoy here.
From Rethymnon, you might wish to go to the monastery of Arkadi, which is interesting, not only because of its architecture, but also because it is one of the strongest symbols of Cretan resistance against Turkish occupation (there is a permanent exhibition about the subject in the monastery). From Arkadi, you might decide to get back to Kamilari by the mountain road (reaching Fourfouras). It is a nice trip, but you must know it is a long road (around 1h30 driving).