Three miles from the sandy beach at Kalyves (below right) is the beautiful hamlet of Provarma in North West Crete, just half a mile from Stilos with its choice of tavernas, kafenions and local stores.
Nearby, in Kyriakoselia, is the eleventh century Byzantine church of St.Nicholas where Archbishop Nicholas is buried (below left) The church has an unique fresco of Christ as a child.
In Stilos,visitors and local people may choose between three tavernas according to their taste in food and music. There are also a few local shops to buy groceries. Inland from Aptera but just three miles from Kalyves beach the road winds upwards to this charming village proud of its church and famous for its natural springs.
Stilos Village is on the road from Aptera to Neo Horio. The two aisled Byzantine church of Agios Ioannis stands by the village road as does as a prominent, modern domed church. Stilos is well known locally for its riverside restaurants shaded by giant Plane trees where weddings and Christenings are celebrated. Performances of amplified voice, lyra, guitar and violin can be enjoyed through the night on music nights at the Kritiko Kentro at the Taverna Tou Moustakia which serves generous dishes of locally produced food.Stilos, or sometimes Stylos, is located close to the source of natural springs at the foot of the White Mountains on the fertile and tree covered Stilos Valley.The local water is actually bottled here at the spring and is often served in jugs at the local tavernas.
During the invasion of Crete in the second world war on the 26th and 27th May 1941 Stilos was the site of an important battle between Allied and German forces. The battle delayed the Nazi invaders’ pursuit of the the Allies as they retreated south to Sfakia for their subsequent successful evacuation of the island. Allied troops that were left behind after the evacuation were subsequently sheltered by locals at great risk of Nazi reprisal. A number of steel helmets from the period hang on the wall of the old village shop.
The villages of Stilos and Provarma are ideally situated for exploring the surrounding countryside, ancient archaeological sites and the beaches of west Crete. Chania town, with it’s beautiful Venetian Harbour, is 30 minutes away. The town of Rethymnon is also within easy reach (40 minutes), as is the spectacular Samaria Gorge. The archaeological sites of Knossos and Phaestos are 1.5 hours drive from the village.