An ambling six km walk through the Sirikan Gorge, amid cooling chestnut groves, wild olives and plane trees, brings you to the ruined hilltop acropolis of Polyrinia, ‘rich in lambs’. A powerful city-state built by the Achaens, it dominated western Crete and later flourished under the Romans, who added a subterranean reservoir and aqueduct. It was re-colonized in Byzantine and Venetian times and there is much to see among its ruined fortifications, decorative arches, rock-cut tombs and later Church of the Holy Fathers. Rest in the shaded chapel courtyard and admire the jaw-dropping views of Kissamos Bay and the White Mountains before turning back for the sleepy village of Ano Paleokastra. Call in on Yiorgos’ workshop where he’ll ply you with olives and raki until you buy one of his beautiful olive wood boxes, or just pet his friendly dog, Lula.
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