Wine tourism in Western Crete
At the western end of Crete, the greater part of the area is taken up by the imposing Lefka Ori (White Mountains), to the south of which are located the famous Samaria Gorge and the Botanical Park of Crete on the Omalos plateau. This area is the most interesting for wine tourism in Western Crete, as it is second in number of wineries after Heraklion. Many of these wineries are open to visitors and the routes to reach them lead mainly around the mountain. In the city of Chania, visitors can see, among other things, traces of ancient Kydonia, the Venetian walls, the archaeological museum, the Byzantine collection and the residence-museum of Eleftherios Venizelos. Ancient Aptera, the Fortezza Fortress and the Fortress of Intzedin are located in Souda, the port of Chania. The monasteries of Aghia Triada Tzagarolon, Gouverneto and Pazinos, and the Park for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna are in the Akrotiri area, where the airport is also located. The main grape-growing region that produces the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) Kissamos wines lies west of Chania, in the northwestern section. The general area is scattered with ancient sites, such as ancient Kissamos and its museum, Polyrinia and Falasarna. The excursion to Gramvousa and its castle is also of interest. Continuing southward, visitors will see ancient Elyros and ancient Lissos along the southern coast. To the east of Chania, sights of interest include the Minoan settlement in Azoires, ancient Anopolis and ancient Tarra at the exit of the Samaria Gorge, and Frangokastello.
Although there are many vineyards in Rethymno, organised wine production essentially began in 2008. There are wineries in the areas of Geropotamos and Finikas, but travellers have a wealth of places to visit in combination with wine tourism in Western Crete: the beautiful city of Rethymno, its picturesque old section, the Venetian Fortezza Castle, the archaeological museum and the historical-folklore museum; east of Rethymno, Gerontospilio (Melidoni cave); to the·southeast, ancient Eleftherna and the historic Arkadi Monastery;·in the same direction but higher, Psiloritis Natural Park; the areas which the Ε4 European Walking Path transects the Ideon Cave (Andron); and ancient Zominthos and Preveli Monastery along the south coast.