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Aptera and Stylos

Round-trip distance is 36 kilometers

Aptera and Stylos
White Mountains from Aptera. Vasilis Τourlidas, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
White Mountains from Aptera. Vasilis Τourlidas, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
White Mountains from Aptera. Vasilis Τourlidas, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
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If you want to see layers of archaeological ruins from the Minoan, Byzantine, Roman, and Turkish periods, Aptera (Άπτερα) is your place, and it’s only 17 kilometers (11 miles) from Gavalochori. Set high on a hill, it was the site of a once-prosperous city state. You’ll appreciate the excellent orientation center near the entrance that will give you an idea of what you are about to see. You could spend all day here, but be sure not to miss the stunning large cisterns dating from Roman times. The site can be quite warm in the summer, so start out early and bring a hat and an umbrella for shade. The site is closed at least one day a week, so check before you go to be sure it is open. You can access more information here and here.

A good place for lunch after your visit to Aptera is Stylos (Στύλος), a village only 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Aptera that is shaded by large plane trees and cooled by the waters of the Koiliaris River (Κοιλιάρης Ποταμός). While you are in Stylos, check out the Church of Saint John the Theologian, which is in the central part of the village and dates from 1271-1280. In a glass enclosure in the courtyard of the church are the fossilized remains of an extinct sea mammal that lived 11.6 to 7.2 million years ago. The skeleton, minus its skull, was discovered during road work.

On your way out of Stylos, you don’t want to miss the Minoan tomb from the 14th-13h century BC that is northwest of the village on the road to Aptera. To find it, look for a metal gate with a padlock locking the gate and the key to the padlock hanging next to it. There is also an information sign about the site there. There is no admission fee and no attendant, and there is usually no one else there. Walk straight ahead once you enter the gate, and you will see a bit of a path that ends quickly on your right. Pass that path up and take the second path that you come to on your right. Follow it a short way, and you will come to a passageway that leads down into the tomb.

If you want to do some hiking in a cool and shady area, the Diktamos Gorge (Φαράγγι Δικτάμου) is nearby. You can find the trailhead for the gorge at the bridge on the north side of Stylos. Stylos is just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Gavalochori, so the trip back will be a quick and easy one. Find out more about Stylos here.

If you want to see layers of archaeological ruins from the Minoan, Byzantine, Roman, and Turkish periods, Aptera (Άπτερα) is your place, and it’s only 17 kilometers (11 miles) from Gavalochori. Set high on a hill, it was the site of a once-prosperous city state. You’ll appreciate the excellent orientation center near the entrance that will give you an idea of what you are about to see. You could spend all day here, but be sure not to miss the stunning large cisterns dating from Roman times. The site can be quite warm in the summer, so start out early and bring a hat and an umbrella for shade. The site is closed at least one day a week, so check before you go to be sure it is open. You can access more information here and here.

A good place for lunch after your visit to Aptera is Stylos (Στύλος), a village only 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Aptera that is shaded by large plane trees and cooled by the waters of the Koiliaris River (Κοιλιάρης Ποταμός). While you are in Stylos, check out the Church of Saint John the Theologian, which is in the central part of the village and dates from 1271-1280. In a glass enclosure in the courtyard of the church are the fossilized remains of an extinct sea mammal that lived 11.6 to 7.2 million years ago. The skeleton, minus its skull, was discovered during road work.

On your way out of Stylos, you don’t want to miss the Minoan tomb from the 14th-13h century BC that is northwest of the village on the road to Aptera. To find it, look for a metal gate with a padlock locking the gate and the key to the padlock hanging next to it. There is also an information sign about the site there. There is no admission fee and no attendant, and there is usually no one else there. Walk straight ahead once you enter the gate, and you will see a bit of a path that ends quickly on your right. Pass that path up and take the second path that you come to on your right. Follow it a short way, and you will come to a passageway that leads down into the tomb.

If you want to do some hiking in a cool and shady area, the Diktamos Gorge (Φαράγγι Δικτάμου) is nearby. You can find the trailhead for the gorge at the bridge on the north side of Stylos. Stylos is just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Gavalochori, so the trip back will be a quick and easy one. Find out more about Stylos here.

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