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Practical Information

Gavalochori: A Tour on Foot
Center of Gavalochori. Luka Tica, Foundation for Gavalochori

Explore . . .

This website can’t tell you everything about goods and services in the area, but it does provide a basic framework for finding things you might need or finding out useful information. Because Gavalochori is a small village, it doesn’t have every kind of amenity. Because it is part of a network of villages, however, pretty much everything you might need is available nearby. This collection of practical information not only helps you access goods and services, but it provides information so that you can understand some basic customs and practices, making your stay here more enjoyable.

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Fisherman, Crete. Bryan Ledgard, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Auto Repair

If you are renting a car, you can contact the rental agency for help with any car repairs that you require. If you aren’t renting a car, the nearest car mechanic to Gavalochori is on the back road from Gavalochori to Vamos (Βάμος). His place is the Michalis Auto Service (Μιχάλης Συνεργείο Αυτοκινήτων), and he serves most of the locals in the area. As you are heading toward Vamos, look to your left as you come to the top of a hill. You’ll see a large pink house and a white garage next to it behind a stone wall. 

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Car Repair, Greece. Norbert Nagel, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
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Auto Repair, Vamos. Sonja Foss, Foundation for Gavalochori

Banks and ATM Machines

The nearest bank to Gavalochori is the Piraeus Bank on the main street in Vamos (Βάμος). Look for a large white building with two columns and the yellow and blue sign of Piraeus Bank over the front door. This bank has an ATM machine. You can also find an ATM machine for Piraeus Bank on the road that goes from Almyrida (Αλμυρίδα) to Plaka (Πλάκα). It is located next to a croissant shop, and it stands out because of its bright yellow color. Another ATM machine is in Kalyves (Καλύβες) on the road that goes to Kalami (Καλάμι). It is across from a fruit and vegetable market and in front of a real estate office that has columns in the front. Sometimes, you will find that your ATM card only works at certain banks. If it doesn’t work in either of these machines, you might have to go into Chania (Χανιά), where you have a greater variety of ATMs from which to choose.

An important thing to know about ATM machines in Greece is this: Don’t put your card in an ATM machine more than twice on one visit. If you put it in three consecutive times, the machine is likely to take your card, and you will have to go through some interesting machinations to get it back (and of course, if you are using the ATM when the affiliated bank is closed, you are really in trouble!)

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Bank, Vamos. Στέλιος Δράκος, Google Maps

Dentist

The closest dentist is Georgios Papadogiorgakis, whose clinic is located on the main street that runs through Vamos (Βάμος). Look for a greyish-beige building with green doors. His sign features a red cross with a picture of a tooth in the middle.

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Dentist, Vamos. Street View, Google Maps

Driving

Greeks drive on the right-hand side of the road, and traffic rules vary little from those in European countries or in the United States. There is one big difference, though: On Crete (and in all of Greece), you want to stay as far to the right in your lane as possible and even drive in the shoulder of the road if there is one. This is because cars will pass you in your lane, so you want to give them as much room as possible. Although Greek drivers are inclined to ignore them, speed limits (unless otherwise marked) are: 30 kilometers (18 miles) per hour on residential streets, 60–70 kilometers (37–43 miles) out of town, and 110–120 kilometers (69–75 miles) on highways.

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Car Passing, Crete. Terry Dorvinen, Foundation for Gavalochori

Garbage

Unlike in the United States or many European countries, garbage is not collected from people’s homes. You have to take your garbage to dumpsters, which are located in villages and along roads. In Gavalochori, there are two major places where you can deposit garbage. You can find one by going on the road with the Lourakis Mini Market and staying right as it curves around. Here you will find green bins for regular trash and a blue bin for recycling cardboard. There is another set of garbage bins on the road going to Almyrida (Αλμυρίδα), and this one has green bins for regular trash, a blue bin for recycled cardboard, and a yellow domed bin for recycling glass and plastic (the bottles you put in here should be clean). Please put the lids on the garbage bins after you deposit your trash. And, yes, trash is a problem in Gavalochori and many other villages in the area, especially in the summer. Gavalochori leaders and residents are working on a number of solutions and hope to solve the problem in the not-too-distant future.

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Garbage Bins, Crete. Sonja Foss, Foundation for Gavalochori

Grocery Stores

There are two food markets in Gavalochori. One is the S. M. Fronimos (Φρόνιμος) Market at the edge of the main square, and the other is the Lourakis (Λουράκης) Mini Market, which you can reach if, while in the main square, you keep the kafeneio (coffeeshop/pub) on your left and stay straight as you leave the square. The market will be on your left. (You can find more information about these markets and their owners and other businesses in Gavalochori in the “Local Establishments” section of this website.) 

For more selection, there is a SYN.KA grocery store on the road that runs west through Kalyves (Καλύβες) going toward Kalami (Καλάμι). A larger grocery store in the area is the Chalkiadakis (Χαλκιαδακης) store in Chania. To get there, take the National Road west toward Chania. Exit at the Souda/Chania interchange. Turn right (north) off the National Road, and follow that road until it ends. There you will find a sign pointing to “Souda” (“Σούδα”) and a sign pointing to “Chania” (“Χανιά”). Take the left turn to Chania and follow the road, which is lined with trees and passes nearly every car salesroom imaginable, for several kilometers. When the road takes a right-angle turn very near the entry to the built-up part of Chania, look on your left—that is the store. Parking is available underneath the store.

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SYNKA Supermarket, Kalyves. Sol Sred, Google Maps

Health Center and Hospitals

The closest place where you can get medical attention is the Health Center in Vamos. You are looking for a white building that has a red cross in the front that is largely hidden from the road. As you are driving from Gavalochori to Vamos (Βάμος) on the back road, look for a short stone wall on your left. The turn into the clinic is immediately after this wall. The nearest hospital is in Chania. It is the General Hospital Saint George (Γενικό Νοσοκομείο «Άγιος Γεώργιος) and is located at Agiou Eleftheriou 5. It doesn’t always get the best reviews, though, so private hospitals are also an option. A major one in Chania is the Private Hospital Tsepeti (Ιδιωτική Κλινική Τσεπέτη), which has English-speaking doctors. It is located at Papanastasiou 9. This hospital has a special department for international patients, which can be contacted at international@ChaniaClinic.com. (You will have to figure out, in conjunction with the hospital or clinic, what your own health insurance covers.) 

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Health Center, Vamos. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori

Internet Help

If the internet where you are staying goes out or is unstable, there’s a phone number you can call to get help. On a Greek phone, dial 13788 and then press 9, followed by 2. Help is available both in Greek and English, and the customer-service people are usually able to help you get your internet working normally again.

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Computer Store, Kalyves. Street View, Google Maps

Laundry

There is a laundry in Kalyves (Καλύβες) called Stegno (Στεγνό), which means “dry.” It is on the road that runs south through Kalyves toward the National Road. You are looking for a gray building with a lime-green sign.

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Laundry, Kalyves. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori

Pharmacies

In the United States and in many European countries, you can purchase pharmaceutical products like diarrhea medicine at grocery stores. This is not the case in Greece. Many of these kinds of products can be purchased only at pharmacies, which are marked with a green cross. Pharmacies are closed on Sundays and holidays, but pharmacies have a roster system so that one pharmacy in an area stays open on these days. You will see a sign in the window of each pharmacy that gives the schedule for the week. The nearest pharmacy to Gavalochori is on the road that runs between Almyrida (Αλμυρίδα) and Plaka (Πλάκα). Look for a stone building with three large arches in the front.

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Pharmacy, Almyrida. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori

Post Office

There is a box in which you can drop letters or postcards to be mailed just off the main square in Gavalochori. It is where the street going to the Folklore Museum takes off from the main square. You are looking for a gold metal box that says POST and is marked with blue lettering and images. If you need to buy stamps or mail a package, the closest post office is in Kalyves (Καλύβες) on the road that runs south through the village going to Kalami (Καλάμι). Post offices are generally open 8:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, although they may be closed on some days for unknown reasons. If you just need to buy stamps, they are available at The Swallow (Monica’s craft shop on the main square) or the Folklore Museum in Gavalochori.

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Post Office, Kalyves. Street View, Google Maps
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Mailbox, Gavalochori. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori

Power and Water Cutoffs

Occasionally, you will find that the water or the electricity to the house or apartment where you are staying is cut off. If you find yourself without electricity, the first thing to do is to be sure it has not just been shut off at your place or is something that is affecting all of Gavalochori. If it’s your house or apartment, the problem often can be fixed by returning a flipped fuse to its rightful position. You can usually tell if the electricity is off throughout Gavalochori because you will hear several generators start up once the power goes off. There’s a website that tells you when electrical and power cutoffs will be in Gavalochori, so if you are planning something special or important for a certain day, this website will let you know in advance whether to expect such outages. You need to fill in the city and the area: In the first square, choose ΧΑΝΙΩΝ (the second to the last item), and then choose ΔΗΜΟΣ ΒΑΜΟΥ (the sixth item).

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Electric company. ΔΕΔΔΗΕ
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Water Meters, Crete. Jane023, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Quiet Hours

Crete observes quiet hours, when people are to refrain from making loud noises that might disturb others who are trying to sleep. During the summer season (April 1–September 30), quiet hours are from 3:00–5:30 p.m. and from 11:00 p.m.–7:00 a.m. During the winter season (October 1–March 31), quiet hours are from 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.–7:30 a.m.

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Napping. FORTEPAN / Karabélyos Péter, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Shoe Repair

There is a place where you can get your shoes repaired efficiently and cheaply on the road that runs south through Kalyves (Καλύβες) and joins the National Road. It is next to an EKO gas station and has a bright red sign that says “Keys – Shoes.” As the sign suggests, you can get other things done here as well, including having keys made.

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Shoe Repair, Kalyves. Sonja Foss, Foundation for Gavalochori

Store Hours

Shops on Crete are typically open between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, they are also open between 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. They are closed on Sundays. Grocery stores, mini markets, and shops in tourist areas, however, are likely to be open all day, every day, especially in the summer.

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Municipal Market, Chania. Lapplaender, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, Wikimedia Commons

Tipping

Tipping used to be minimal on Crete, but in recent years, the expectation is that some tipping will be done and in greater amounts. Although many people still tip very little, the expectation is that in restaurants, you will tip between 5 and 10% unless a service fee is included in the check (it is rare, but sometimes it is). Tip taxi drivers by rounding up to the nearest euro, and tip tour guides for group tours 5–10 euros and guides on private tours 20 euros per day.

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Restaurant, Greece. Rakoon, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

Toilet Paper

A general rule to follow on Crete is not to put toilet paper in toilets. There are two reasons for this. Most of Greece’s sewage systems were built during the 1930s and 1940s using small pipes that can’t handle paper waste. Another reason is that waste may go into a septic tank, and many types of toilet paper don’t break down in septic tanks. You will find a waste basket next to the toilet where you should put toilet paper, and most shops and restaurants on Crete will have signs reminding you of this practice above the toilet.

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Restroom, Greece. Stan Zurek, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Veterinarian

If you have a pet that needs medical attention or if you encounter a wounded animal, the closest veterinarian to Gavalochori is Georgios Mousourakis, whose clinic is located in Kalyves (Καλύβες) on the road that runs south through the village and takes you to the National Road. The pale yellow building in which the clinic is located is large and has a rounded front window.

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Veterinarian, Kalyves. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori

KEY TELEPHONE NUMBERS

International Emergency Number: 112

This number will allow you to summon police, fire trucks, and ambulances. Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Fire Department: 199

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Fire Department for Forest Fires: 191

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Ambulance: 166

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Doctors SOS: 1016

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Medical Advice: 197

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Poison First Aid: 21077-93777

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Vamos Health Center: 28250-22580, 28250-22583, 28250-22582, 28253-40401

Languages spoken depend on the person staffing the phone.

 

Dentist (Georgios Papadogiorgakis in Vamos): 28250-23336

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Pharmacy (in Almyrida): 28250-31388

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Veterinarian (Georgios Mousourakis in Kalyves): 28250-32186

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Police: 100

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Police Department of Vryses: 2825 051205

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English, but they are not fluent in English.

 

Police Department of Chania: 28210-25856, 28210-28744

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English, but they are not fluent in English.

 

Tourist Police of Chania: 28210-25931, 28210-53333

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English, but they are not fluent in English.

 

Road Traffic Police: 28210-25906

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek, English, and German.

 

Almyrida Taxi (based in Gavalochori): 69746-40905

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Internet help: 13788; then press 9 and then 2

Individuals staffing this number speak Greek and English.

 

Virus Computer Store (in Kalyves): 28252-82050

Explore all practical info
S.M. Fronimos Supermarket

S.M. Fronimos Supermarket

At village center
Gavalochori
Lourakis Mini Market

Lourakis Mini Market

At village center
Gavalochori
Piraeus ATM

Piraeus ATM

6 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Pharmacy
3 km from Gavalochori
Vamos
Health Center Vamos

Health Center Vamos

3 km from Gavalochori
Vamos
Dentist
3 km from Gavalochori
Vamos
Georgios Mousourakis Veterinary Clinic

Georgios Mousourakis Veterinary Clinic

6 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Post Office

Post Office

8.2 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Piraeus Bank and ATM

Piraeus Bank and ATM

4 km from Gavalochori
Vamos
Piraeus Bank and ATM

Piraeus ATM

4 km from Gavalochori
Almyrida
SYNKA Supermarket

SYNKA Supermarket

9 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Supermarket Chalkiadakis

Supermarket Chalkiadakis

25 km from Gavalochori
Chania
Pharmacy
4 km from Gavalochori
Almyrida
Saint George General Hospital

Saint George General Hospital

27 km from Gavalochori
Chania
Private Hospital Tsepeti

Private Hospital Tsepeti

26 km from Gavalochori
Chania
Laundry
8 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Shoe Repair

Shoe Repair

7 km from Gavalochori
Kalyves
Auto Repair Mihalis

Auto Repair Mihalis

2 km from Gavalochori
Vamos
Garbage Bins

Garbage Bins

0.35 km from main square
Gavalochori
Garbage Bins

Garbage Bins

0.6 km from main square
Gavalochori
Post Box
Gavalochori
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