Gavalochori is a traditional, picturesque Cretan village of the Apokoronas region. It is located near the villages of Vamos and Douliana, about 25 kilometers southeast of the city of Chania. Although it is not as famous as other villages of the Apokoronas area, it is definitely one of the most beautiful since it has retained its architecture. Gavalochori has been listed as an historical site and a landscape of special natural beauty, with remarkable elements of folk architecture without significant modern alterations and with special interest in terms of culture.
According to tradition, it is named after the Gavalas family one of the twelve Byzantne families who settled in the area during the reign of the Venetians in 1082. The village was mentioned by Francesco Barocci in 1577 as Gavaloghori Astiraca. During the Venetian times became the socio-economic center of the area and architectural specimens of that period are preserved to this day.
The traditional architecture can be found everywhere in the village. Well-preserved neighborhoods, stone-built houses, colors, arches and beautiful courtyards with flowers compose the scene of the small settlement that is surrounded by olive and carob trees. Many buildings have been restored such as the old school and the 18th century olive mill with its characteristic arches. The mill has been renovated and reveals the long history of olive oil production in Crete.
In the Folklore Museum, a Venetian building with stone arches, you can see the history and the culture of the village. Among the exhibits is a wedding dress made of "kopaneli", a traditional handmade lace technique for which the women of the village are famous. In the Women's Cooperative of handicrafts and agrotourism, which is located in the central square, various knitted embroideries and laces of delicate art are produced that visitors can buy. In and around the village there are 14 churches, showing the deep faith of the locals. The most famous church is the Virgin Mary with the wall plaque on the door drum that states that the church was completed in 1628. Other churches worth visit is the Saint Sergios and Saint Paul church.
Trails around Gavalochori are offered for beautiful walks in nature. In the outskirts of the village, you can find the 24 famous Venetian Wells, which played an important role in the water supply of the village in the past. The Wells dating from the 15th-16th century were in use until recently. Some of them are protected by an arched structure, built of dry stone. Near the village you can also find the Roman cemetery. Although Gavalochori is not as famous as the neighboring Vamos, it is definitely a place worth visiting and exploring.