Paleochora is a small town located 77 km south of Chania, at the southwest coastline of Crete and it’s built on a small peninsula of 400m width and 700m length. The town is set along 11 km of coastline bordering the Libyan Sea. Paleochora is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Kalamydi. It is the capital town of the municipality of Pelekanos and its population was 2213 in the 2001 census. Paleochora's economy is based on tourism and agriculture (mainly tomatoes cultivated in glass houses and also olive oil). It is a relaxing holiday destination since the early 1970s when it was popular with hippies. Paleochora is currently one of the fastest growing tourist towns on Crete.
Paleochora's wider area has crystal clear waters, well organised beaches, and beautiful isolated small anchorages. It is served by numerous hotels, restaurants, tavernas, cafés, bars, and nightclubs. Facilities in Paleochora include bank branches, a post office, a central telephone office, a health centre, doctor's offices, dentists, chemists, a police station, a coast guard and customs office, and many types of stores. Ferry boats connecting the town with Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Loutro, Chora Sfakion and Gavdos dock in the local harbor.
In 1278, the Venetian general Marino Gradenigo built a fort in the Palechora area, called the "Castel Selino". The fort gave its name to the whole province, previously called "Orina", which was then renamed "Selino". The fort was destroyed in 1332 and it was rebuilt in 1334. Near the fort, the Venetians established a new settlement for workers and merchants called Vourgos. The pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa destroyed the fort in 1539, but later in 1595 Dolf revamped it. In 1645, the Turks conquered the town and modified the fort to suit their needs. In 1834 an English traveler named Robert Pashley found the fort completely destroyed and the whole area without any inhabitants and with only a granary and one or two small buildings left. In 1866 the recolonization of Paleochora began. During the Battle of Crete during World War II, the town was the scene of fighting between motorcycle-riding troops of the German 95th Reconnaissance Battalion and the Eighth Greek Regiment (Provisional) with elements of the Cretan Gendarmerie. The general phase of urbanization that started in other parts of Greece in the 1960s, took place in the 1950s on the nearby island of Gavdos. During that period the islanders exchanged their land on Gavdos for ex-Turkish land on Crete, which had now become exchangeable through a state program. They created a community known as "Gavdiotika", in the 'old town' section of Paleochora.
The Coves of Paleochora are consecutive small bays that start 1.5 km west of Paleochora (80km south of Chania) and extend 2.5 km to the west, till Cape Grammenos. The beaches are a complex of adjacent coves with crystal clear waters and spectacular pebbles. The main road, connecting Paleochora and Koundoura, runs along the coves. For this reason, they are not preferred by nudists.
The secluded beaches by village Anidri, known as Gialiskari or Dialiskari, are surely some of the most beautiful beaches of Crete. Gialiskari is located 4km east of Paleochora and 80km South of Chania. The beaches are the easternmost beaches of the coasts of Paleochora, having an overall length of 18km.
The beach of Pahia Ammos (i.e. Coarse Sand) is located on the west side of Paleochora, 79km south of Chania. Pahia Ammos has been awarded with a blue flag, which confirms that this is a safe and clean beach.
The peninsula of Grammeno(s) is located 85km south of Chania and 5km east of Paleochora, on the road connecting Paleochora with Koudoura. Koudoura is a warm area with thousands greenhouses, where most citizens of the area work.
The fortresses built by the Venetians along the south shores of Crete were very few, perhaps because of the port-less and bay-less coastline. One of them, however, was the fort of Selino (in the site of modern Paleochora). This fortress was built around the neck of a protrusion of land into the sea, so as to support the domination of the Venetians in the area, which was inhabited by many rebels.
Votsala is the 1km long pebbly beach located after the west end of Paleochora harbor, 79km south of Chania. Votsala and Pahia Ammos are the two beaches next to Paleohora town. Votsala is less organized and preferred than the sandy beach of Pahia Ammos. The beach is preferred by those who want to be close to the town and have all amenities closeby.
At a forgotten area of the region Selino in South Chania, you will meet the well hidden gorge of Pelekaniotis River. It is the river with the most water flow in Selino and it is so important that the whole municipality of Paleochora is named Pelekanos. It has water all year round and forms a lush green valley at its exit, at Maherota location.
The museum of Acritans of Europe is housed in the center of Paleochora town, in the old boarding house. It was established on July 2006 and funded by the program "Culture 2000».
At the end of the long beach or a Pahia Ammos, at the west side of Paleochora, there is the Horse of Paleochora. This is not an animal but a very large and impressive rock of conglomerate limestone that reminds of a horse head. With a little imagination one can see the face and the eyes of the horse watching the long sandy beach that stretches in front of it.