One of the nicest villages in Crete is the forested village of Kato Simi by Viannos in Heraklion Prefecture. Together with the ruined village of Pano Simi, they lie in the heart of the largest pine forest of Crete, with the neighboring Selakano and Malles woods included. The whole area is full of water springs gathering water from the slopes of the Dikti Range, that waters plane trees, walnut, cherry, and many other species of trees. In autumn they give the area colorful scenery mostly reminiscent of parts of northern Greece.
Visitors of the area will have the opportunity to admire the small waterfalls and wander in the amazing forest that covers the village from each side and visit the church Galatoktisti (built with milk instead of water). Moreover, it is worth wandering in the ancient sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite beneath ancient plane trees.
Moreover, the visitor can drive to Omalos Plateau with the beautiful alpine lake by hiking along an old pine-wooded trail and after crossing one of the nicest places of Crete with amazing views around, the “Balcony” of Paradise.
Kato Symi was the theatre of one of the most important historical events in Modern Cretan History. In 1943, just before reaching the village, some rebels killed about 100 Germans. Therefore, the German troops devastated the entire province of Viannos, while killing all men of the area. Between PEfkos village and Kato Symi, you will still see the ruined houses that the Greek State started building for housing the local populations after the German Occupation, but they were never finished.