For a day trip or an alternative route to Omalos, take the scenic road from Hania via the village of Perivolia to Theriso (Θέρισο), 14km south. This spectacular drive follows a coursing stream through a green oasis and the 6km Theriso Gorge. At the foot of the Lefka Ori
(White Mountains), at 500m above sea level, Theriso was the site of historical battles against the Turks and is famous for its connection with Eleftherios Venizelos and the late-19th-century revolutionary period in Crete. These days it’s popular for its fine tavernas that host marathon Sunday lunches.
Two tavernas vie for top billing. Leventogiannis Taverna has a lovely courtyard under a giant canopy of plane trees and makes a delicious and sizeable kreatotourta (local meat pie). Antartis has excellent mezedhes and Cretan food like staka, a goat’s-milk sauce over juicy cubes of goat meat.
Just past the village on your right, the small Museum of National Resistance chronicles Crete’s resistance movement from 1941 to 1945. It has a monument outside paying tribute to a female resistance fighter. The millstone on display was used by Turkish occupiers in 1821 to crush Chrysi Tripiti to death in the local olive press.
A steep and winding road takes you through rugged mountain terrain and around an ever-changing landscape of plane, olive, orange, eucalyptus and pine trees through the villages of Zourva to Meskla and Lakki, where you can continue to Omalos or head back to Chania.