Argiroupoli, the village of the springs
Tired of the beach? Want to show your kids something a little different? A day trip to the village of Argiroupoli, just southwest of Rethymno and high up in the Cretan mountains, offers a look into Cretan village life with plenty of things to see and do!
Where is Argiroupoli?
Argyroupoli is a small picturesque town in the prefecture of Rethymnon, built in a beautiful location at an altitude of 260 meters above the valley of the river Mousela.
Argiroupoli is a popular destination for locals during all seasons: its cool mountain air is refreshing, and the lower village’s numerous waterfalls offer an attractive setting for a lazy lunch followed by a walk.
What to do in Argiroupoli?
Just five minutes drive outside of Argiroupolis is a small chapel with a pleasant walk to a Roman necropolis (graveyard) further down the road.
There visitors should admire the carved Greco-Roman tombs, the evergreen plane tree with its impressive trunk diameter and the temple of the Five Virgins. Locals insist that this tree is one of the oldest, and definitely the largest in Crete.
Argyroupoli is built on the site of ancient Lappa, one of the most important cities of Crete in ancient times. Lappa the name of the ancient Minoan city that once stood here, but there is little evidence left of it these days, though the name lives on through the local people’s pride.
Lappa flourished during the Roman period (it was estimated to have had around 10,000 inhabitants) and minted numerous coins.
According to Greek mythology, this part of Crete was founded by Greek hero Agamemnon.
The General Assembly of the Cretans for the union of the island with Greece was held in Argyroupoli.
Make sure that you stop and admire the mosaic floor of the Roman period as well as the church of Agia Paraskevi.
Hidden Gem: the village of Nisi
The abandoned village of Nisi (ΝΗΣΙ in Greek) has to be one of the best-kept secrets around Argiroupoli. The village, abandoned in the 1960s, has long since crumbled into a state of elegant disrepair—the only residents now are herds of goats and the occasional shepherd.
If you make it to Nisi, you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully desolate village that’s eerily empty, with plenty of crumbling architecture to admire, but be careful of your step!
Strings of Argiroupolis: a refreshing stop
The natural beauty of the area is fascinating and is an ideal destination for nature lovers. The area is shaded and lush, even in the summer.
Special mention should be made of the springs of Argiroupolis. It is an idyllic location with dense vegetation, old trees, running water, small waterfalls, ponds with trouts and water mills.
Chapel of Agios Ioannis (Agia Dynami)
In the same place, under a rock, is the chapel of Agios Ioannis (Agia Dynami). The sanctuary of the church is formed in a cave, where water springs and is channeled through an underground tunnel into the area surrounding the temple.
Have a Cretan meal!
If you visit Argiroupoli, make sure that you have a meal in one of the traditional taverns. There you can admire the live trout and sturgeon and also taste anticristo, lamb roasted in a traditional Cretan way.
Looking for accommodation in Rethymnon, Crete? Have a look at our family-friendly suggestions in the area of Rethymnon.
Families should know
- Like many Cretan villages, Argiroupoli isn’t always stroller friendly with its many steps and uneven roads
- In the winter, rain often blocks access to Nisi and a 4×4 is recommended for driving through the terrain to get here
- While beautiful, watch your kids when at Nisi—they may be tempted to clamber over the old ruins, which could cause accidents
- Check out the Lappa Avocado store in Argiroupolis for an amazing plethora of avocado-based products—ideal for gifts!
- In summer, there are sometimes donkey rides available
Best season to visit
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