Welcome to Hania to Omalos
If you detour up a left fork in the road after Fournes, you’ll twist and turn along a gorge offering beautiful views to Meskla. Although the bottom part of the town is not particularly attractive, the road becomes more scenic as it winds uphill to the modern, multicoloured Church of the Panagia. Next to it is a 14th-century chapel built on the foundations of a 6th-century basilica that might have been built on an even earlier Temple of Aphrodite. At the entrance to the town a sign directs you to the Chapel of the Metamorfosis Sotiros (Chapel of the Transfiguration of the Saviour) that contains 14th-century frescoes. The fresco of the Transfiguration on the southern wall is particularly impressive.
On the main Hania–Omalos road south of Fournes, the excellent Botanical Park is well-signposted about half-way between Fournes and Lakki. It was created by four brothers who transformed the family’s 200 acres of agricultural land into a hilly park of medicinal, tropical, ornamental and fruit trees, all well-signed and beautifully arrayed from mountaintop to valley floor. Their restaurant (mains €5 to €11) is a must for heaping regional dishes using locally sourced ingredients, some grown right in the park. Tables fill a hill-top terrace with sweeping views. The kitchen closes at 6pm.
The main road continues to the unspoilt village of Lakki (la-kee), 24km from Hania, which affords stunning views in all directions, and has a striking church. The village was a centre of resistance during both the uprising against the Turks and against the Germans in WWII.
Rooms for Rent Nikolas has comfortable, simple rooms above a taverna, with magnificent views over the valley.