Kissamos (Greek: Κίσσαμος) is a town and municipality, multiple (former) bishopric and Latin titular see in the west of the island of Crete, Greece. It is part of the Chania regional unit and of the former Kissamos Province which covers the northwest corner of the island. The city of Kissamos is also known as Kastelli Kissamou and often known simply as Kastelli after the Venetian castle that was there. It is now a port and fishing harbour, with a regular ferry from the Peloponnese via Kythira. A town museum is located in the old Venetian governor’s palace and there have been important archaeological finds in the town, including fine mosaics, dating from the Roman city of Kisamos (Κίσαμος, Latinized as Cisamus). The head town of the municipality (Greek: Δήμος Κισσάμου) is Kastelli-Kissamos itself.


Polirinia was an ancient city-state, near the remnants of which lays nowadays the homonymous Polirinia village, with the name Kissamos. The area was already inhabited since prehistoric times, while the foundation of the ancient city is commonly believed to date around 1,100 BC by Achaean and Laconian settlers. The name “Polirinia” comes from the ancient Greek words “poly”, which means many and “renea”, which means sheep. Therefore, the name implies that the main occupation of the residents of Polirinia was sheep farming.
Polirinia was an ancient city-state with great power, but the same thing was true for its neighboring city-state to the east, Kydonia. During ancient times, ancient Kydonia and ancient Polirinia encountered each other in battle very frequently. However, when the Romans came to Crete, Polirinia moved fast and strategically and made an alliance with them. This gave them an advantage over their neighboring Kydonia city and helped them defeat their opponents, without even leaving time to resist. Thus, the ancient city of Polirinia remained one of the few areas that were not looted and constituted one of the leading cities during the Roman Domination.
The citadel of the ancient city is still preserved on a steep cliff just outside the village, at an altitude of 418 meters. From this strategic location, the observer can enjoy the view of the Libyan and the Cretan Sea. Inside the village, several remains of the Hellenistic, the Roman and the Byzantine period, including the Roman aqueduct, some old houses and a number Venetian arches, are also preserved.
During excavations, a temple dedicated to Artemis was found at a close distance from the citadel of Polirinia and is considered to be the main sanctuary dedicated to the Goddess. At this location, today lays the church of Holy Fathers, made of ancient material to a large extent. You can reach the citadel even on foot if you follow a short yet uphill road.


The archaeological museum is housed in an old government building that was central to the Venetian town of Kastelli. Kastelli took its name from the castle that existed in the town during the Venetian and Turkish periods, some of which can still be seen to this day. Over the years this old government building has served many functions, at one time being a Turkish prison.
Now it houses numerous artifacts and antiquities of the region from the prehistoric to late antiquity period. The museum is divided into sections and runs in chronological order starting on the ground floor and up to the first floor. It is well organized, informative and fascinating with many beautiful displays. For instance it documents the disastrous earthquake of 365AD which hit Crete and decimated Kissamos.

Ground floor

Room 1 – The display begins with a general chronological table and map marking the main archaeological sites of the area and then has a display of Minoan finds from the Nopigia and Drapanias area.
Room 2 – The display begins in the geometric period and focuses on the historical development of the major cities of the region such as Polyrinnia and Falassarna. These two cities flourished in the Hellenistic period as the main land and maritime powers respectively.
Room 3 – The display continues with Hellenistic pottery found locally and shows typical examples of the pottery style of the Western area of Crete – black emblems and patterns embossed on the amphora. This room also houses Hellenistic inscriptions and mostly Roman statues and sculptures.
By the elevator and staircase you can see remnants of the Roman baths kept in situ. The museum building was built over the Roman ruins.

First floor

The whole floor is dedicated to the city of Kissamos and the archaeological digs that have been carried out over the years. Most of the finds are Roman but there is also some evidence of Minoan civilization. The Greco-Roman city of Kissamos flourished as a port due to its strategic position, and its subsequent wealth is evident in the villas, marbles, mosaics and baths that have been uncovered.
Room 4 – The largest room of the museum houses the splendid mosaic floors, taken from villas, that represent amongst other things The Four Seasons. There is also a sundial and sculptures.
Room 5 – Here the exhibition focuses on the economy of the city, with coins and amphora used in trading, on display.
Room 6 – The exhibits here are items of daily life, household items made of various materials such as clay, metal and bone. Some of the pottery shows remarkably skilled craftsmanship. In one large display case is a scene reconstructed from the catastrophic earthquake of 365AD which marked the end of an era.
Room 7 – This last room concentrates on death and its customs. There are funeral gifts from an early 4th Century BC female burial as well as funerary artifacts with inscriptions from the so called early Christian era – a fascinating insight into the funeral customs of the time and emerging Christianity especially since the 5th Century AD.
There is also a display case of exquisite jewellery.
(texts edited by S.M. Markoulaki-Milidakis the form delivered to the museum of the JV tax prehistoric-classical antiquities D.)


Known also as “limni” (that means “lake”) by the local community, is about 15minute walk from Hotel Peli. A place that can be an inspiration for photographical or drawing session. There are also two fish taverns there where you can enjoy your meal sitting just one meter from the sea gazing at the endless blue.


It is located 2 km from Hotel Peli and easily reachable within 35 minutes on foot or within few minutes by taxi (it costs around 5 EUR). The port of Kissamos is a large modern harbour where cargo and ferry boats from Peloponnese come in, through the islands Kithira and Antikithira. Here is also the starting point of the day cruise to Gramvousa Island (fortification) and Balos Bay (turquoise lagoon).
On the way to the Kissamos port going from Hotel Peli on the left side there is a cave housing a little chapel in the rock, called “Damialis”. Here also starts a small tunnel that leads to a little pebble cove – fancied especially by the snorkeling fans.


The centre of the town is reachable easily on foot within 10 minutes from Hotel Peli. There are two parallel shopping streets – the main road Iroon Politechniou and Lionaki-Skalidi street.
In the middle of the main road there is the “Eleftherios Venizelos” square, surrounded by 3 banks with ATMs , a post office, a health clinic, pharmacies and shops. In the old market road, there is also a small square with the cafes, rent a car offices, traditional gyros shops and souvenirs shops. You can also find there the Archaeological Museum and the old chapel of Archangel Michael. From there you can take the downhill street straight to the seaside promenade, where taverns, restaurants, cafe-bars, a candy shop await you.
Opening hours during the summer: Mon, Wed and Sat 8:30-14:00 and Tue, Thu, Fri 8:30-14:00 and re-opening at 18:00-21:00.

Bus Services

Timetables and rates for bus transportation

Distances outside Kissamos town

Chania City Center
Chania Souda Port
Chania Airport “Daskalojannis”
Falassarna Beach
Elafonisi Beach

Distances from Hotel Peli

Distances in Kissamos town

Mavros Molos Beach
Center of Kissamos
Super Market
Banks (ATM machine)
Bus Station
Bus Stop
Archaeological Museum
Kissamos Port

Mavros Molos Beach

The coast “Mavros Molos-Plaka” is a shore length of 500m sandy and the most bustling of the town of Kissamos. Although the area along the coast is populated, there is quiet rich natural vegetation, therefore is protected by special fences. Specifically, along the coast thrives the unique very beautiful endemic species Sea Lilies, which is at risk of extinction and therefore is protected by presidential decree and international treaties. Also, there are many tamarisk trees (in Greek “Armirikia”), which are a kind of salt cedar, that grows and thrives in saline soil and therefore is naturally occurring in many coastal areas whose watery horizon is brackish and serves as a windbreak and for shading the shore.
Mavros Molos means black mole and refers to the black rocks running out to the sea in the middle of the crescent moon shaped beach. The beach has a fringe of cafes and taverns, equipped with the outdoor showers.
Mavros Molos beach is a public, sandy and gently shelving beach, secured by life guards and certified with the Blue Flag, where umbrellas and sunbeds are payable approximately 5 euro per set. The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety and Other Services.


The ancient Falasarna is located 59km west of Chania, and consists of 2 large beaches. Here was the ancient maritime port of Polyrinia. The name comes from the nymph Falasarna. Falasarna was an important city of Polyrinia, which had their own currency depicting a woman on one side and the letters FA on the other. In the ruined city you can watch the city walls, parts of the wall of the Acropolis, the remains of houses, tombs and a stone throne, which is alleged to be dedicated to the God of the Sea, Poseidon. The ancient port is still under excavation.


The lagoon of Balos located in Cape Gramvousa, the southwest point of Crete near the town of Kissamos. You can go to Balos by boat from Kissamos or drive a dirt road which at the end needs a little hiking. The sea is warm with clear waters and stunning colored sand. Considered the most impressive part of the prefecture of Chania along with Elafonisi.


Elafonisi is located near the southwestern corner of the island, 45km from Kissamos and 76km from Chania. The nearby island (100m away from the mainland) is easily reachable on foot thanks to the shallow waters! The water owes its pink colour to the thousands of shells that have been ground for years giving the beach a spectacular look. On the coast there are lilies, bushes and trees protected by the European nature conservation program Natura 2000. On the way to the famous beach, you can visit the monastery of Chrisoskalitisa with an breathtaking view over the sea.