The “Monte Vardia” is situated 5 km east of the city centre and not too far from the Harbor of Souda and local airport. Crete, and especially the prefecture of Chania, has very many sights worth visiting. But it surely is worth one’s while to enjoy the natural and historical places, monasteries and unique caves found on the Peninsula. First stop would be a mere 500m north-east of the hotel, at the historical church of Profiti Ilias. The revolutionary Cretans gathered here in 1897 to demand union with Greece. Here also are the graves of Eleftherios Venizelos (1864 – 1935), a prominent figure in the history of Modern Greece and his son’s Sofoklis, who too was an important politician during that time.
Continuing from here, one may visit a number of the peninsula’s villages with their interesting popular architecture which has its roots in the days of Venetian rule.
Near the village of Pazinos, for example, is the monastery of Saint John the Merciful, a characteristic example of western monasteries and 16th century architecture.
On the way to the airport is Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) an impressive monastery from the Venetian rule, built in the early 17th century by the Giancarolo brothers, who were monks.Further down, going through a ravine, one arrives at the Gouvernetou Monastery (16th century), with Venetian sculptures on its façade. A footpath leads to one of the prettiest areas of the prefecture, dotted with stalactite-lined caves which served as hermitages. 500m further on, is the Bear Cave (Arkoudospilia) with its impressive natural rock formation of a bear.
This scenic tour ends at the 16th century Catholic monastery of Saint John the Hermit. The complex is awesome, as it is built in the river bed of the ravine and in harmony with its wild surroundings.
Last but not least one can enjoy the beautiful peninsula beaches such as those of Kalathas, Tarsana, Stavros and Marathi where one can find the ruins of Ancient Minoa. To anyone looking fr peace and quiet, the creeks of Maxairidas and Seitan havens, which can be reached on foot, offer comparative seclusion.
The altitude of the western side of the peninsula on which the hotel is situated, endowed the location with strategic advantage, used as such during Turkish occupation and especially during the last liberating rebellion of 1896-97 as a defence line to protect the local Christians of the liberation army camp. Thus the name “Monte Vardia”. “Monte” is derived from the latin mons or montis, meaning mountain, and “Vardia” an Italian derivative, meaning guard post. Hence “mountain guard post”.
(Historical events of the Akrotiri Peninsula and definition of “Monte Vardia” provided by the historian E. Delakis)