Agia Galini is a picturesque fishing village on the south coast of Crete laying amidst the sea and the mountain. It is set in a beautiful location overlooking the gulf of Messara, 61 km southeast of Rethymnon and 68 km southwest of Heraklion. Visitors are welcome to dive in the tranquil crystalline waters of the beach, bask in the sun or take a walk around the scenic harbour. A stroll through the narrow alleys, the beautiful houses that are amphitheatrically perched on the side of the hill, the numerous souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and local taverns gratefully grant you a feeling of belonging.
The name of the area and the hotel came from a painter named Lenikos who lived here and was really known and beloved by the natives. Lenikos was sitting on the rock which is the most typical point for the area whenever he had inspiration so it was named with his name in order to honor him.
Agia Galini is set at the ancient Minoan city of Soulia, one of the 100 cities of Crete mentioned by Homer. It was a place of worship with a temple dedicated to goddess Artemis, a place that stood still until the 7th century when it was ruined by a pirate attack. Remnants of its former glory can now be found at the village’s church. The area’s bay was later used for ship anchorage, as the perfect place to load munitions during the wars of 1821 and 1866 and as the ultimate spot for olive trade. The village was first inhabited in 1890 and was named by the Empress of Byzantium Athinais who faced a big storm during her journey of exile to Africa and begged Virgin Mary for sea calmness (galini) until she reached the shore. Suddenly the sea became calm and the Empress with her crew safely reached the shore. To honour Virgin Mary, they built a church named Agia Galini, featuring today the village’s cemetery.
In Agia Galini one can also visit the cave of Daedalus where according to the famous myth, he hid when persecuted by King Minos. From there he succeeded to fly to his freedom with his son Icarus by using wings glued with wax that he built himself. The rock that was used as the starting point of their flight is located right in the harbour and looks at the sea as if still waving farewell to both of them for their fateful journey.
At this point there are two statues of Daedalus and Icarus that are easily accessible to the visitor along with a small theatre hosting several events over the summer.