Small village with panoramic views
A traditional village located between Kefalas and Vamos in the Apokoronas region of Chania prefecture. The area consists of rolling hills and lush, fertile valleys bordered by the impressive White Mountains to the south and the glistening Mediterranean to the North.
Xirosterni is comprised of old traditional homes with lovely views of both Souda Bay and the White Mountains. There are no hotels, rental rooms or restaurants here - it is strictly residential with one village kafeneio. Only 2kms from the many amenities in Vamos (renouned restaurants, a post office, bank, and tourist shop), 9kms from Kalyves, and 6kms from the beach at Almyrida, Xirosterni has a private, remote feeling while still being well connected. In neighboring Gavalochori, you can visit a workshop of traditional cretan embroidery along with a folklore museum. The village is known for a music festival that is held every year on August 5th.
Xirosterni used to have the name ‘Viola’ – an attractive local flower. The new name Xirosterni is a combination of two greek words which means "dry cistern," or "dry well." During the Ottoman rule, a Turk ordered a villager to pull water out of the cistern for his horse to drink. The villager replied that there was no water, to avoid the humiliation of serving the enemy. The Turk then said angrily "why do you call the town Viola? You should call it Xirosterni," (dry cistern).
Every 5th and 6th of August, a local festival takes place with Cretan music (lyre and lute), dancing and food prepared by the village's people. An old time lyre player, singing for his friends, once said, "To Xerosterniano nero lene pos ehi avdeles, ma kino to marioliko vgazi omorfous glentzedes," meaning, "They say that the water of Xirosterni has leeches, but this beautiful town gives birth to handsome dancers-singers." Later Nikos Xilouris, a famous singer from Anogia Crete, changed it to, "They say that the water of Xirosterni has leeches, but this beautiful town gives birth to beautiful young women." Every year people come from all over Crete and abroad for this occasion.