Maybe your best bet for a beautiful day at the beach on Akrotiri peninsula, Crete. The beach is pretty big (and not extremely crowded) and the water is pretty clear even if the sea bottom is mostly sandy. Cold bears and snacks are in close range and you have all the necessary ingredients for a quiet and relaxing day.
I have stopped here after visiting Stavros in the morning.
Only one restaurant on the beach, the Kalathas Taverna. Just your typical Greek taverna but with a very slow service and lazy owner. However the food was decent so it got passing grades from me.
One should never miss seing Zorba the Greek before visiting Crete. Then, one should never miss going to Stavros to be actually on the beach where several scene of this classic movie were shot. The mountain on the right side of the bay is absolutely identical. The feeling is awesome.
I have heard after I visited Stavros that an Oscar statue is proudly presented in one restaurant (Christiana)in the village.
Swimming did not look the best choice here as in the village nearby (Kalathas), everything looked nicer from beach to sea. There is a small bay organised and protected from the sea which looked very rough.
Polyrinia was one of the most important cities in West of Crete during the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Its situation, on top of the mountains, 6 km South of Kissamos, made easy to see the gulf, the harbour and the road from the coast to the city.
Today's Polyrinia is built on the ruins of the ancient city. The view is fantastic. Part of the ruins can be seen on top of a mountain. The rests of a hellenistic temple were used to build a church, the cemetery is beside. Also the rest of a venetian wall can be seen near the acropolis.
If you go to see the ruins, take the road that goes up just before arriving to the village. You can reach easily the acropolis. If you want to see the village, do it walking. The streets are very narrow and it is not easy to maneuver.
The ruins of the ancient city of Falasarna are near the beach.
As the site is not fenced and the ticket office is closed, you can enter freely.
Due to earthquakes and telluric movements the coast has risen along the years, so that the ancient port is now inland.
the lake of Kournas, between Rethymnon and Chania (exit from Georgioupolis), is the only freshwater lake of Creta. It's situated between the mountains, and at the shores are living many turtles. There are some taverna's and a possibility to rent a waterbike.
on the peninsula Akrotiri, near Chania, there are 3 monastery. Agia Triada was founded in the beginning of the 17th century and was a prominent religious school until about 40 years ago. It is well worth a visit. Following a poor but beautiful road for 4 km to the north of Agia Triada, the road ends at the 16th century Moni Gouverneto. The building itself is quite plain but the church inside has a nice sculpted Venetian facade.
From Moni Gouverneto a good path heads down towards the north and the ruins of Moni Katholiko. On the way, after about 10 minutes walk you will pass the Bear Cave. It is a large chamber with a massive stalagmite in the middle resembling the shape of a bear. In antique times this cave was dedicated to the goddess Artemis
After walking down for another 15 minutes you arrive at the 11th century monastery of Katholiko . It was abandoned in the 16th century because of the numerous raids by pirates. The monastery building spans a small gorge with a massive stone bridge.
From Katholiko, a small footpath follows the gorge to the sea where the old harbour of the monasteries is.
We did this trip on a very hot day, and it was to hot to do this. Plan it on the end of the day!
from the harbour of Kissamos we went to the island Gramvousa. We visited the fort on the mountain, and after 1 and a half hour again on the boat to the beach of Balos. it was beautiful on a very hot day.
As you walk around this town notice the signs. Many have nothing at all to do with what the shops sell. One example is the English sign "FURS" the shop sells handcrafted gift items, no furs. The postcard shop sign reads "Common."
Many of the shop owners like to use english signs to attract potential patrons.
There are many wonderful shops, tavernas and artisans to visit along the wharf.
You can hire the carriage to take you through old town. Travel through the wonderfully ancient narrow alley's and discover the heart of Chania.
Crete's only real fresh water lake, some 4km. inland from Georgioupolis.
Coming from the English Lake District, we were bound not to be overly impressed by this splash of water! Not particularly deep or large, it is in a nice location, with the mountains surrounding it. The colours of the water alter according to the time of day and season and obviously so does the depth. It was a striking blue/green colour the day we were there and there was still a reasonable amount of water around .
A couple of tavernas pleasantly situated overlook the lake and there are a few pedaloes to hire. People swim here, but I didn't fancy it! It's supposedly full of eels. Not my favourite creatures!!!
Above the lake I remember there was development going on and rooms to rent.
The lake seems to be a popular place to walk to if you are staying in Georgiopoulis.
This turned out to be a disappointment, I was looking forward to Paleochora having read so much about it . It all seemed very modern and the place was teeming with people. When we stopped for a beer it was an expensive draught version complete with fancy doily. The next place was better with bottled beer at a more reasonable price. There didn't appear to be much Greek in evidence either. I know it has always been a backpackers destination, owing to it's situation in the far south west and the fact that there is a ferry service to other coastal villages in the south, as well as Gavdos island. It makes it a good base for hopping along the coast.
The beaches were not as brilliant as I had been led to believe, with the large sandy one having a line of rocks in the water. There was at least a good shady area at the back of this beach, under the trees and there were some nice waves rolling in due to the shelving sand. The shingly one seemed difficult to access the nicer bit.
It's a good area for hiking, either in the mountains or along coastal trails. Get a good map.
Having had my moan, I would be willing to give this place a second chance. It just seemed more geared for tourists (who were evident) than we had anticipated and the establishments seemed to be fairly swish.
Loads of places to stay, although it is now "packaged" and there is a campsite.
Buses run from Chania five times a day.
Another place that's lost it's identity. In 1984 the village square, shaded by eucalyptus trees, was a pleasant place to while away an hour or two. Simple tavernas lined the square, and I think there was maybe one bar where you went if you wanted to be seen. We preferred to drink at the tavernas where it was cheaper and felt more "local".
We stayed in an old hotel on the square, I think with shared facilities, which gave us good views of local village life.
Down by the River Almyrou, there was an area of land that looked like a bomb site, maybe a car-park. We had a drink at a taverna here and watched the boats on the river.
The small cresent shaped beach to the west of the village was empty and had one taverna. On a later visit in 2001 we were shocked at the fenced off areas of so many new establishments here. The beach was packed as well. We had actually been stuck in a queue of traffic all piling into Georgioupolis.
The other shock was all the development on the National highway running eastwards along the main beach. Huge complexes on the side of this busy road. You could hardly call this the real Crete.
My goodness, this was a rough trek! The last 5 km. (which seemed more like 10 miles) was nothing more than a pot-holed dust track. IWe had to have the windows shut to prevent being covered in dust. By the time we got to Elafonisi, we were nearly boiled alive.
A pretty place with shallow, turquoise lagoon like waters with an island and rocky outlets you can wade to. Not good for swimming as it is so shallow. and full of sand spits. The sand is an amazing pink colour, from the thousands of tiny pink shells. We were told to look for pink starfish but didn't see any.
There was only one kantina here in 1992 which sold small souvlaki in pitta bread and seemed to be very much a Greek affair. The place seemed to be patronised by the lads from the kitchen who were enjoying the souvlaki.
Our photos don't do the place justice.
Again, I presume there will be more here now and not so much the lovely idyll it was.
A 14th c. Venetian fortress, 16km. east of Chora Sfakion. Built on a huge level plateau, it dominates the unimpressive landscape here. Originally erected to maintain order amongst the troublesome locals and keep out pirates. Those defending the castle in 1828 were all slaughtered by the Turks and are said today to haunt the place every May.
All that remains of the castle is a shell, with the castellated walls and corner towers standing guard over the desolate place.
There is an extremely shallow sandy beach here, very popular with day trippers, complete with tavernas and nowadays even accommodation. Good views of the castle are to be had if you walk out to sea from the beach.
Quieter beaches can be found to both the east and west of the castle beach.
Chania, in Western Crete, is Crete's second town and has a striking waterfront. Turkish and Venetian buildings crowd the harbourside. Behind are the picturesque White Mountains forming a spectacular backdrop.
It's a vibrant place, full of interesting narrow streets with overhanging buildings., There is
an inner and outer harbour where cafes and restaurants await your custom. Actually, we didn't like the schlepping (or the prices) so walked on by! The harbour is a great area for walking and admiring the view of the town from..
There is an excellent indoor market where we bought fresh prawns and strawberries. I'm a real sucker for markets and Chania's didn't disappoint.
Many, many places to eat, from the relatively simple to the downright swish and exorbitantly expensive.
Chania has plenty of accommodation but again, lots of packages stay here so do a bit of research first. The beaches to the west of Chania have now become mega resorts, resulting in main road ribbon development. Staying in any of these resorts usually involves having to cross the National Highway to get to the beach. Not ideal.
Above Chania, are Venezelos' graves, Eleftherios and his son, Sophocles. They are in a small park where there are superb views over Chania from. Unfortunately when we visited, the weather was not very clear.
When we were in Chania, we visited the zoo which was a bit grim, really. A nice park but caged animals...?? I doubt it is still there now.
Everyone makes this trip over the mountains and through the Imbros Gorge, whether it's on a coach or at your own leisure. Certainly the road is spectacular, with sheer drops and hair-pin bends and the lovely plains.
There are not many passing places on this road so if you get stuck behind a coach there's not a lot you can do.
On a clear day there are wonderful views to Gavdos Island, in the Libyan Sea, south of Chora Sfakion.
Chora Sfakion itself didn't appear to have changed too much from the '80's, I suppose the restaurants looked more sophisticated, catering for the ever present gorge walkers. There were about 30 coaches waiting for them and as the boat arrived and disgorged them, we made a hasty retreat to the car so we could set off before the coaches!!!
We actually stayed in the village on our first trip to Crete, in 1982. The accommodation was very basic, with a shared shower room and toilet. As the rooms opened onto the flat roof terrace, we had some quite good views . My lasting memory of this place was losing the soap down the toilet as it leapt out of my hands whilst showering!!
When Chora Sfakion finally hoves in to view it's a sight worth waiting for. A small port village, tucked into the very barren hills, makes a striking picture.
Plenty of accommodation and tavernas.
There are buses to various parts of the island .
Ferry boats to and from Ag. Roumeli (end of Samaria Gorge walk) , also Loutro, Souyia and Paleochora.
There is no decent beach here but if you are into walking and have time to kill, there are some decent beaches to the west. Some boat excursions call at them.
The marble arches, the wooden stairs, the big windows, the spacious rooms, gives you an idea of how...more
Nice, small hotel close to the sea. The hotel room we were staying was ok. The kitchenette and...more
Kasteli Kissamos, Kissamos, 73400, gr