TRIPS

Sougia

Sougia is a little seaside village in southern Crete, 70 kilometers south of Chania.

Sougia is built at the exit of the Agia Eirini gorge, west of the Agierinioti streambed, and stands out for its big, beautiful beach that never fills up with people and its relaxed casual atmosphere.

Sougia became known from the young in age or soul, who spent their vacation in their tents under the trees of the beach.
Especially 20 years ago the situation was completely hippie in Sougia, but today it has begun to change.

The scenes still appear every summer and the beach in her eastern side continues to attract nudists, but less than before.

Paleochora

Paleochora (or Paliochora as you might find it) is on the southwest coast of Crete and in a distance 70km from Chania and 200km from Heraklion.

It is built on a peninsula between two picturesque bays. It is surrounded by the Libyan Sea and it is rightly regarded as “Bride of the Libyan” and “Land of the sun”.

The village offers ALL THE FACILITIES that a visitor needs in our land. You will find everything you find in a city. Banks, Doctors, Pharmacies, Police, Post Office, OTE, Cinema, Bars, Disco, Car Rental, etc..

There are several hiking trails with the European paths E4 & E1, but also outside of them where all come to one of the most beautiful beaches.

Samaria Gorge

The canyon is the biggest in Europe with 18 km length and the road that we walk in it is 14 km. His width ranges from 150 to 3 meters, at its narrowest point, the Doors. It was proclaimed a national park, in 1962 to protect rare flora and fauna. In 1980 it was awarded by the Council of Europe as one of the most beautiful areas.

Due to its wild form, is the only place that the “beast” still lives as the locals call the cretan wild goat. A lot of rare species of birds also live and along the gorge many and rare herbs such as burning bush and wild flowers grow.

In the gorge is forbidden: hunting, setting fires, collecting flowers and herbs, and also spending the night. Throughout the length of the route there are guards but also guides with mules that carry with a fare, whoever has a problem.

Chania

The city of Chania and capital of the prefecture stands out for her charm and nobility. It is separated in old and new town. The so-called new town, is a modern urban center, with all the amenities of any big city. Nevertheless the experienced eye of a traveler distinguishes elements of her old nobility. As one walks through the picturesque streets of the old town and observes the architecture building of settlements understands the footsteps of the cultures that marked the country’s history and the culture of people.

A stroll in Chania looks like a fairytale. In every corner of the road your appointment with history renews and in every turn a “hero” waits for you and invites you to go on… The old town of Chania is built around the hill of Kasteli and on the ruins of Minoan Kydonia. The city is surrounded by historic neighborhoods where people of different nationalities, culture and religion lived. The monuments that they left, gave Chania a special character. In Topanas district, which is located in the northern part of the town the wealthy Greeks were inhabited in the years of Turkish occupation. When someone walks on the cobbled streets can see old venetian mansions but also Turkish houses.

Fragokastello

Fragokastello is in Sfakia, in the south coast of west Crete 13 kilometers east of the Chora Sfakion and west of Plakias.

Fragokastello is a small seaside village with a few houses and enough rooms and apartments for tourists.

It is known for the namesake Venetian castle which is saved in a very good condition, the beautiful beaches and the Drosoulites, the ghosts that appear in Fragokastello at dawn every May. However, over the centuries the region showed great monuments, but very few survive today. Many of them were destroyed in wars and in revolutions that took place in the region and the stones from their ruins were used for building the castle.

Fragokastello is in a surprisingly flat small plain, behind which the east White Mountains appear with the gorge and the Kallikrates plateau. This region is one of the many surprises that the nature of Crete offers to its visitors.

Balos lagoon

The famous lagoon of Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and 17km northwest of Kissamos, formed between the Cape Gramvousa and the small Cape Tigani and below the range of Platiskinos. Balos is surely the mostly photographed beach in Crete, a very favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. It is no coincidence that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos with their private yacht many years ago.

Balos is famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery. During the summer, it is visited by thousands of people, who arrive mostly by the ferries running from Kissamos port. If you do not like crowds, you’d better avoid to visit the beach in July and August. Also, a perfect idea is to arrive at Balos in the morning, before the boats arrive from Kissamos. These few hours of remoteness in such a heavenly place will remain etched in your memory forever.
The lagoon of Balos has white sand and exotic white, vivid blue and turquoise waters. The sea is very shallow and warm, ideal for young children. In many places the sand has a lovely pinkish color, because of millions of crushed shells. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder, ideal for a snorkeling. The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected under the Natura 2000 program. Eleonora falcons, shags and cormorants nest in the caves of the area. Moreover, the area is a shelter for the protected monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Despite the protection, some canteens and umbrellas have appeared on the beach in recent years. You can buy water from there and from the bars of the ferries.

Source: Balos lagoon – Travel Guide for Island Crete, Greece cretanbeaches.com

Elafonissi beach

Elafonisi is located 76km west of Chania and 5km south of Chrysoskalitisa Monastery, in the southwesternmost tip of Crete. Elafonisi is an oblong peninsula, which often breaks in two parts by water giving the impression of being a separate island. It is a Natura 2000 protected area. The island is full of sand dunes with sea daffodils and jupiners. The endangered loggerhead sea turtle and several more rare animals and plants find shelter on the island; it is strictly forbidden to remove any plants, animals, shells and sand from the area.

Exotic beaches with white sand and turquoise water, reminding of the Caribbean, are formed on either sides of the peninsula. The sand is pinkish in many places, taking its color from millions of crushed shells. Near the breaking point of the peninsula, the sea water does not exceed 1m in depth, creating a small lagoon, ideal for children. You can easily cross the lagoon in order to reach the opposite site of the peninsula, while carrying your staff with you, because the water is very shallow there.

The eastern side of the beach, in front of the lagoon, is well organized and has the most people. There are umbrellas, showers, lifeguards, snack bars and changing rooms. Also, near the beach there is a huge area for parking and, even further, a few rooms to let. Opposedly, the beaches on either sides of the island are less crowded and are the most beautiful, with amazing azure colors. If you want to stay completely secluded or nude, you can walk along the peninsula until you find a quiet cove that you like! There are some coves available for naturists near the west end of the peninsula.

You can come by car (1.5 hours) or by bus from Chania. The road to Elafonisi is narrow and full of turns, but the beauty of the landscape is stunning; you will cross the beautiful lush green village Elos and the imposing gorge of Topolia . Moreover there are many options for accommodation at Chrisoskalitissa village, 5km to the north. You can eat at Chrissoskalitissa or at Elos (on the way back to Chania).

Source: Elafonissi beach – Travel Guide for Island Crete, Greece cretanbeaches.com

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