Coastal villages

Despite the wildness of the mountains, the southern coast of Sfakia faces the Libyan Sea an offers us beaches of extreme beauty. Sandy beaches at the edge of the gorges and pebble coasts having the imposingly high mountains as a background. On the west of Sfakia municipality you will find Agia Roumeli that is built on the ruins of the ancient Dorian city of Tarra. Although it is not connected to the road network, you can visit it by ship from Sougia, Paleohora or Hora Sfakion.

On the east of Agia Roumeli you will find the magnificent sandy and pebble beach of Agios Pavlos with its crystal clear waters, as well as Agios Pavlos stone church of the 10th century.

Loutro is another picturesque coastal village. A small harbour protected from the wind, with white houses with blue windows and small taverns, all reminding of a Cycladic island. During the Hellenistic period, Loutro, or else ancient Anopolis, had its own currency. Part of ancient Anopolis was the ancient harbour Phoenix, which was the only natural harbour of the coast and long before the arrival of the Venetians, it was used by Sarakini pirates as a slave market.

Next to Loutro there are many other beaches along the wonderful blue sea. Some of them are the well-known beaches of Phoenix, Likos, Marmara (at the edge of Aradena gorge) and Glika Nera, which is also the favourite of nudists.

The capital of Sfakia Municipality is Hora Sfakion, located 75km far from Chania. This picturesque little harbour could become the base for your excursions in the magnificent area of Sfakia. There are boats leaving every day for Loutro and Agia Roumeli as well as for the most south part of Europe, Gavdos; the island of mythical Calypso.

On the east of Hora Sfakion, in Komitades village, you will find the church of Virgin Mary the Thimiani where the Cretan Revolution started officially on the last Sunday of May, in 1821. However, that didn't lead to the liberation of the island but it took more revolutions until, 92 years later, Crete was united with Greece.

Heading to the east we reach Fragokastelo with the homonymous Venetian castle. In front of the castle lies one of the most idyllic and romantic beaches of the island, while at the same time the whole east coast has many other wonderful beaches such as that of Orthi Ammos with impressive sandy hills and a magnificent view of the Libyan Sea.

The Venetians built Fragokastelo in 1374 to protect themselves from the pirates. For its construction, they used hewn stones from the nearby ruins of ancient Nikita. The church of Agios Nikitas still remains in the area of this ancient town.

In Fragokastelo, in 1828, a terrible battle took place between the Turkish army and the Greeks who had as their leader Hatzimihalis Dalianis. Towards the end of May (the days of the battle) they say that you can see 'Drosoulites'  the black shadows of Dalianis' soldiers who unfairly lost their lives in the battle and as their souls are unable to rest in peace, they come back to Fragokastelo during every anniversary of the battle. They appear only at dawn and it's a phenomenon that hasn't been scientifically explained yet.

If you find yourself in Fragostelo in August, during full moon, don't miss the concerts taking place inside the castle.

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