The village of Kalami is situated 15km to the east of Chania city, nestled on the southern shore of Souda Bay and in close proximity to Megala Chorafia village. It boasts a breathtaking panorama of the bay and Souda fort. Moreover, it’s near the ancient city of Aptera and the Turkish forts of Intzedin and Aptera.
A mere 500m north of the village, a delightful beach adorned with rounded pebbles and deep water is found. At the beach’s east end, there’s a small harbour housing various boats. The beach is a favourite spot among the locals, although it’s yet to be fully organized. There are a handful of umbrellas and tamarisk trees scattered about. The village and the surrounding region offer a few accommodation and dining options.
The coastal resort of Kalives is situated 19km west of Chania, along the southern edge of Souda Bay. This charming village is nestled in a verdant valley where several rivers meander. Its name, which translates to “Huts” in Greek, is thought to have originated from the primitive structures erected by farmers for summer overnight stays. The rivers of Xidas and Mesopotamos flow near the village’s eastern boundary. The combination of these rivers with the sea’s many springs results in a cooler sea temperature.
Adjacent to the Xidas river, both east and west, are two sandy beaches with shallow waters, exposed to northern winds. Named Xidas and Maistrali respectively, these beaches are well-equipped with standard tourist amenities. A petite, picturesque bridge at Xidas river’s mouth connects these two beaches. The scenic harbor of Kalives neighbors Maistrali and is connected to Chania through regular bus services. The area also houses banks, post offices, clinics, shops, and more.
North of Kalives, at the mouth of the Kiliaris river, lies the serene beach of Kiani Akti or Glaros. The Kiliaris river, which carries water from the White Mountains, maintains a year-round flow, a rarity in Crete. This results in cooler seawater near the river.
Kalives’ geographical position and fertile soil have made it a place of habitation since ancient times. It is believed to be the location of the ancient city Amfimatrion. Notable historical events include the construction of the Castel Apicorno fortress in 1206 and the village’s destruction by the pirate Barbarossa in 1538. The village is also close to the ancient city of Aptera and the Ottoman forts of Intzedin and Aptera.
The harbor houses a German cannon concealed in a cave on the other side of a mountain. A small window at the tunnel’s end offers breathtaking views of the cliffs and sea. This is merely one example of the German defensive structures scattered across the broader Apokoronas and Akrotiri Cape area.
Visitors are encouraged to stroll through the village’s picturesque narrow streets, eventually reaching the village’s central square, home to a large plane tree and the Agia Paraskevi church. The church, adorned with frescoes, was constructed during the German Occupation in World War II.
An old Venetian mill, one of Crete’s most complex, is located along the Mesopotamos river. Built from stone and kourasani (a mixture of mortar and ground tile), it is renowned for its durability.
Situated approximately 20km east of the city of Chania, Kera beach can be found on the southern coastline of Souda Bay, near the scenic villages of Kalives and Plaka. This beach, adorned with soft sand and the occasional pebble, is nestled amidst a breathtaking landscape of towering cliffs. The sea at Kera is shallow and boasts crystal clear waters. Although it lacks organization, the surrounding area offers numerous choices for lodging and dining. Those preferring less crowded spots will find Kera an ideal choice. The beach offers a striking view of Karga island and features a unique elongated rock in the sea towards its west end. This rock, named Karavos (meaning ship) by the locals, resembles a boat.
Close to the beach is the 19th-century church of Panagia Kera (or Dame Virgin Mary), erected on the location of a former monastery. According to local legend, when pirates once tried to invade the area, the inhabitants sought divine intervention from the church of Panagia Kera. In response to their prayers, the Virgin Mary turned both the pirates and their boat to stone.
Living on the island of Crete, I am just 23km east of Chania city, nestled on the southern coast of Souda Bay near Cape Drapanos. My home is Almyrida beach, a tranquil retreat with all the essential amenities and a breathtaking sea view. The untouched landscape surrounding Almyrida, dotted with lush olive groves, is perfect for hiking and exploring.
Just a kilometre east of here lies the charming village of Plaka, the largest in the region. Known for its healthy climate and friendly locals, Plaka is a delight to visit with its traditional narrow streets and well-preserved old houses. It’s also famed for its numerous sea caves stretching to Drapanos Cape, creating a spectacular natural display. Every July, the locals host Plakiana, a traditional Cretan feast in honour of renowned lyre player Michael Papadakis. But the most memorable sight here is undoubtedly the sunset.
Declared a region of infinite beauty in 1977, Almyrida boasts two beautiful sandy beaches with shallow waters. On calm days, they’re safe for children to play in. These two beaches are separated by a small rocky peninsula featuring a quaint white chapel. Ideal for water sports and windsurfing, the area is also renowned for its seaside taverns serving fresh fish and delicious traditional Cretan cuisine. Regular bus and taxi services connect Almyrida and Plaka to Chania city.
Directly across from the beach is the small island of Karga, a haven for birdlife and a popular spot for excursions and fishing. The island still bears traces of ancient Phoenician walls and shelters constructed by the Germans during World War II.
Almyrida is thought to have been a Phoenician colony, hence the nearby location Finikia. Here, you can find ancient ruins and tombs. At the entrance to the village lie the remnants of a 6th-century triple-aisle Christian basilica with well-preserved mosaics. Almirida also played a role in Crete’s history as the site of the last battle against the Turks in 1896.
For those interested in sightseeing, just four kilometres east of Almirida is Kokkino Chorio or Red Village. A small village with intriguing fortifications built by the Germans during their occupation (1941-1945) to safeguard the military port of Souda. This was also a filming location for the famous movie “Zorba the Greek”. Today, it hosts a small factory producing handmade glass using traditional blowing techniques.
Vlites beach, a well-sheltered spot situated in the grand Souda bay, lies about 5 km to the east of Chania city and holds the title of the longest beach in the bay. This expansive beach takes shape north of the Moronis River’s mouth, extending northwards to the Souda Bay War Cemetery.
The sandy seashore is ideal for kids due to its typically tranquil state and shallow waters. Previously, its closeness to both the Souda Naval Base and Souda’s commercial port led many locals to avoid swimming in its waters. However, chemical analysis has confirmed the water’s cleanliness, assuring that swimming at Vlites beach is entirely safe.