Sfinari beach, nestled 60km west of Chania city and 30km south of Kissamos, is a hidden gem in front of its namesake village. This peaceful village is at the mouth of a lush, deep valley and is wrapped in the embrace of verdant mountains. Known for its tranquillity, Sfinari offers a beautiful sandy beach speckled with pebbles. With a handful of lodging and dining options, it’s an excellent choice for serene family getaways. On days when the waves are gentle, the beach becomes a haven for snorkelling. Numerous tamarisk trees provide ample natural shade, making it a perfect spot to unwind.
Sfinari is favoured primarily by those on the hunt for solitude, so don’t anticipate a bustling nightlife or booming beach bars. Despite its remote location, it’s easily accessible via bus from Chania station, so not owning a car isn’t an issue. However, having a car could enhance your Crete exploration experience.
Venturing up the mountain at the beach’s southern end, crossing the carob tree-filled rocky cape of Korakas, you’ll glimpse the secluded beach of Platanakia on the other side. With careful navigation, you can descend to this remote beach for a truly peaceful dip.
Gylisma, also known as Kambos or Afratolaki, is a stony beach nestled 69km southwest of Chania city and 29km south of Kissamos, in proximity to the village of Kambos. The beach, characterized by its coarse pebbles, is not particularly suited for swimming, especially for families on windy days due to the high waves. The locals of Kambos mainly frequent it on calm days.
Afratolakki is an excellent option for those seeking solitude. Although the beach has basic amenities for accommodation and food, it lacks facilities like umbrellas and sunbeds. The rocky seabed of Afratolakki makes it an ideal spot for snorkelling.
To access the beach, one must traverse a 4.5km poorly-maintained dirt track leading from Kambos village to the beach.
Platanakia beach, situated 61km southwest of Chania city, 31km south of Kissamos, 5km northwest of Kambos village, and in close proximity to Sfinari bay, is nestled at the mouth of the scenic Kambos gorge that originates from the namesake village.
Platanakia is a secluded cove, often deserted, and guarded by towering cliffs. The beach is a mix of sandy and stony patches, making it a perfect retreat for those seeking solitude, even in the height of summer. Nearby trees provide natural shade to beachgoers.
To reach the beach from Kambos village on foot, one must traverse the lush, two-hour path through the gorge, which is adorned with plane trees and has a river flowing throughout the year.
Adventurous travelers equipped with a 4×4 vehicle can opt for an offroad journey to the beach via a dirt track starting from Kambos. This route involves crossing fences installed by goat and sheep herders; please ensure they remain closed to prevent livestock from straying. The journey concludes at the picturesque, unexplored surroundings of Platanakia. Park your vehicle at the final plateau, near the visually striking cave chapel of Agia Ekaterini and Agia Marina, and descend the path directly to the beach below. Chances are, you’ll have the place to yourself!
The attractive Sfinari beach is tucked behind the northern rocky side of Platanakia beach (Cape Korakas) and is a 20-minute walk to the north of the beach.
The Xotikospilio, translating to “the cave of elves”, is situated 70km southwest of Chania, 30km south of Kissamos, and approximately 1.5 km northwest of the village Keramoti. The name is derived from a local legend that suggests that elves inhabit the small cave adjacent to it. Visitors can explore the cave and observe the petite chapel built within it. The cave of Xotikospilios was the site of a tragic massacre on Good Friday of 1824, where Turkish forces murdered women and children taking refuge there post the Elafonissi slaughter.
Nestled within a small rugged cove, this secluded beach is encapsulated by the untamed Cretan landscape. The beachfront is composed of large, round pebbles and lacks any nearby facilities. Its secluded nature makes it ideal for snorkelling and quiet moments, though the western Crete coastline’s waves can pose a challenge for swimmers. Access to Xotikospilio is possible via a dirt track, but it’s advisable to park your vehicle on the plateau before the beach instead of driving it all the way down.
Stomio, situated 74km to the south of Chania and 1km to the north of the Chrisoskalitissa monastery, forms part of the broader Elafonissi area. It’s not a favorite spot for tourists due to its rocky and often wavy appearance. The beach features large pebbles and patches of sand, making it a suitable choice for those seeking seclusion, though not ideal for families. The water here is rather cold and the sea deep.
The name ‘Stomio’ translates to ‘mouth’ and can be attributed to the river mouth from the village of Vathi that exits at this point. The river’s water is stored in the local reservoir. The beach is not equipped with any amenities, but there is a small tavern close by. The beach is conveniently accessible as it’s adjacent to the main road that links Chania with Chrisoskalitissa and Elafonissi.
Close to Stomio, one can find the old plaster factory, now deserted. There were attempts to revive the factory in 2010, but local residents objected to the financial lobbies and hindered its reestablishment. Also present is the picturesque chapel of Agii Theodori. Across the bay, a lovely pine grove stretches towards the mountain.