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.
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.
Almyrida beach is a tranquil resort offering basic facilities along with a magnificent seafront. Almyrida is situated 23km east of Chania city and nestled on the southern edge of Souda Bay near Cape Drapanos. The surrounding pristine countryside and verdant olive groves provide perfect opportunities for hiking and exploration.
A short distance of just 1km to the east lies the scenic village of Plaka, the largest in the area, renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and healthy climate. The coast stretching to Drapanos Cape is dotted with numerous sea caves, presenting a breathtaking natural spectacle. Plaka is also celebrated for its charming, narrow lanes and well-preserved, traditional houses.
Each July, the village hosts the Plakiana festival, a tribute to the renowned lyre musician Michael Papadakis, or Plakianos, showcasing the area’s rich cultural heritage. Among the unforgettable experiences here is the mesmerizing sunset, a truly memorable sight.
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.
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.
Koutalis, also known as Koutalas beach, is positioned 25km to the east of the metropolis of Chania, situated near Cape Drepano and approximately 1km north of Kokkino Chorio. The region is notable for its extraordinary caves, such as the Elephants’ Cave and Petsis Cave. Adjacent to Koutalis, Kokkino Chorio is recognized for the WWII cavernous shelters erected by the Germans on Drapanokefala hill to safeguard Souda Bay, its charming traditional residences, and a collection of wells for water collection. This location also served as a filming location for “Zorba the Greek.”
Being relatively secluded, Koutalis beach is a familiar starting point for local scuba divers exploring the nearby sea caves. The beach is nestled at the end of a rocky gorge and cradled within a narrow bay, characterized by its large, round pebbles and stones. It’s the perfect spot for fishing and solitude, but ensure to pack essentials like umbrellas, food and water. To reach this location, head north from Kokkino Chorio village towards Drepano Cape, then onto the road leading to Faros (Lighthouse). Roughly 700m further north, look for the sign to Koutalas. A manageable dirt path will lead you directly to the beach, which might well be totally deserted. A large cave can be found next to the beach.
A hidden gem between Koutalis and Almirida is Vraskos beach. Similar to Koutalis, Vraskos is located at the end of a short narrow gorge, but no road leads directly to it. The sea bed is quite rocky with patches of sand.