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Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape)

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Beach description

Among the premier beaches in central Crete, the Melissa Cape Sandhills shine bright. Situated near Agios Pavlos, at the southern tip of the expansive Akoumiani Gialia coastline, this stunning location is approximately 55km south of Rethymno city. It’s framed by the beautiful Cape Melissa to the south, the Akoumianos river, and the Triopetra beach to the north. The deep sea here beckons swimmers, and the area’s secluded nature often leads to a variety of beachwear or a lack thereof. Locally, the beach is also known as Alatsogremi or “salt cliffs”.

The Melissa Cape Sandhills, arguably the most scenic beach in the Rethymnon prefecture, boast massive sand dunes nestled amidst a majestic, untouched landscape. A few scattered umbrellas offer shade, although natural refuge can be found in the rocky caves mid-beach. Despite its generous expanse, the beach rarely feels crowded, even allowing for nude bathing during peak season. A rich seabed makes it a snorkelling hotspot, although visitors should be aware of the frequent large waves due to western winds. The water temperature remains warm year-round, hardly dropping below 15 degrees Celsius, perfect for winter swims.

The area is famed for its breathtaking sunsets, providing a serene backdrop for a thriving yoga and Tai Chi club that boasts world-class trainers. The best view of the sunset can be found atop Thronos peak, overlooking the beach from towering cliffs. To reach it, follow the dirt track next to the junction of Agios Pavlos – Sactouria and Triopetra-Agios Pavlos roads, then hike to the cliff edge. This vantage point offers sweeping views of Paximadia islets, Gavdos Island, and the White Mountains.

Access to the Sandhills is straightforward. Head west from Triopetra harbour (Stomio) for about 500m until you reach the beach on your right, with the Akoumianos river below. Park your vehicle here and make your way down to the beach through the valley near the river. Alternatively, you can park in Agios Pavlos and take the short 5 to 10-minute trail behind the western edge of the Agios Pavlos beach, which descends down a steep sandy slope.

Location

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Most frequent asked questions

Where is the Melissa Cape Sandhills located?

Melissa Cape Sandhills is situated near Agios Pavlos, at the southern tip of the expansive Akoumiani Gialia coastline in central Crete, approximately 55km south of Rethymnon city.

What amenities are available on Melissa Cape Sandhills?

The Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) offers a few umbrellas for shade. However, most amenities are natural, such as rocky caves in the middle of the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) for refuge from the sun.

Is Melissa Cape Sandhills a good spot for snorkeling?

Yes, Melissa Cape Sandhills features a rich seabed that makes it ideal for snorkeling.

Can I swim at Melissa Cape Sandhills during the winter?

Yes, the water temperature at Melissa Cape Sandhills hardly falls below 15 degrees Celsius, making it suitable for swimming even in winter.

What activities are available at Melissa Cape Sandhills?

In addition to swimming and snorkeling, the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is also popular for yoga and Tai Chi, thanks to a local club with world-class trainers.

How do I get to Melissa Cape Sandhills?

You can reach the Sandhills by following the road leading to the west of Triopetra harbor (Stomio) for about 500m until you reach the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) on your right. You can park your car here and make your way down to the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) through the valley near the river.

Is it acceptable to go nude on Melissa Cape Sandhills?

Yes, given its large size and secluded nature, the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) rarely seems busy, and nude bathing is quite common, even during peak season.

What is the water colour of the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The water colour of the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is blue.

What type of sand is found on the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) has sand, with rocks in some places.

How deep is the water at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The water at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is deep.

What is the surface of the sea like at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The sea surface at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is usually wavy.

What is the crowd like at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is usually quiet.

What facilities are available at the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach?

The Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) has accommodation options, food and water nearby, and umbrellas/beds.

How can the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach be accessed?

The Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) can be accessed via a paved road or by walking.

Is the Agios Pavlos Sandhills beach nudism friendly?

Yes, the Agios Pavlos Sandhills (Melissa Cape) is nudism friendly.

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