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Sidonia beach

Beach description

Sidonia, alternatively known as Syndonia or Kato Psari, is nestled in a small valley, 89km southeast of Heraklion city, 9km east of Ano Viannos, and 1km south of Psari Forada village, also known as Mesa Psari. It’s also referred to as Psari Forada beach. It is thought to be located on the ancient town site of Sidonia. This once was a coastal village of fishermen and farmers from the village of Kalami, 9km to the north. Both Psari Forada and Sidonia are tucked away in a ravine created by a small stream.

The region’s warm climate is ideal for cultivating olive trees, subtropical fruits like bananas, and early outdoor vegetables. Recently, Psari Forada has seen modest tourist development and is now a peaceful, traditional place perfect for relaxed family vacations. The beach, stretching from Cape Theophilos in the east to Sedona hill in the west, is a beautiful coastline with dark grey coarse sand and clear, calm waters. It is dotted with tamarisk trees offering natural shade, although beach umbrellas are also available. The area boasts a few restaurants, taverns, a mini market, apartments, and a pharmacy. Water sports and beach volleyball courts are on offer.

For those seeking solitude, a secluded beach called Thiofilo is located eastwards, just behind Cape Theophilos with its small lighthouse. Opposite Thiofilo is a large rock known as Psaroharako by locals. The area has deep waters and a small natural harbour. The western part of the main beach is quieter than the central section. Throughout August, the Cultural Association of Kalami village organizes beach parties and musical events. They also hold a sports event called “Sidonia,” featuring a variety of games including beach volleyball, beach football, swimming, canoeing, tug, backgammon, table tennis, racing, basketball, and shooting. Participation is open to everyone.

The name Psari Forada has a couple of origin stories. One suggests it comes from a tale of a Turkish Aga who displayed his grey mare until it died of thirst. The more commonly heard story relates to the Byzantine Era when the Saracens occupied the island. The Byzantines sent a fleet led by General Theophilus to expel them. Upon arriving at the location now known as “Thiofilo”, Theophilus’ favourite grey mare could no longer walk. Rather than put her down, he had her tied under a large olive tree and asked the locals to care for her until her death.