Beach Route through Western Crete
A road trip on Crete, the largest Greek Island, is the best way to discover everything the island has to offer. The diverse landscape ranges from mountains, rocky bays, long beaches, fertile fields, and sloping valleys. What is even more impressive is the rich and complex history riddled within the remaining archeological sites, which reveals the past of the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. Its size and varied terrain are great to explore by car, so come along as we show you where to go in West Crete. This is just a snippet of an extensive route found within Gabi Ancarola's Chania: 'The Best Beaches of Crete' Guide
- Route Name: Beach Route through Western Crete
- Suggested days: 2-3 Days
- Duration: 77 KM
- Best time to go: Early Spring or early Autumn
- Highlights: Venetian City of Chania, beach activities on Platanias, ancient ruins of Phalasarna, secluded lagoon of Balos
- Best by: car
Start your Crete road trip route in Chania, a Venetian-style city that is the second largest on the island. Chania still retains a strong influence of Venetian heritage within its architecture. It is reflected in its mansions and harbor, where you can walk along the waterfront on the one side and the promenade lined with restaurants to the other. You will come to understand why this city radiates with beauty from many different angles. Hungry for some Greek food? Stop by the taverna, TO XANI, hidden between a narrow alleyway for some exquisite local dishes and listen to the tunes of the bouzouki (Greek guitar).
Just 11 km away from the main city of Chania is Platanias, a resort and beautiful stretch of sandy beach popular with tourists. Along with the decorated beach bars, you'll also find ample beach chairs, parasols, inflatable flotation devices to wade on the crystal clear waters. For those who are more adventurous, this area is filled with water sports activities for you to try out. While it may be a bit noisy and crowded from all the visitors, there's much to do here and plenty of sun, sand, and sea for everyone.
Making your way further west to Kissamos, which also goes by Kastelli, a small town with a lively and bustling atmosphere. In the summer, the streets are bursting at its seams with people walking the pedestrian-friendly coastal road, exploring the Tzanakaki Square or Kastelli Square, where there’ll be shop fronts, tavernas, bars, and cafes open all hours of the day. For those history buffs, don't forget to visit the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos, which is housed in the Venetian-Turkish Government building. Their collection is filled with artifacts dating back to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Minoan civilizations.
PhalasarnaYour next stop will bring you to Phalasarna, an area located on the northwestern side of Crete which boasts remote beaches and a major archeological site. Settle on which attraction you’d like to do first, whether it's hitting the beach for some relaxation time or exploring the ancient ruins of the oldest known port of Crete, which has its roots in the Minoan era. There are two beaches worth noting in this area, Phalasarna Small Beach and Playa Paraiso.
Phalasarna is known as the lost city and was hinted into the records of the Venetians. The archeological site is an ancient fascination due to its age dating back to the 6th century BC. A civilization that spawned to have a legal and political system and a thriving community living off the sea, stretching their discovery to Africa and Italy and increasing their naval power. The excavations led to many significant artifacts such as graves, an altar, two towers, quays, fortified walls, a road, baths, water tanks, warehouses, and a wine factory, leading specialists to determine the intricate development of Phalasarna city.
Leaving behind the comforts and amenities of Phalasarna, you'll venture to Balos, the lagoon is the quintessential, picturesque postcard of Crete. However, this lagoon can be quite tricky to get to, since there are only dirt roads leading up to the area and there are no accommodations nearby. It's best to choose to stay in Phalasarna or Kissamos and take a day trip. Even with so many logistical barriers, you'll be rewarded by pristine waters, the clearest you’ve ever seen, a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, and an islet connected by a narrow sand bank.
The journey does not end here, find out more tips to plan your West Crete Holiday with Gabi Ancarola's Chania: 'The Best Beaches of Crete' Guide
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