In the pint-sized fishing village of Sfakia you will find many small but of exceptionally beauty coves, impressive gorges, plenty of amazing beaches with crystal clear water and small pebbles or sand and amazing remains from ancient civilizations…
The area of Sfakia has a few hidden gems besides its impressive gorges and ancient monuments, and one of them is the villages – each one with its own beauty and distinctive character.
Perhaps more rewarding for the discerning traveler are those smaller corners of exceptional beauty, many reachable only by car or boat. On world maps these beautiful villages and settlements are marked only by the smallest pinhole, assuming they appear at all.
Hidden across the territory towards the magnificent White Mountains, they have something exceptional and special where it seems time came to a standstill.
Whether it is their architecture, historical aspect or simply their Charmin character, the villages of Sfakia are definitely worth a visit.
There is a unique culture in the area of Sfakia that sets it apart from anywhere else in Crete. From the cuisine to how they spend their time with family.
There are many ways to discover this way of life, but exploring the lesser-travelled but equally stunning locations on the island is one of the best!
The plateau of Askifou is situated in the White Mountains at an altitude of 750 meters, located approximately 50 Km south of Chania. The area’s natural wonders are quite untouched, awaiting inquisitive exploration from nature and adventure enthusiasts who take on the magical landscape for a truly spectacular adventure.
Located in-between the wonderful mountains of Kastro and Fanari on the west and the mountain range of “Horeftes” the plateau of Askifou is a real natural wonder with five villages that are pretty much undiscovered by visitors.
One of the best places to visit is the War Museum of Askifou, a place you have to stop and pay tribute to the late Mr. George A Hatzidakis who managed to bring together and label every single item he could find in the area that had everything to do with the Nazis invasion, occupation and the Cretan resistance during the Second World War.
Askifou is one of Crete’s most beautiful, and impressive sites with prehistoric origins and great history. This is a place of a total, utter silence of being remote and at one with nature. And while it certainly couldn’t be considered as a popular touristic location there is no argument when it comes to its stunning beauty.
Surrounded by wild mountains and sitting in an exceptional location, it is a place that literally takes your breath away when it first comes into view.
The plateau of Askifou is considered the Thermopylae of Sfakia, because the plateau is the only way that connects Sfakia with the rest of the island. Kares, Ammoudari, Stravorahi, Goni and Petres are the five small, yet, wonderful settlements of the Plateau.
Ammoudari is the one among them that can be considered somehow as more touristic since in the village there are some basic restaurants serving Cretan dishes, a gas station, and some rooms for rent.
Next to Goni village, there is a large hill at the top of which there are some ruins of two Turkish castles (Koules of Askifou) constructed by the Turks in the late 19th century to control the passage to Sfakia. Despite the fact that in the southern edge of the plateau is the starting point of the magnificent Imbros Gorge – which is visited by thousands of tourists – Askifou has not yet been significantly affected by the tourism.
Agriculture and associated occupations, such as sheep and goat rearing, weaving and spinning of wool, are the main occupations of the people around the plateau of Askifou. Moreover, the dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and butter are of excellent quality accompanied by delicious food and excellent wine.
The mountainous province of Sfakia extends from the Omalos Plateau down to the southern coast, and has some of the island’s most remarkable landmarks, including the world famous Samaria Gorge, the White Mountains and Mt Gingilos (2080m) in the rugged interior.
The impressive drive from the charming city of Chania to Chora Sfakion – descending through the mountains on numerous loop-back turns overlooking the Libyan Sea – is one of the most stunning sights in Europe.
The stark, muscular White Mountains or Lefka Ori meet the Libyan Sea along Crete’s corrugated southwestern coast indented with a handful of laid-back beach communities, such as Frangokastello and Loutro.
Chora Sfakion is Sfakia’s main village, and a small settlement, perfect for relaxing and boat-hopping further down the outstanding coast. Sfakia is a true pleasure for the senses. Unpretentiously, this rocky southern coast is a very diverse place, at least in terms of thought – thanks to the gigantic cliffs running to the Libyan sea.
Not surprisingly, some of the most beautiful villages and extraordinary beaches are accessible only by boat and therefore completely untouched by mass tourism.
Summer winds blast through the gorges and across the Libyan Sea which means this is a perfect place for wind and kite surfing. Sfakia is well-known for being the only part of Crete never subdued by the Arabs, Venetians or Ottomans.
Sfakia was the epicenter of resistance and is considered a land of glory because of the courage of its inhabitants. Their local cuisine includes the delightful Sfakianies pites (thin, flat cheese pie drizzled with honey) the epitome of the Authentic Cretan Cuisine.
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