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!
Sfakia is pint-sized fishing village located about 70 Km south from the charming city of Chania. On one of the most spectacular landscapes of the island of Crete, in the shadow of the magnificent White Mountains, at the edge of impressive gorges and in the embrace of the Libyan Sea, the picturesque settlement of Sfakia provide an unforgettable experience.
Authentic unforgettable moments, full of life’s unpretentious pleasures; swimming, sunbathing, Cretan dishes accompanied by local, delicious, organic wine, hiking, walking and relaxing.
Sfakia village hugs the steep slopes of a lush river gorge, where away from the main roads, old men with their traditional costumes and women clad in black watch the world go, while donkeys walk along some of the village’s main streets, flowers cascade from window boxes and people greet each other, friend or visitor many of whom are Samaria Gorge hikers stumbling off the Agia Roumeli boat on their way back to Loutro or Agia Roumeli.
Ideally settled near the end of the spectacular Imbros Gorge, Sfakia is surrounded by an untamed backdrop in a quit and charming seaside settlement. Sfakia offers a variety of services as well as being a departure point for numerous excursions like the beautiful coastal hamlet of Loutro, the islet of Gavdos-the southernmost point of Europe and to some isolated, yet of exceptionally beautiful beaches.
To the west of the village there is a sandy beach with its blue-green and crystal clear waters ideal for swimming snorkeling and sunbathing. There are some coffee shops, tavernas and smallish hotels within and around the village.
On the central square of the village, you will find several small tavernas, serving unique culinary delights and tasty dishes from the authentic Cretan cuisine.
The area also around Sfakia or Chora Sfakion offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including guided walks, horse riding treks, four-wheel drive excursions, rock climbing and mountain bike tours.
Not surprisingly, Sfakia village is described as one of the best places in Crete to escape the scourge of mass-tourism. Indeed, Sfakia is still a magical place when compared to other “dream” destinations in the northern side of the island where tourism has disfigured a large part of the coast.
Known for their generous hospitality, traditional Cretan music and dance, and healthy Cretan cuisine, Sfakians are also well-known of being fiercely independent and strong willed.
However, as harsh as they were against their invaders and enemies, the friendlier they are to their guests.
Due to the steep cliffs, overhanging the sea and its isolated location, the village remains peaceful. Consequently, much natural beauty remains preserved. The coastal villages, like Frangokastello, Loutro, Lykos, Agia Roumeli and Marmara beaches, are accessible by ferries; nevertheless for those seeking adventure there is the magnificent E4 European path offering great views and unimaginable beautiful landscapes.
Moreover the charming villages like Anopoli (the site of Ancient Annapolis with its Cyclopian walls and remnants of the Romans and the Byzantines who lived here), Askyfou, Kallikratis and Imbros, can also be visited on a walk or by public bus with the magnificent backdrop of the Madares (White Mountains) to dominate the landscape.
Visitors can also enjoy magnificent walking and hiking trails through the longest and most impressive of Europe’s limestone gorges, the world famous, Samaria Gorge.
Sfakia has a rich history and culture, and there is always something for everyone to discover. Whether you just want to relax and stay on one of the charming beaches of the village, enjoying the sun and the crystal clear blue sea, or want to go around, to explore Sfakia’s countryside, or visit the picturesque villages, there is always something to do.
While being there, you might find yourself in the middle of some exciting festivals that celebrate everything from the history of the village to a massively attended wedding, at which 1000 guests are no exception.
Moreover, the residents of Sfakia welcome visitors in with open arms to indulge in local cuisine, enjoy Cretan culture and become immersed in the Cretan way of life and traditions accompanied by the Cretan lyra and raki.
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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