For travelers who want to escape the madness of urban life, Crete is an iconic natural wonderland just waiting. Here time stands still in the remote regions where eternity meets majestic landscapes. For those adventurous enough to seek out pristine nature and tranquility, here’s a new selection of Crete nature lover treasures off the beaten path.
For those who’ve never traveled to the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Crete is amazingly diverse when compared to some of the other larger islands in the Mediterranean Sea. 260 kilometers (60 miles) long and 60 kilometers wide (37 miles) at its widest point, the island is much larger owing to its mountainous geography. There are three distinct mountain groups segmenting the island, and innumerable gorges, valleys, rivers and streams, and a large number of offshore islands that make up the Crete region. So, the remote places listed below barely scratch the surface of untold hundreds of
Glyka Nera Beach
One of Crete’s most amazing beaches, Glyka Nera (Sweet Water) is a pristine landscape of deep aquamarine water and very fine white sand. Accessible by boat or by an “adventurous” paths from either Chora Sfakion or Loutro, the beach has a small taverna for snacks or a drink to soothe the frazzled nerves of those who decided to hike there (yes, the paths are that hairy). Swimmers will notice the cool chill of the waters because of a cold spring that empties into the Libyan Sea here. This beach is ranked as one of the Top 20 in all Europe, and for good reason.
Glyka Nera Beach is located 43 kilometers west of rugged Chora Sfakion and 75 kilometers south of Chania. For those who are less adventurous, we advise taking the water taxi from Chora Sfakion or Loutro. Hikers will want to check out the E4 Trail from Chora Sfakion thru Loutro and to Agia Roumeli. The video below offers a preview of the Glyka Nera segment of this trail.
For travelers to Crete in search of unspoilt beauty, the area surrounding Domata Beach offers the quiet and untouched beauty they seek. Here there are no roads or infrastructures, and access to the area is only through the E4 trail or by boat. Be advised though, the former route is not for the fainthearted. The climb down to the beach is over 700 meters, and it’s fairly treacherous too. Your best bet may be to hire a fishing boat in Agia Roumeli to take you to Domata.
Once you arrive though, the peacefulness of the region and its natural beauty is astounding. Most people who venture here are awestruck by the majesty of the wilderness. Domata is, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience for anyone who ventures there. This place is one of Crete’s
Situated a stone’s throw from Europe’s southernmost city of Ierapetra, Ha Gorge sits in front of the beautiful village and the Minoan settlement of Vassiliki. One of the island’s wildest places, the gorge is actually a rare morphological phenomenon caused by the movement of the tectonic plates
A haven for rock climbers and
Another out of the way gem of this island, Stefanou Beach is actually one of three secluded coves of the Seitan Limania (Satan Harbors), situated about 22 kilometers northeast of Chania on the eastern side of Akrotiri Cape. The beach is amazing for its calm aquamarine waters and for very fine sand and pebbles. Protected by high cliffs on three sides, the place is truly a hidden gem.
The beach is a lot more crowded since an asphalt road was created to access the spot, but the unique beauty of the place is not to be missed. There’s even a parking space with a path leading to the beach, but be sure any wear good footgear because of the rocks. Perhaps the best thing about visiting this remote beach is the trip getting there and seeing the village of Chordaki and others that dot the landscape along the way.
Situated just 3.5 kilometers south off Makrigialos in the far southeast of Crete, the island of
For visitors, getting to the island involves taking one of the boats running to the islet from Makrigialos port, or bareboating on your own. The latter is ill-advised since the island is surrounded by rocky shoals and reefs. As for the former, one of the most fun ways to travel to the island is via the Pirate Shop Evdokia, of Cretan Daily Cruises.
A final note will appeal to those in search of magic stretches of sand and aquamarine sea. Koufonissi has at least 36 different beaches, some of which would easily be ranked among the best on earth. It was here that Princess Diana and Prince Charles spent some days enjoying the unbelievable beauty and seclusion of the Libyan Sea.