CATEGORY:Boat trips | Chania | Crete | Travel

Memorable boat trips in Chania (part 1)

August 31, 2023

Photos from www.cretelocals.com

 

Rimmed by 1,046 km of pristine coastline, Crete is as if tailor-designed for boat trips. Whether you want to snorkel in crystalline waters, get your adrenaline going with a speed ride or sail through jaw-dropping seascapes, options in Chania are aplenty.

 

Here are our handpicked suggestions for the most memorable boat trips in Chania.

Boat Trips from Chania Town

One of the best things about visiting Crete is that you get the chance to go to more than one island! Just off its Aegean coast on the north, the tiny islets of Lazaretta and Thodorou are easily accessible from your base at the Adeste Luxury Chania Villas in Apokoronas and absolutely worth every minute of the effort!

 

Lazaretta

Lazaretta boasts beautiful scenery with quiet, sandy beaches leading to crystalline waters teaming with marine life. Snorkelling is fascinating here – but history buffs will also find plenty of inspiration too. Just like most islets off the cities of Crete, Lazaretta, which takes its name from Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers in the Roman Catholic Church, was used by the Venetians in the 17th century as a leprosarium. The site still features patients’ tombs and the remains of the buildings that once housed the lepers. The structures were largely destroyed in 1645 by the Turks who installed a sizeable cannon in their place to assist their siege of Chania’s stronghold at the mouth of the harbour. Thanks to its strategic position, Lazaretta also played an active role in World War II – fragments of bombs dropped there during German military operations can still be observed.

 

On a sunnier note, there is also a small church dedicated to Agios Nikolaos erected in 1954 by an Australian. He fell asleep on the island and woke up with a sunstroke but managed to swim back to the shore, where he was found and rescued – so in gratitude, he built a church dedicated to the patron of sailors.

 

Lazaretta is a mere 10-minute boat ride away from the Venetian port of Chania – in fact, back in the 1950s, long-distance swimmers used this islet as the starting point for races, with the inner harbour of Chania serving as the finish line. For more info check out our partner’s site: Seaze the day.

 

Thodorou

Less than a nautical mile away from the cosmopolitan shores of Platanias, Agioi Theodoroi – or as it is more commonly known, Thodorou, is a lovely little pair of islets with a history that dates back millennia. A sacred site in Minoan times and home to one of the island’s first Christian temples in early Christian years, it was much later used as a defensive base by the Venetians, who erected two – incredibly expensive – fortresses there in 1574. Thodorou is also surrounded by fascinating legends – with the most prominent version of the story postulating that the island did not exist at all, until one day, the residents across the coast saw a huge monster and its baby approaching Crete, about to attack. They began to throw spears and arrows from afar to kill them, but the beasts kept their furious route to the coast. The women, terrified, began to pray and their prayers were answered – both monsters were petrified thereby creating the twin islands of Agioi Theodoroi.

 

Since the 1960s, Theodorou has been a protected natural reserve – the home of the Kri-Kri, the endangered Cretan goat species transferred there from Samaria Gorge and left to breed unperturbed. It also hosts other rare animals, including the majestic Eleonora’s falcons. Though you won’t be able to step onto the island (except for the Saint’s Name Day celebration on June 8th, where visitors are allowed onshore), the unspoiled and untouched scenery will transport you into another era – and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the kri-kri’s grazing on the slopes and of the falcons performing acrobatics in the air.

 

For adventure fans and exploration enthusiasts, Theodorou also offers a super exciting snorkelling spot in the wreck of a WW2 German aircraft. This Junker 52 was shot down during World War II and has remained there since – do you dare to search for its haunting underwater remains?

 

Boat trips from Kalyves

On the coast of Souda Bay, a few km from the Adeste Chania Luxury Villas, Kalyves is a popular resort with a sandy beach, a choice of seafront restaurants with sunloungers and several high-impact activities on offer – including fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and hiking. But for a truly memorable experience, a great idea is to hire a boat and embark on a cruise around the coastline. Between diving in crystalline waters, exploring remote and inaccessible beaches and admiring dolphins playing along the way, you’ll have plenty of pinch-me-know moments to recollect once you’re back home. Indicative stops include Ombros Gialos and the Elephant’s Cave – more info at Sapphire Cruises.

 

Ompros Gialos

26km east of Chania, on the east coast of Drapanokefala, near Kefalas and Paleloni villages, Ombros Gialos is a small cove – not quite a beach – with deep blue, clear waters and fascinating rock formations rich in aquatic life. If you’re into snorkelling, you’ll spot different types of fish and underwater flora. There is a small harbour with a dock from which swimmers jump straight into the crystalline sea. For a bit of sustenance after your adventure, the only onsite taverna is renowned for its fresh fish.

 

Koutalas Beach and the Elephants’s Cave

Located at the tip of Cape Drapanos, Koutalas (1.5 km from the Adeste Chania Luxury Villas) is one of the lesser-known beaches of the region. Largely undiscovered and unspoiled, Koutalas sports spectacular surroundings and soft sands, ideal for relaxing under the sun. The sea bed, though, is rocky, often with sea urchins – it’s best to bring proper footwear to make getting in and out of the water easier – but makes for fascinating underwater explorations. Lovers of the undersea should also venture to the neighbouring Elephant’s Cave for a dive experience of a lifetime. With a width of 9 metres, this massive cave is a natural masterpiece with stunning red and white stalagmites and stalactites. Named after the fossilised remains of a 60,000-year-old elephant that was found there, the cave gives a glimpse of life in bygone times – when the level of water was much lower than it is now.

 

But the above is just to whet your appetite for explorations. Make sure to consult with our concierge to organise the escapade that best suits your party’s needs and desires.

 

Stay tuned to our blog for the 2nd part of memorable trips in Chania and for more insights, tips and advice on what to see, shop, pack and do in Chania and the island of Crete!

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