Social distancing and self-isolation have been the operative words throughout 2020. Υet all this stress that we are currently experiencing has taken its toll. We are all in need of some sort of a break. After all, staying healthy presupposes staying sane too; and for this to happen, just getting away from it all, is nothing short of imperative! The trick then is to embark on a (much needed) holiday but still keep away from the maddening crowds. So how does one go about it? Crete is a hospitable paradise with more than 300 days of sunshine in a year. And though (no wonder) it is one of the most touristic destinations in the world, its sheer size and uniquely diversified morphology afford ample opportunities for privacy and seclusion. Take the glorious Cretan beaches for example: From cosmopolitan stretches of sand or world-famous, exotic lagoons to deserted bays and secluded coves, there is something for every taste and disposition. Even in these difficult COVID- 19 times. Here we’ll be taking a look into the best secluded Cretan beaches: Unbeknown to most, little slices of heaven on earth with crystalline waters in technicolour blue; with no organised facilities or a selfie stick in sight; just perfect for keeping your social distances safely in the company of your -handpicked- nearest and dearest.
Cretan Beaches: The secluded beaches of Chania
Located in Kokkino Chorio, in Apokoronas, at the tip of Cape Drapanos, 27 km east of Chania Town, Koutalas is one of the lesser-known beaches of the region. This is largely due to its somewhat rocky seabed. Yet it features crystalline, aquamarine waters, perfect for swimming and diving, spectacular surroundings and soft sands, ideal for relaxing under the sun. At the end of your escapade make sure to walk up to the antique lighthouse at the tip of the cape dating from 1864. The sunset views are simply amazing!
Northeast of Akrotiri Cape, 20 kilometres from the city of Chania, you’ll find the dramatically christened ( its name translates to Devil’s ports) and spectacularly appointed Seitan Limania. Nestled in a narrow canyon leading out to the sea, it boasts white sand and turquoise waters. It is completely unorganised-make sure you bring on with you all the essentials: water, sunscreen, headphones or a good book, and something to eat. Bear in mind that it requires a bit of a hike in order to reach it (make sure to wear sneakers!). But it’s one of a kind unspoiled beauty-think wild goats roaming around the rocks!-will surely recompense you.
Kalogeros (monk) Beach
Named after its characteristic monk-shaped reef, it is an idyllic, isolated beach, unbeknown to most; with amazing waters and fine pebbles. There are also a few trees and a cave where you can find shade and shelter. It is accessible only by boat; or for the sporty types, through an hour’s swim from Agia Roumeli.
Stretching for 1200 splendid meters, Sougia is not only one of the most beautiful secluded Cretan beaches but it also rarely gets crowded. Boasting colourful smooth pebbles and deep clear waters, it is furthermore a popular nudist spot. The quaint homonymous village hosts various restaurants, cafes, bars and tavernas, very popular amongst the younger locals. It is located 70 km south-west of Chania town between the villages of Paleochora and Agia Roumeli, so it requires a bit of driving but it is totally worth the effort.
58 km south of Chania, at the end of the dramatic Klados gorge with the jagged rock face and waterfalls, you’ll discover Domata: One of the most unspoiled, secluded Cretan beaches, with fine pebbles, clear blue waters and pine trees for shade. Plus thanks to the area’s springs, if you dig in the sand you will find freshwater. Access to Domata beach is only possible through Klados gorge, on foot from Agia Roumeli or by boat; which is the easiest and most sensible way (otherwise make sure to bring an experienced guide to accompany you!). Yet if you are willing to take the road less travelled, it ll be just you, the sea, the sun and the spectacular landscape!
Aspri Limni beach
70km south-west of Chania town and about 500m west of Chryssoskalitissa Monastery, Aspri Limni (White Lake), unlike its famous neighbourhood, the world acclaimed, paradisiacal Elafonissi Lagoon, is unbeknown to most. Yet thanks to its unique morphology -surrounded as it is by sharp rocks, it looks like a small white lake in the sea- it is nothing short of striking. Aspri Limni is a Natura 2000 protected area as the westernmost home of Phoenix theofrasti, Crete’s endangered palm species which are also found in Vai, Preveli, Agios Nikitas or Souda but also in South Turkey.
45km northwest from Chania Town, on Rodopos Peninsula, Menies beach is a pristine stretch of sand sandwiched between crystal clear, deep blue waters and azure skies. There are no umbrellas or sunbeds and hardly any visitors on-site; while in order to reach it you’ll have to drive on a bumpy dirt road for about 17Km. Yet the wild Cretan landscape along the way and the sight of the beach itself -a calm and unspoiled haven flanked by massive rock formations with wild goats roaming around- will surely recompense you. It is no wonder after all that the striking scenery of Menies fascinated the ancient Cretans, who chose this spot for one of their most important sanctuaries: Dedicated to Britomartis or Diktinna, the Minoan goddess of hunting, mountains and wild nature, it was a popular place of worship up until Roman times. History buffs will also do well to pay a visit to the neighbouring abandoned monastery of St. George and the quaint chapel of St. John the Giona.
Dating from 1537, with Baroque and Renaissance influences, Gouverneto is one of the oldest and most beautiful Cretan monasteries, 19 km north of Chania. If you are the adventurer type, a good idea is to combine a visit to this renowned historical site with a hike to Avlaki Gorge leading onto the beach of Catholiko. Along the way, you’ll pass from the famous Αrkoudospilios (Bear Cave), Katholiko Monastery and the church of St John the Hermit. Once one of the most important centres of asceticism in Crete, this far-flung, off the beaten track area, nowadays makes for an interesting (albeit somewhat difficult) hike through glorious Cretan nature, former hermits’ caves and remnants of the quite elaborate 17th-century ecclesiastical complex that stood there. At the end of the trail, you’ll reach the fjord-like Catholiko beach, which used to serve as a port for the monks. The waters are crystalline and refreshing while there are high rocks ideal for cliff diving.
Ours are stressful, perilous times no doubt. And the antidote? Getting away from it all, in Crete while keeping your social distances while not cutting back on style or comfort, could be just what the doctor ordered! Base yourselves at the Adeste sea view villas in Chania, relax and unwind in the paradisiacal Cretan beaches, discover serenity and bliss! Located in verdant Apokoronas, with all sweeping sea and mountain views, this complex of Chania luxury villas is all about the good life: Here sleek design meets ample functionality and a world of comfort; while easy living is facilitated through a wealth of indulgent, personalized in-villa and concierge services. Think designer furniture and original artworks, plush pillows and anatomic mattresses for a perfect night’s sleep, private pools and a host of perks including hot tubs, fireplaces or outdoor BBQ’s. Just select the villa that suits your party size and composition from the Adeste luxury villa collection in Chania and start having the time of your lives, secure in the knowledge that utmost privacy is guaranteed while your health and safety always come first!