Once you step away from the package holiday goers and venture future into the charming island of Crete you will find endless wonders for adventurers and beachbums alike.
If hiking is your thing you can head down to Samaria gorge making sure you taste some authentic Greek wine at Dourakis on your way. They have simple wine tasting, light meals or full tours of the vineyard on offer for very reasonable prices.
From Chania you can easily rent a car or motorbike and head down to the South Coast yourself aiming for Chora Sfakion or alternatively there are regular buses leaving from the bus station in town which costs 9 euros and takes just under two hours.
From Sfakia there are frequent boats along the south coast, stopping at Loutro, Agia Roumeli, Sougia, Paleochora and Gavdos Island. There are three rolling ships, one is passenger only and the other two allow you to take cars and bikes, remember Loutro is a pedestrian only village so if you’re stopping their, don’t take a vehicle.
A highlight of this area has to be the short hike from Loutro to Marmara Beach:
As you walk round the bay from the boat drop off point you will see a small kiosk on your left before you get to the second set of restaurants. Take a left here and follow the steps past Sofia Rooms and Villa Niki which will both be on your left. You will be taken round the back of some beautiful apartments decorated in the characteristics blue and white with fluorescent pink flowers adorning the trellis.
Follow the path up to get a complete view of Loutro bay before At the top you will find an old dilapidated Venetian fort with mountain goats freely roaming. Listen out for their bells as they will be hiding amongst the shadows, sheltering from the 42 degree heat. This is the perfect place to sit and watch the sunrise appear over the horizon, if you haven’t settled into Greek time of course.
The path is very well marked, you will frequently see black & yellow or blue markings on the stones demarcating your way.
Pass around the first bay or wander down to get a closer look, there is a very small pier where infrequent boats arrive and a taverna to get a beverage or two.
As you continue on your path you will come to another bay, here the stone will offer you two paths. The left takes you down to a quaint restaurant. Here you can relax on the beach, take out a canoe out from shore or continue through two more restaurants to tempt you into a short pitstop.
Signs will mark the E4 path towards the beach. You make think it is impassable but towards the far side you will find a tiny path, demarcated by paint splashes, hidden amongst the craggy rocks which will take you up the side of the cliffs until you eventually see a clifftop restaurant overlooking a cove of beautifully crafted umbrellas.
The path is fairly narrow at points and journeys right along the waters edge, although tricky it is definitely doable for most people.
Once you have arrived at the beach you can hire sunbeams and umbrellas for 2 euros each or you can leave your stuff on the rocks whilst you explore the vibrant marble caves along the coast or go cliff diving into the crystal clear turquoise waters.
Canoes are available to hire for a small fee and public boats leave in the morning and late afternoon to take you back to Loutro or if you want to go sooner, it is possible to rent a private boat for a mere 5 euros per person, minimum 5 people.
This spot is also perfect for those hiking Aradena Gorge as it is located right at the sea mouth.