Western Crete is known for its amazing sandy beaches and the picturesque landscape. Our travel suggestions set the city of Chania as starting point, although you can visit the villages and beaches of Western Crete even if you are staying at Heraklion or other towns in Eastern Crete.
Falassarna – Elafonissi
On the west coast of Crete lies one of the most beautiful beaches of the island, a beach that has been repeatedly included among the best in Europe, Falassarna, an old harbor that was covered by land after a destructive earthquake and ground erosions.
Driving from Falassarna towards Elafonissi will give you the chance to see some of the most beautiful landscapes in Crete. The route is scenic and diverse, as you will come across the Chrissoskalitissa Monastery, dominating on a huge rock that overlooks the Sea of Crete.
Continuing along the road you will end up in Elafonissi, one of the most infamous and popular beaches in Crete. Shallow waters, pinkish sand that takes funny colors due to the fragments of seashell, small beaches and an islet standing amidst the sea compose a unique setting you shouldn’t miss.
Starting from Chania to the direction of Kissamos you will reach the Town of Paleochora, a very cute little town located on a small peninsula. Paleochora features nice beaches, such as the Grammeno Beach known for its oak woods.
Instead of returning back to Chania the same way, you can drive towards the Omalos Plateau one of the three highest large plateaus of Crete, standing at 1,500m. The plateau, which is usually covered by wild flowers in the spring and summer, offers you the chance to enter the famous Samaria Gorge or drive back to Chania from the scenic mountain route.
Chora Sfakion – Frangocastello
Starting again from Chania, heading towards Rethymnon you can drive to Chora Sfakion, or as it mostly known Sfakia. The route is again wonderful, as the mountain scenery offers you amazing views to the sea.
Reaching Chora Sfakion, the capital of Sfakia County, you will see one of the most picturesque and cute harbors you have ever seen. Sfakia is an area known for its great food, but also because this was one of the few places in Crete that was never occupied by Turks, due to the fighting courage of its residence. Having a meal here and enjoying the famous cuisine is absolutely mandatory.
In close proximity to the East stand the Venetian Fortress of Frangocastello and its famous beach. The legend has it that in May, with the morning Dew, the shadows of the legendary warriors appear on the rocks. This is the myth of Drosoulites.
If you are up to some off road adventure, you should definitely visit Balos, a shallow beach west of Chania, to Kissamos direction. The road is rather harsh and you are advised to drive only if you have a jeep and you are experienced in off-road driving; the trip might be adventurous but it is really worth it, as Balos is a lovely sandy beach, with crystal clear waters and amazing scenery.
The Western Coast and Mountain Area of Crete is well worth visiting; these recommended small trips from the city of Chania will give you an idea of the rich landscape of the Cretan land and will make you fall in love with it. Make sure though that your trips are safe and comfortable; check the availability and prices at www.chania-airport-carhire.com and choose the vehicle that suits your requirements the best.