The district of Sfakia is a very special part of Crete, far away from the mass tourism of the north coast. It is the largest one in the prefecture of Chania, and consists in large part of mountains. Sfakia is famous throughout Greece as one of the most traditional regions of Crete and for its magnificent nature, contrasting the high mountains, the plateau of Askifou and Anopolis as well as the wild scenic coast of the Libyan sea. The region is famous for its independent spirit and was the center of resistance against the Venetians and the Turks.
The road from Hania to Sfakia crosses the island from North to South, through the village of Vrises. At the 33rd km of the road Hania-Rethymnon we leave the main hi way and follow a paved side road to Vrises. From this village starts an impressive trip to the east side of the White Mountains crossing the mountainous area of Sfakia and ending to Hora Sfakion. From Askifou plateau to Hora Sfakion is the most impressive part of the route. The road hugs the western slope of the wonderful gorge of Imbros and the view to the gorge and to the Libyan sea is breathtaking.
The capital of the Sfakia region is the small seaside village of Hora Sfakion (or Chora Sfakion), 70 km from the city of Hania and 150 km from Iraklion. ,. In its picturesque, enclosed harbor, the small boats from Agia Roumeli dock in the summer, bringing the hikers from the Samaria Gorge. Visitors can enjoy the quiet and calm of the village, on the seaside cafes and taverns.
Worth visiting around:
- The Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe, having a length of 18km. During the summer, it is visited by thousands of tourists who trek the 18km in about 6 hours. Many of them have visited Crete just to cross the majestic gorge of Samaria. If you do not have the time to walk all the distance in the gorge, you can walk backwards, starting from Agia Roumeli.
- Agia Roumeli: The small village of Agia Roumeli is mainly known as the place where people arrive after hiking through the gorge of Samaria but has much more to offer than just a refreshment stop. The beaches of Agia Roumeli wider area are magnificent, spanning a length of 3km. The closer you are in the village, the more crowded and organized it will be. Agia Roumeli has remained authentic and picturesque, where you can meet friendly people, enjoy high-quality traditional recipes and the tranquility of nature.
- Loutro, south Crete: A small picturesque fishing village in south west Crete, not yet spoilt by mass tourism and enjoy the sun, sea and peaceful tranquility. No big hotels with swimming pools, no overcrowded streets, restaurants and beaches, there are no cars!!. The seaside of village is located at a distance of about 71 km. south of Chania, at the end of Cape Mouri and it can only be reached by boat (regular connections from Hora Sfakion) or on foot. Enjoy walking in the scenic, unspoiled mountain countryside with its valleys and gorges. Of course you never think about the weather forecast, the weather is almost always warm and sunny. The great high mountains on the north side of the village give a big protection during the seasons.
- Anopolis, Aradena: Located between the sea and the southern slopes of the White Mountains at an altitude of 600 - 700m, the plateau of Anopolis can be regarded as the heartland of the Sfakia region. Anopoli lives mainly from agriculture and animal farming. The only road leading to Anopolis is the 12 km serpentines road from Hora Sfakion. The road was recently reconstructed. About 2km west of Anopolis, the abandoned village of Aradena offers beautiful examples of ancient Cretan architecture.