Elafonisi, Palaiohora, Sougia, Lisos, Samaria, Agia Eirini

Tour around Crete: from Elafonisi to Sougia

The beach of Elafonisi, Palaiohora, Sougia, the ancient city of Lissos, the gorge of Agia Eirini and the Samaria Gorge in South Western Crete.

map of Chania

day 5

Early in the morning we head to Moni (Monastery) Hrysoskalitissa and keep driving to Elafonisi. This is an idyllic lagoon which is visited by thousands of tourists every summer. The beach is great and the sea is so shallow that you may walk to the opposite isle. There are sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach and a couple of canteens. The best time to see the place is past 4 in the afternoon when the buses with tourists leave.

We have decided to stay and enjoy the sunset at Elafonisi, so we look for a shady tree for our tent. Later in the evening we are driving up to the taverna; it is located about 1 km up on the hills.

day 6

Today we are going to Paleohora. It is a long and tiring drive from Elafonisi but the route is quite scenic through chestnut forests. We take a stop at Kantanos for a refreshing cold coffee (frap√®, a greek speciality) and 30 minutes later we arrive to Paleohora. It’s always a pleasure to be in Paleohora and visit the Venetian castle of Selino, which was built in the 13th century. Paleohora is a pretty town with great beaches both to the west and the east. Drive and explore !

day 7

Early in the morning we arrive at Sougia (1 hr from Palaiohora). It’s one of my favorite places; it’s a small village by the sea with a great beach and many trekking opportunities. You may either stay at a room or camp at the eastern part of the beach. It’s a quiet place but it may become over-crowded in August or weekends, when people from Hania arrive.

As soon we settle into a room we buy some water and fruits and start walking to the ancient city of Lissos. The path starts west of the village from the small port of Sougia. For the first 30 minutes we are walking inside a pretty gorge and then turn left (take care for the signs!) and ascend a hill; another 30 minutes later we see the valley of Lissos and start descending to it.

hiking in Lissos gorge

The ruins of the ancient city are scattered around so it takes some searching and wandering around. We are also looking for the guard of the archaeological site so that we will arrange our return back by his boat.

ancient marbles in Lissos

As soon as we are back at Sougia we are heading to the beach for a refreshing swim. If you are a naturist then go as far east as possible; I think this is the finest part of the beach.

day 8

Today is the day for Samaria gorge. We take the bus to Omalos Plateau at 7 o’clock in the morning and arrive there 1 hour later. It’s freezing up here so we run to the entrance of the gorge and start our long hike.

Xyloskalo, the entrance to Samaria gorge

We are walking as slow as possible because we want to enjoy the beauty of the place. Six hours later we are in Agia Roumeli and wait for the afternoon ferry to Sougia and Paleohora. It takes 50 minutes back to Sougia and it’s a lovely boat trip as the coast is very impressive.

day 9

Time for some rest and lots of swimming and sunbathing. Life is pretty in Sougia !

We take the bus to Agia Eirini at 7 am. This is the entrance to the magnificent Agia Eirini gorge, a 3,5 hour trek to Sougia.

Agia Eirini gorge

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