Sfakia Village

description

Sfakia or Chora Sfakion is squeezed between the sea and the mountains. Generally Sfakia as a region has a very unique and dare we say a genuine, feel to it.

It offers a less "package", the more individual face of tourism.

If the people of Sfakia are famed as being the toughest survivors and fierce when duty calls - they are, perhaps as a result, the friendliest amongst a group - the Cretans - who offer visitors the warmest and most genuine hospitality as a fundamental part of their nature. 

Truth demands strength and strength should be backed by the truth...sometimes it is.

It is probable, that the majority of that setting foot in Sfakia ( or Chora Sfakion or Hora Sfakion ) may well have walked the length of the Samaria Gorge and be one of the many muscle-aching souls on one of the ferries that travel from the mouth of the gorge, at Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakia (or Sfakion).

There to be collected by buses to return them to their hotels all over Crete.

If Sfakia, the village or the region, is your destination, you will probably have driven, bused or taxied over the White Mountains - the Lefka Ori - from Chania and elsewhere on the Northern coast, a journey that is memorable both for the views, villages and the constantly repaired road that is possibly the "grand corniche" of Crete - many tight turns and steep drop-offs!

Well worth the trip for the dramatic journey alone. The village of Chora Sfakia is both quiet - busy with individual or independent tourists in the summer - in its role as home and fishing village to local people, and a port for those traveling by ferry to Agia Roumeli, Sougia, Paleochora, and the unspoiled island of Gavdos (see ferry schedules).

You could also approach the area from Plakias and the east on roads that are slow-going but pass through wonderful, distinctive Cretan scenery.

In antiquity a major exporter of meat to Athens, Sfakia is now a notorious region with much history and the quieter form of tourism. It's wonderful, rugged Lefka Ori mountains offer significant hiking opportunities ranging from difficult to hard-walking.

Supposedly. Sfakia once had as many as a hundred churches and chapels, built for one reason or another by devout Sfakiiots, but few survived the wartime bombardments.

You can find a lot of ancient-looking examples on the road as you curve down into Sfakia, but the most seem permanently locked.

As for other monuments, a plaque on the waterfront commemorates the Dunkirk-style wartime evacuation when some ten thousand men were taken off the island: almost as many were left behind to be bombed as they waited to be taken prisoner or to escape as best they could.

If you would like to park your car rental in Sfakia's Port and take the ferry to Loutro, the cost would be ~ 3.00 Euros per day.

How to get there

- By car, bus, or taxi from Chania or from Rethymno and Heraklion the most accessible route is via the turn off the National Road at Vrysses - in itself a pleasing village.

Many will be familiar with the cafe that also doubles as the waiting area for connecting buses. Chania to Sfakia bus, Rethymno to Sfakia bus, or see Heraklion to Chania (buses on the half-hour stop at Vrysses and connect with the Chania to Sfakia bus).  Then, the route is up and over the Lefka Ori mountain range via the villages of Askifou and Imbros (a great place to stop for Sfakian pies!). 

From Vrysses to Imbros takes roughly 45 minutes - though with stops (and you'll want to enjoy this, as it's one of the "Great Drives of Crete") you add some time.

From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Chania and Heraklion Airport. Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.

- The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Chania-Souda Port. Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our partner website.

- If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website Crete-Car-Rental.com, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.

- Or maybe you would like to book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.

Where to stay

- Villa Thetis a stunning, peaceful, modern, newly rebuilt family villa (June 2018) with magnificent sea and coastal views.

Notos Well Studio-House, a picturesque setting with astounding sea view over Chora Sfakio and lovely views of the surrounding coast and the endless Libyan sea.

Samaria Livikon Hotel & Restaurant is one of the first hotels in Chora Sfakion, just 25m from the beach, stunning sea views, and a wonderful restaurant for hearty, healthy breakfasts and delicious meals.

Lefka Ori Hotel is located right above the old harbor of Sfakia Village, a small family-run hotel with a traditional tavern serving delicious local food, stunning sea & mountain views, warm and authentic hospitality, great value for money, a mix of modern and traditional elements to create a harmonious place both relaxed and timeless that truly feels like home. 

- The Xenia Hotel is perched behind the old harbor with over-the-rocks sea views, rooms are a little higher priced than others in Sfakia, but the location is superb, with uninterrupted sea views (see simple map).

For a yet quieter place to stay within reasonable access (20-30 minutes walk - some may not like this at night, 5 minutes by car - on the road to Anopolis) which has a small almost-private beach, with caves on one side for shade, the Ilingas Hotel and taverna may suit.

The rather smarter Vritomartis Apartments, a nudist resort, some way out of the village, you'll see it soon after you've come down the road from Imbros.

What to see & do

The village of Chora Sfakia is both quiet - busy with individual or independent tourists in the summer - in its role as home and fishing village to local people, and a port for those traveling by ferry to Agia Roumeli, Sougia, Paleochora, and the unspoiled island of Gavdos

Generally, Sfakia as a region has a very unique and dare we say a "genuine", feel to it. It offers a less "package", the more individual face of tourism. If the people of Sfakia are famed as being the toughest survivors and fierce when duty calls - they are, perhaps as a result, the friendliest amongst a group - the Cretans - who offer visitors the warmest and most genuine hospitality as a fundamental part of their nature. Truth demands strength and strength should be backed by the truth...sometimes it is.

We offer some great boat trips starting from Sfakia Port: Boat Trip to Marmara Beach & Loutro VillageBoat Trip To Best Beaches of South ChaniaGavdos Island Boat Round Trip 

Or maybe you would like to rent a boat and be your own captain for the day and discover Crete´s most stunning coastline!

Join our Scuba Diving Lessons and enjoy the beautiful underwater world and clear blue waters of south Crete, which beckon divers from around the world. Appropriate for beginners or qualified divers.

Join one of our superb sea kayak trips starting from nearby Ilingas Beach. Sea Kayak Day Trip - Sfakia & Loutro Village or Samaria National Park Sea Kayak Trip

Visit Frangokastelo to see the old fortress - or rather its surviving walls, a must-do trip up to Anopolis - a village high above Chora Sfakia.

Close to the beginning of the village on the left Anopolis bakery - Giorgos Orfanoudakis for some of the best Sfakian pies and the chance to buy the delicious local sweet rusks, honey, and other baked goods. Sit outside and have a mountainscape view and an Elliniko (coffee).

If you have time to kill you're probably best off getting out, to Sweetwater Beach and hour along the coast path west (or accessible by twice-daily boat). The beach takes its name from the small springs which bubble up beneath the pebbles to provide fresh, cool drinking water

It is possible to visit the Cave of Daskaloyiannis, one of several large caves in the cliffs to the west of Sfakia. Always a hideout in times of trouble, this was where the rebel leader set up a mint to produce a revolutionary coinage

A must visit Loutro. Take the ferry and go to Loutro - a place for absolute relaxation. Walk - E4 path goes through Sfakia. Loutro is the only natural harbor on the south coast of CreteLoutro is peaceful - it is small and feels like a village even if 95% of the people here in the summer are visitors. The absence of cars and bikes makes it quiet and peaceful.

More activities in Chania Area, here!

Where to eat & drink

Large choice of tavernas - which because Chora Sfakia is small you really "can't miss it" - along the harbor front.

We highly recommend Lefka Ori Restaurant and Samaria Livikon Restaurant

Lefka Ori Restaurant is our suggestion at Sfakia Village since we loved its traditional and authentic atmosphere and its delicious Cretan food.

- Samaria Livikon Restaurant, is one of the first restaurants in Chora Sfakion with a history of over 30 years, serving excellent food with spectacular sea views.  Breakfast and all dishes are made from fresh local products and include specialties from Sfakia and not only, with locally caught fish, different kinds of local juicy meat, and vegetarian healthy dishes, accompanied by Cretan wine. 

For a quick bite, the bakery has good Tiropita (cheese pie) and pastries.

Special comments

Generally, Sfakia as a region has a very unique and dare we say a "genuine", feel to it. It offers a less "package", the more individual face of tourism.

If the people of Sfakia are famed as being the toughest survivors and fierce when duty calls - they are, perhaps as a result, the friendliest amongst a group - the Cretans - who offer visitors the warmest and most genuine hospitality as a fundamental part of their nature.

Truth demands strength and strength should be backed by the truth...sometimes it is.

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