AKROTIRI AND SOUDA
Lies 10 km north east of the beautiful Venetian harbour of Chania. With picturesque sandy beaches, all awarded with the Blue Flag, century-old monasteries and churches, impressive caves with rich lithological and archaeological interest and historical monuments, Akrotiri attracts many visitors every year who enjoy Cretan hospitality and nature at their best.
Akrotiri’s monasteries include the impressive Agia Triada which was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and was a prominent religious school until about 40 years ago. Following a poor road for 4 km to the north of Agia Triada, the road ends at the 16th century Moni Gouverneto (Our Lady of the Angels). The building itself is quite plain but the church inside has a nice sculpted Venetian facade.
From Moni Gouverneto a good path heads down towards the north and the ruins of Moni Katholiko. On the way, after about 10 minutes walk you will pass the Bear Cave. It is a large chamber with a massive stalagmite in the middle resembling the shape of a bear. In ancient times this cave was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. After walking down for another 15 minutes you come to the 11th century monastery of Katholiko. It was abandoned in the 16th century because of the numerous raids by pirates. The monastery building spans a small gorge with a massive stone bridge. It is a quiet and cool place to rest. From Katholiko, a small footpath follows the gorge to the sea where it is possible to have a swim from the rocks.
The sandy beaches are at Stavros, this sandy cove had its moment of fame when the beach scenes of Alexis Zorbas were filmed here; in a very lovely setting but fairly crowded at weekends. Kalathas, sandy beach with shallow water so ideal for children but can be crowded in high summer and at weekends. Tersanas, is a small sandy beach with shallow water. Marathi, discovered a few years ago by the inhabitants of Chania it now gets very crowded at weekends, sandy beach with warm shallow waters - brilliant for children.
Is a 15km long and 4km wide bay and is the largest and deepest natural harbour in the Mediterranean near to the town of Souda. It is formed between the Akrotiri peninsula and Cape Drapano, runs west to east, and is overlooked on both sides by hills. Souda is a busy port and also home to the NATO naval base. The Allied War Cemetery is set in a peaceful location on the bay and well worth a visit too.