Some of the best attractions in Southern Crete

Greece is one country that offers some of the world’s best tourist sights and destinations. One of their islands, in particular, is not only the fifth largest in the Mediterranean but is also home to beautiful beaches, mountains, and snippets of ancient Greek history. Southern Crete, known as Kreta by the locals, is a haven for sun lovers and people who want to visit towns bearing semblances of both past and present.

Chrysoskalitissa Monastery
Just five kilometers north of Elafonisi beach sits the Chrysoskalitissa Monastery on a massive rock. Despite Greece being the home of the famous Greek pantheon, this tourist spot is dedicated to Mother Mary and the Holy Trinity. It was built during Venetian rule and named after the final golden step of the original 98 steps that led to the structure.

If you’re a Catholic or someone who enjoys learning more about religious history, you mustn’t forget to visit this place.

Samaria Gorge
Crete is home to many gorges, but Samaria Gorge is arguably the most gorgeous. It’s one of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves in the Samaria National Park. Hikers will love trekking along its 16-kilometer trail and passing through the gorge, where they’ll pass along many ancient and tall pine and cypress trees along the way. The whole hike may last up to seven hours, depending on your fitness level. It goes mostly downhill, but in the end, you’ll arrive at the Libyan Sea and find a beautiful black-sand beach in Agia Roumelli. Once there, tourists can hire a boat to take them to Chora Sfakion, a nearby southern town.

Backpackers, hikers, and day-trippers will love visiting Sougia on their Southern Crete adventures. Travelers coming from Samaria Gorge by boat often make a stop here, get refreshments, and wait for their bus to return them to their pickup points. If you’re an experienced hiker, you might enjoy taking the European Path E4 to Paleochora, another coastal village.

If you take the European Path E4 from Sougia, you’ll end up in Paleochora. Driving from Tavronitis from the north coast would take you there in around 70 minutes. Paleochora is a small village blessed with fertile land, so you’ll find many local farmers here. There’s not much to do here regarding tourism, but if you prefer some downtime on your Cretian travels, this place is for you.

There’s a harbor promenade near the pebble beach where you can walk along and encounter several restaurants and cafes for refreshments. Unlike other towns and cities, there are more family-run hotels than sky-high complexes in Paleochora, focusing more on the views and ambiance.