Sailing destinations in Chania

Thodorou islet

  • Time to reach by boat: 1 hour
  • Trip to propose: Daily (8 hour) or Half day (4hour)

The island of Agioi Theodoroi or Thodorou is located just opposite the beach of Agia Marina in Chania, just half a mile to the north. The history of the island and its ecological importance in preserving the protected species of the Cretan ibex, make this small dot on the map very important.

The island is rocky and covers an area of 69.7 hectares, while its maximum length reaches 3800m. Apart from the island, there is a second islet next to Thodorou, called Glaraki (small gull) or Theodoropoula. Generally, locals refer to the 2 islands by naming both of them simply Theodorou, after the church of Saint Theodori. In the southern part of the island, there is a large arched cave, which makes the island from afar look like a monster with open mouth..

The island, despite its size has a rich history and legends to tell us. Over the centuries, it has changed various names. It was originally called Akytos or Akoition, i.e. not suitable for habitation. It has also been recorded as Letoa or Toullouros. Its present name was given after the three-aisled early-Christian church of Saint Theodore the commander, which is destroyed today. There are still some ruins of the church on the island and another smaller church has been built on the site. 

Since the Minoan era, the island was used as a sacred place. Much later, in 1574, the Venetians built a fortress to protect the whole coastline of Platanias from any hostile invasion. In just one year, the Venetians managed to build a polygonal fortress at the top of the island named Turluru and a second one in a lower level and next to the church of Saint Theodore, called Saint Francis. The cost of the castles reached the enormous amount of 21,500 ducats, although there were many Cretans who were forced to drudgery. Later, the Venetians were planning to build a third fort in the north part of Thodorou, but changed their mind later.

In 1645, the Ottomans attacked against the island and occupied it, after a heroic battle against the 70 guards of the fortress. When Turks managed to enter the castle, the head of the guards, Vlassios, in order not to surrender to Turks, set fire to the arsenal and blew all the guards and the Turks that had entered the fort. In 1650 the island returned to the Venetian rule until 1699, when it was turned in to the Ottomans, 30 years after the fall of Candia. The island fell into the hands of Cretans, during the liberation of Crete in 1897. In 1897, a force of the Greek army, led by Timoleon Vassos, went on the island, despite the menacing presence of warships of the Great Powers.

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Thodorou Islet cretanbeaches.com

  • Time to reach by boat: 1 hour
  • Trip to propose: Daily (8 hour) or Half day (4hour)

The tiny beach of Macherida is located 14km northeast of Chania and 1km west of the village Chorafakia, very close to Tersanas. The beach is named after the rocky cape in its north end that reminds of a knife (“machairi” means “knife” in Greek). According to another version, it is named after the flower Gladiolis italicus that is called “macherida” in Greek.

The bay faces southwest and is almost always calm. A stunning little beach with white sand and turquoise water is shaped in the center of the bay, surrounded by sharp rocks. The water here is very clear, because the sea currents change directions several times a day and remove any garbage. It is not organized, however during the last years some houses have been built near the beach. The secluded beach of Machairida attracts mainly nudists. Moreover, it is one of the most popular beaches for gays in Chania.

The coastline near the beach is a unique habitat for many wild animals. Among the rocks, just next to the main road, there is the pond of Macherida reminding of a crater with springs with saltish water in which water snakes, turtles and seagulls find shelter.

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Maherida Beach cretanbeaches.com

Macherida

Lazaretta islet

  • Time to reach by boat: 20 minutes
  • Trip to propose: Daily (8 hour) or Half day (4hour)

The islet Lazaretta is located opposite Nea Chora and in the 17th century was used by the Venetians as the leprosarium island of Chania, like most islets off cities of Crete. Its name is taken after Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers by the Roman Catholic Church.

Graves have been identified, apparently of patients, while we still discern the foundations of buildings demolished by the Turks in 1645 to place a large cannon to aid in their attack of Chania’s stronghold at the mouth of the harbour. In some places you will see metal fragments from bombs that fell during military exercises of the Germans during the Second World War.

The island hosts a shrine of Saint Nicholas built by a local in 1954. This man suffered sunstroke on the island but managed to swim to Nea Chora and save his life. On the island there is a small sandy beach ideal for snorkeling currently visited by the local diving schools and sea excursion boats. In the 1950s long distance competitive swimmers used Lazaretta as a start point when racing – Chania inner harbour was the finish line.

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Lazaretta islet cretanbeaches.com

  • Time to reach by boat: 2.5 hours
  • Trip to propose: Daily (12 hour) or Multiple Day (2 days min)

Menies or Diktynna is located 45km northwest of Chania, on the northeast shores of Peninsula Rodopos and at the exit of Foundas Gorge. It is a lovely secluded beach with pebbles and deep crystal blue waters. It is not affected by the usual winds blowing in the area and is ideal for isolation, far away from the urban centers. For many kilometers there is absolutely nothing reminding of the modern civilization, so make sure you have all essentials with you. Access to the beach of Menies is a bit tedious, as you have to drive in a long dirt track (about 23km) starting from Rodopos village. This road heads on the beach, but is not recommended for low cars. Moreover, there are some small boats running to Menies from Platanias harbor.

Menies is located on the site of ancient Diktynna; it was the most important temple of the goddess Vritomartis (the Cretan version of goddess Artemis). Thousands worshippers used to come in the area from all over the island via the road that connected the sanctuary to the town of Polirinia; some parts of the paved road are still preserved throughout Rodopos peninsula. Vritomartis was worshiped here during the Hellenistic and Roman times. There are still a few remains of the ancient Roman temple, but remains of the Hellenistic temple have not been found.

About 1km southwest of the beach, you can visit the very old monastery of St. George, built in the 9th century. It was abandoned several centuries later, during the raids of pirates. You can still see the protective tower of the 16th century in the courtyard of the monastery, used for early detection of the pirate ships.

Between Menies and Afrata we meet several small bays formed at the exits of small streams, accessible on foot or by boat. One of the is below Saint George monastery and the nicest is Xeronissia.

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Menies Beach cretanbeaches.com

Menies Beach

Gramvousa Islet-Balos Lagoon

  • Time to reach by boat: 6 hour
  • Trip to propose:Multiple Days (3 days minimum)

Balos Lagoon:

The famous lagoon of Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and 17km northwest of Kissamos, formed between the Cape Gramvousa and the small Cape Tigani and below the range of Platiskinos. Balos is surely the mostly photographed beach in Crete, a very favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. It is no coincidence that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos with their private yacht many years ago.

Balos is famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery. During the summer, it is visited by thousands of people, who arrive mostly by the ferries running from Kissamos port. If you do not like crowds, you’d better avoid to visit the beach in July and August. Also, a perfect idea is to arrive at Balos in the morning, before the boats arrive from Kissamos. These few hours of remoteness in such a heavenly place will remain etched in your memory forever.

The lagoon of Balos has white sand and exotic white, vivid blue and turquoise waters. The sea is very shallow and warm, ideal for young children. In many places the sand has a lovely pinkish color, because of millions of crushed shells. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder, ideal for a snorkeling. The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected under the Natura 2000 program. Eleonora falcons, shags and cormorants nest in the caves of the area. Moreover, the area is a shelter for the protected monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Despite the protection, some canteens and umbrellas have appeared on the beach in recent years. You can buy water from there and from the bars of the ferries.

Gramvousa Islet:

The island of Imeri Gramvousa is located 20km northwest of Kissamos, opposite the imposing Cape of Gramvousa and 2 miles northwest of the famous lagoon of Balos. Gramvousa is famous for its historical Venetian fortress, which still stands at a height of 137m, over the beach. The fort had also been used by pirates; one legend tells that there is a great treasure buried in the island. Also, the old wreck that was abandoned many years ago near the beach, has become an characteristic part of the landscape.

On the south side of the island there are two large bays, with the wreck being being between them. The west bay (below the castle) hosts hundreds of visitors daily, arriving here with excursion boats. The boats run from Kissamos (1 hour trip) and stop here before continuing their journey to the magnificent beach of Balos.

The visitors wander around the area, visit the castle and the wreck. They can also swim in the crystal waters of the western cove, near the church of the Holy Apostles. The beach with the fantastic turquoise color, has white sand and rocks in places. Some tamarisk trees are near the beach, offering natural shade. The seabed of the area is ideal for a snorkeling. You can get food and water from the bar of the excursion boats. No other amenities are offered in the area, because it is protected under Natura 2000 program and staying overnight is not allowed.

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Gramvousa Islet cretanbeaches.com

Πηγή: ⭐ Travel Guide for Island Crete ⛵, Greece❗ – Balos lagoon cretanbeaches.com