The castle of Frangokastello was built in the 14th century by the Venetians. The fortress was built to protect against pirates. Later the castle played an important role in the fight against the Turks. In 1828 the Cretans lost the castle in a hopeless battle against a Turkish superiority. Several hundred Cretans died in the battle.
The beach of Frangokastello goes in many places (not everywhere) very flat into the sea. It is therefore considered child-friendly and very popular with families. In some places you can still stand a hundred metres from the shore. The beach is not overcrowded even in midsummer.
In the plain of Frangokastello, as well as in the adjacent high mountains, there are very good hiking possibilities. The hike through the Kallikratis Gorge is becoming increasingly popular, especially since there is a paved road from Frangokastello to the mountain village of Kallikratis (the starting point of the hike). Hiking equipment is best bought before your holiday at home, for example at Amazon.
Fortunately there are no large hotels in Frangokastello, almost all pensions and room rentals are family businesses. The local people are very nice. A rental car is an advantage in Frangokastello. Some of the houses are quite far away from each other. Also the approach without car is not quite easy.
Orthi Ammos: Very good and clean rooms with fast WLAN. The distance to the fortress Frangokastello is only about 150 meters. Small, cordial family pension, only 5 rooms. You have a beautiful sea view, the beach is only 25 meters away. The rooms do not have a kitchen, but Orthi has a good tavern. In the low season a room for 2 persons costs usually clearly under 30 euro. Recommended!
Vrachos Apartments: 6 charming apartments near the beach, a good kilometre from the fort towards Hora Sfakia. All have sea view and balcony. The apartments are well equipped, e.g. kitchen with oven, air conditioning and TV. The Vrachos Frangokastello also rents at least one larger apartment with 2 bedrooms. For example, the apartments in April cost only 35 euros, the larger apartment only 45 euros a day.
Kritamos Beach: There are only a few accommodations on Crete that are rated so positively by guests. The almost completely new, modern holiday resort with 13 apartments is praised in the highest tones among other things because of the nice hosts, the cleanliness and because of the high-quality equipment of the holiday apartments. The apartments in Kritamos Beach are equipped with a coffee machine, satellite TV with flat-screen TV, modern kitchen with oven, microwave and much more. The beach is only 2 minutes away. You can choose between apartments with one or two bedrooms. Depending on season and size, you can pay at Kritamos Beach from around 38 euros per night for two people. The holiday resort is approximately 1.5 kilometres away from the fort.
Cheap and good studios are also available at Oasis Apartments (also great tavern).
Recommended in Frangokastello as accommodation and / or tavern is Babis & Popi. The house is situated on the main road a few 100 metres from the fort. The three local brothers who own the tavern all married German women. The tavern offers delicious vegetarian dishes and free internet access (WLAN / WIFI). The cheapest of the good rooms start at about 25 Euro per night.
Also on the large, world-wide web page for hotel reservations Booking.com one finds many good and inexpensive accommodations in the region.
Although many vacationers rent an apartment with kitchen in Frangokastello, there is a lot going on in the taverns, especially in the evenings. In the meantime, the number of restaurants should be in double figures. Some offer dishes from the region. Sfakia is a very special area on Crete. Due to the long seclusion on and behind the mountains, many local traditions have developed here. Only since some decades there are roads. Also in the kitchen of Sfakia you can find some dishes that are only available here. The most famous is the Sfakiani Pita (on the menus often Sfakia Pie), a kind of pancake with feta and honey. It is a delicious breakfast or dessert.
A very good tavern, to our knowledge the oldest restaurant in Frangokastello, is the Oasis. It is estimated 500 meters from the castle in the direction of Hora Sfakion almost directly on the shore. You can still, as in the good old days on Crete, go into the kitchen and watch the dishes of the day. Many dishes from Crete and especially from Sfakia are offered. The quality in the restaurant Oasis is high, the prices are rather low. Oasis also offers delicious dishes for vegetarians.
In Babis & Popi German is understood and spoken. The tavern is located in the centre of Frangokastello on the main road. If you wish, you can also have a look at the food in the kitchen before ordering. For example, you can see delicious meat and fish dishes. Only olive oil from some production is used. Also the local spices give a special taste to the dishes. If you have questions about the region, the Babis & Popi will gladly help you. It is a meeting place for German holidaymakers in Frangokastello. You can also rent cheap rooms at Babis & Popi. The tavern is very child-friendly, there is even a small playground.
Another nice tavern is the Kali Kardia. Translated the tavern is called "good heart". The owners are indeed very kindhearted. Here you will find some interesting dishes from Crete, which you won't find on every menu. But also the pizzas and the meat from the grill are not bad.
During our last visit in May 2016 we ate in the tavern Orthi Ammos directly at the sea, not far from the fort. The fried vegetables as a starter (there are eggplants, peppers or courgettes) come in large portions for only 3 euros. We also had delicious mini fish (smaller than sardines) and a good pastitio (pasta casserole, only 6 euros). Also the salads at the next table looked good. On the other side of the street is a terrace belonging to the tavern Orthi Ammos (see photo). Here you can dine with a beautiful view of the Libyan Sea.
By bus to Frangokastello
The bus connections to Frangokastello are unfortunately not good. There is only one bus a day to and from Hania. The bus to Hania departs at 6: in the morning. Buses to Plakias via Rodakino were available earlier in the high season from June to September. Since approximately 5 years there are unfortunately no more buses between Sfakia over Frangokastello to Plakias. This is a nuisance for many tourists in Frangokastello and Plakias. From Rodakino, about 15 kilometres east of Frangokastello, there is a bus from Monday to Friday about 15 o'clock to Rethimnon. The guesthouses and taverns in Frangokastello can organise a taxi.
Frangokastello is often approached on day trips by bus from the major tourist centres on the north coast. During the high season, there are often several buses simultaneously in front of the fortress.
By rental car to Frangokastello
Almost all holidaymakers in Frangkastello have a rental car. Without your own vehicle, you are hardly mobile in the region, almost without public transport. Those who like hiking can of course also reach and explore the region on foot. Also cyclists like to spend the night in Frangokastello. The houses in the plain are quite far apart. One often walks a kilometre or more to the nearest grocery store. There is a petrol station in Frangkastello.
From Plakias you can reach Frangokastello by car in about 45 minutes. First take one of the two roads to the mountain village of Selia, directly above Plakias. There you follow the signpost to Hora Sfakion (often also called Chora Sfakia).
The journey from Hora Sfakion to Frangokastello is much shorter. Drive in the direction of Chania and after about 2 kilometres turn right. The total distance is about 13 kilometres.
From Iraklio airport, first go to Rethimno and at Rethimo take the exit to Spili / Agia Galini. After about 18 km or 8 km after the village of Armeni you leave the main road in the direction of Selia and Hora Sfakion. About 12 km before Hora Sfakion you cross Frangokastello. Travel time: approx. 2.5 hours
From Chania airport, the first thing to look for is the expressway to Rethymno and Iraklio. After about 30 km on this expressway, turn off at the village of Vrissis in the direction of Chora Sfakia (signposted). You drive on a pass road with a gigantic view. The plain of Frangokastello can already be seen from above. Shortly before Hora Sfakia there is a turn-off to the left towards Frangokastello. Travel time: about 2 hours.