Chora Sfakia

Chora Sfakia (also known as Chora Sfakion) is a small town (pop. 500) serving as the regional centre. The high mountains that envelope it, the nice beaches lapping around it and the famous gorges thundering down around it attract many nature-loving tourists. The Sfakians are fiercely independent and proud, and are known all over Greece as symbols of courage and bravery. They fought in numerous hopeless wars against foreign occupiers (the Venetians, the Turks and the Germans) in the high mountains and deep valleys that surround Sfakia. In World War II, Sfakia was an area that the Germans never quite managed to conquer.

Chora Sfakia

The small town of Chora Sfakia is quite nice, with two beaches in the village itself. For many tourists here, the town is just a launch-pad to many hikes in the surrounding countryside. It can be jam-packed at 6pm when the ferries arrive full of people who hiked the Samaria Gorge, and quiet again only a few short hours later. Hikers are generally not big on nightlife, and this is reflected in the mediocre nightlife as such here.

Buses and Ferries to and from Chora Sfakia: Four buses make the long journey over the mountains to and from Chania, and – high season only – one or two from Plakias. the buses to Chania stop in Imbros, where the hike through the famous Imbros Gorge starts. Four ferries sail daily to Agia Roumeli with stops in Loutro. In Agia Roumeli you can transfer once a day (in the afternoon) to Sougia and Paleochora. Those who want to go to Gavdos in summer can take one of the two or three boats leaving daily. In 2008 these ferries left on Friday and Sunday at 10.30am and returned immediately (making daytrips an impossibility). You can also reach Gavdos from Paleochora once or twice a week.

Accommodation in Chora Sfakia:You won’t find yourself in the lap of luxury in Sfakia, but you will find an abundance of cheap rooms. Everything is geared towards the basic demands of hikers. Guests who want to stay more than one night are rare. A good bet is the Three Brothers which offers rooms for around €25 per night.

Chora Sfakia Restaurants  Chora Sfakia in Crete Church

Eating in Chora Sfakia: The waterfront has five tavernas lined up alongside it, all offering similar offerings and prices. Annoyingly, the waiters here often harass passersby to come in and eat, a practice which is illegal in Greece. In my opinion, the best is probably the Livikon in the middle (cheap, big dishes, good spaghetti). Three Brothers, situated on the beach on the other side of Sfakia offers traditional Cretan cuisine. The local speciality is a dessert called Sfakiopites, which is a cheese pie with honey.

Frangokastello: Frangocastello is located around 12km from Chora Sfakion en route to Plakias. It has a nice white beach overlooked by a big fort. It’s not really a village, just a collection of houses without a centre as such.


Frangokastello is growing, though. I counted seventy houses and three supermarkets when I travelled through here in 2008. The restaurants surrounding the fort are overpriced and the service leaves something to be desired. You’re better off going to the beachside tavernas. My favourite is the Taverna-Pension Babis & Popi, which offers rooms for €20/35

Sweetwater Beach: The only way to access this famous beach is to walk or take a small boat from Chora Sfakia. Some people believe Sweetwater to be the best beach in the world. People stay here for weeks on end (camping is tolerated here). The only building here is a taverna.


Crete Guide
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Agios Nikolaos
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Moni Arkadi
Agia Galini
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Samaria Gorge
White Mountains
Imbros Gorge
Chora Sfakia
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