The small village of Plakias (population 300) was until the
1960s a small fishing port with four houses. It’s on the
south coast of Crete in the centre of a big valley. There
is often a strong north wind, which can be pleasantly
cooling in summer. Plakias has expanded fast since the
arrival of the first hippies in the late 1960s, and there
are at least one hundred houses dotted around the valley
The small village of Plakias (population 300) was until the 1960s a small fishing port with four houses. It’s on the south coast of Crete in the centre of a big valley. There is often a strong north wind, which can be pleasantly cooling in summer. Plakias has expanded fast since the arrival of the first hippies in the late 1960s, and there are at least one hundred houses dotted around the valley these days.
An old fan of Greece, I first arrived in Plakias in 1998. At the time, I was looking for a second home in Greece. After a few days here, I knew that this was the place I had been searching for. The 4km-long beach is right in the village centre, with even nicer beaches close by. Walk for a couple of minutes out of Plakias, and you will find yourself deep in the Cretan countryside. Plakias is set to a backdrop of mountains with the villages of Mirthios, Selia and Mariou dotted along at various elevations. All of these villages can easily be reached with a small hike. The majority of tourists in Plakias are backpackers, who still outnumber package tourists. There are around sixty people from northern Europe (mostly British, German and Dutch) who have made Plakias their new home. Many of them, including me, spent their first time here in the Youth Hostel.
The hostel has developed a global community of hundreds of people who know each other. Some now live in Plakias, others visit every year, some for several months. This is due to the efforts of the English manager, Chris. I now rent my own apartment in Plakias, but you can still find me every evening in the hostel. If you want to meet me, just as for Jorgy at the hostel! The hostel will be open from the 28th March in 2009, and will remain open until the end of October. You can book Plakias Hostel here .
If people ask me in Plakias for a nice and cheap hotel, I recommend Hotel Sophia and / or Hotel Livikon. The Sophia is in a quite side street, the Livikon in the main street along the beach. Better and a bit more expensive is the very good Alianthos Garden Hotel.
Tavernas and Nightlife in Plakias
Sirocco is an outstanding restaurant, a fact reflected by
its higher prices. The jovial owner and his amusing son
Babis serve fresh, good meals. The best pizzas can be
found in Kri-Kri, and the best fish in Tasomanolis (the
owner is a fisherman). A cheap place to eat is Mousses on
the waterfront, which has a vast menu. Nikos Souvlaki is a
simple, traditional taverna which serves delicious Greek
specialities, often cooked by the owner’s mother. It has a
great atmosphere, and is often the meeting point for local
expats and backpackers from the hostel in the early
evening. In Nikos Souvlaki, people sometimes just drink
and enjoy the ambience. If you’re lucky, the owner might
break out into an impromptu dance whilst you’re there.
Good alternatives to Joe’s Bar are Ostraco and Smerna
Plakias Library is a non-profit library run by retired British expats living in Plakias. The books (which number in the thousands) are all donations. Many tourists use the library for free, and most of the books are in English and German.
Mirthios: Mirthios is a small mountain village 180m above
sea level and 2km from Plakias. If you walk up there, you
should eat in a taverna – the three tavernas of the
village (Mirthios, Plateia and Panorama) are some of the
best in the region.
Hiking Around Plakia
To Timeos Stavros:
Climing the mountain to Timeos Stavros takes approximately
two hours from Plakias or one hour from Lefkogia. At the
summit there is a small chapel and a visitor’s book. The
walk is well worth it, giving you amazing views of
Plakias, Mount Ida (one of the highest mountains in Crete)
White Mountains. On a clear day you can see the
southernmost island of Europe, Gavdos. To get there, you
must leave Lefkogia in a southerly direction and walk
around the mountain. Around the back side of the mountain,
you’ll see a signposted track leading upwards. The summit
of Timeos Stavros is 430m above sea level.