Our journey through the most amazing Cretan beaches has just started…
After showing you Balos, we added new wonders to our “dream list”, starting from the protagonist of the cover picture of this post: Seitan Limania beach, located at north-east of Chania, in the Akrotiri peninsula.
Again with Laura and Carlo, we started driving in the morning for 30 minutes, then we parked the car and continued for 10 minutes by foot. The past ten minutes in the car and the walking bit make you realize why the beach has got this name, which means “Devil’s Harbour”. The downhill road is indeed very steep, but paved and very scenic. The walking part is quite short, but intense and adventurous, because it’s carved on the rough rocks typical of this area… we suggest to wear a good pair of walking shoes!
The view close to the beach is of rare beauty, as the totality of various things makes this small natural bay a unique gem. Its peculiar zig-zag shape, the deep turquoise clashing with the prickly and light-coloured rocks of the mountainous sides surrounding it, the distant location… All of this has helped us thinking that Seitan Limania is the top beach in Crete with regard to originality, at least the ones visited until today.
But we leave this small paradise to talk about another beauty, already visited by us in 2013 but worth a hundred visits: Elafonisi beach, located in the southwestern coast of Crete, at about 1 hour and 30 minutes driving from Chanià. Since the arrival of Giovanna, Laura and Anna, dearest friends of ours who stayed with us last weekend, we rented a 7 seater car and we started our journey towards this well-known beach, considered the “Cretan Caribbean”. Besides the crystal clear water, which is shallow for about ten metres, Elafonisi is known for its pink sand which blends with the warm and soft sandy shore, creating a really unique chromatic effect.
After a day of total relax and sunbathing, on our way back we decided to stop at the nearby Monastery of the Golden Step, in Greek Chryssoskalitissa Monastery, built around 1500 on a high rock overlooking the sea and from which you can enjoy an amazing view.
There are many stories, superstitions and legends around this monastery. According to the most evocative legend, one of the 98 steps leading there is made of gold, but visible only to the pure of spirit. Whereas, others think it’s called like this because, during the Turkish invasion, in order to avoid the raid, the monks had hidden the treasure of the monastery under one of the steps. Another version is that this step was truthfully golden and it was then offered by the monks to the Turkish as tax payment to the sultan.
It is also narrated about the miracle of the Virgin Mary, whose icon is found climbing the stairs carved in the rock. According to this legend, after the killing of many Christians on Easter of 1824, a Turkish troop arrived at the monastery (deserted at the time) to destroy it, but climbing the stairs they were attacked by a swarm of bees nestled among the rocks… That’s how the monastery was saved
Whatever the real story is, Chryssoskalitissa is worth a visit, and if you are on your way to/from Elafonisi, we strongly recommend this stop (the entrance ticket is only 2 euros)…
It’s just a pity that we haven’t seen the golden step.
Click on the map to see where these spots are