One of the most striking landscapes in south Crete, this beach with its small church to Aghios Pavlos is set at the mouth of the Elygia Gorge.
The church has stood here since the early 11th century AD, when Aghios Iannis Xenos, one of the most important personages in Cretan history, built it in honour of Saint Paul the Apostle who – according to tradition – was shipwrecked here on his way to Rome. After the wreck, he is said to have spent some time here, baptizing all and sundry.
The church has a cruciform plan, with a façade of pale marble and of stone. Inside are today preserved a very few fragments of later frescoes, in the apses and the dome.
The bay itself is beautiful enough – isolated with crystal-clear deep water, sand and pebbles. In addition, above and behind it stands the imposing bulk of the White Mountains, while pines and 30 m-high sand dunes hold it in their embrace. Though the scenery is fantastic, the beach itself is exposed to the west winds’ (melteme) fury. The beach is extensive, and an ideal spot for free camping and nudism. A small taverna nearby can supply food and water.
- Tips, Suggestions, Iseful info
- History, Culture
- What to do (Activities)
- What to see (Culture, Nature)
- location Aghia Roumeli, Sfakia, Chania
- free camping Yes
- nudism Yes
- beach type Sandy, Thin Pebble, Pebble
- accommodation No
- dinning Yes - limited choices
- other facilities
relevant routes & paths:
Distance: 6 km west of Loutro, 3 km east of Agia Roumeli.
By sea: From Agia Roumeli by boat.
On foot: From Agia Roumeli, the European E4 Hiking Trail (duration about 1 hour). The path at some points is quite rough. Through the Elygias Gorge, to negotiate which will take about 3.5 hours.