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West of Frangokastello, on the southern coast of Crete towards Chora Sfakion, we find two charming beaches named Vatalos and Koutelos.
Vatalos beach is only 2 km and less than a 20-minute walk from the centre of Frangokastello, near the settlement of Agios Nektarios. It is a large and rather unorganized stretch of land, with a balance between rocks and sand. As is the case with most beaches on the southern coast of Crete, nudism is permitted. While the beach is not organized, the area has seen recent developments in tourism infrastructure with numerous accommodation options and small hotels in the village. People that visit this area, are after a quiet and relaxing holiday experience away from the crowds and generally prefer to spend their time lounging on the beach or hiking one of the trails on offer. The gorge of Kallikratis is a popular hiking path that can be accessed from Asi Gonia and the plain of Askyfou or from Frangokastello, which requires a steep ascent. The gorge leads to the village of Patsianos and is part of the E4 European long-distance path on the island. You can expect beautiful views towards the South Cretan Sea.
The next beach as we follow the road that leads to Chora Sfakion, is Koutelos, after the villages of Nomikiana and Vouva. A large beach that stretches wide, it is not as clearly marked and lacks infrastructure or other amenities. A few tamarisk trees offer their shade and the coast is made up of large round pebbles and rocks. A seafood taverna usually operates near the beach, and the village has some accommodation options for those who wish to stay.
The area of Sfakia is full of surprises and activities. To the north, the imposing gorge of Imbros awaits visitors looking for a challenge. This is one of the deepest and narrowest gorges of Crete, with a footpath approximately 5 km long. For those who wish to walk through the gorge, the entrance point is a little south of Imbros village. The hike, which requires approximately 3 hours and is fairly easy, ends up at the village of Komitades.