On the northwest flank of the Akrotiri peninsula, we find the beach of Stavros (meaning “Cross”). This is a sheltered bay with soft sand and turquoise waters, close enough to the city of Chania but still under the radar of most visitors. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers and a lifeguard and plenty of activities including water-sports.
It was here that Michalis Kakoyiannis filmed ?Zorba?, based on the book by famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. The film received three Oscars in 1964 and put Grecia e il isola di Creta on the spotlight. It is particularly remembered for the closing scene where Anthony Quin (Zorba) teaches Alan Bates (Basil) to dance the syrtaki on the beach.
Stavros is quite popular and attracts its fair share of tourists in the summer. Nearby there are hotels, apartments and rooms to rent, many restaurants, banks and shops. Next to the beach is a small harbour that serves the area, whilst a short distance away to the east is another beach with sand and rocks alike. Quieter and less organized, it is a great location to watch the sunset from or spend a day relaxing.
On the west side of the bay, we find Pachia Ammos beach (Thick Sand) which despite its name is characterized by large rocks in the seabed. This is a great option for days when Stavros Beach is too crowded, especially during peak season. There is a beach bar and a restaurant near the water and you can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas for a reasonable price.
To reach Stavros da Chania takes approximately half an hour and is 15 km away. For visitors that chose to base themselves in Stavros, the International Airport of Chania is located less than 10 km away. While in the area, a visit to the monasteries of Agia Triada (Tzagarolou) e Gouverneto. A beautiful hiking trail that leads to Spiaggia di Katholiko, on the northern coast, starts near the Monastero di Tzagarolon, dopo Monastero di Gouverneto. It is ideal for those looking for an easy walk that combines a beautiful setting with some mysticism, owing to the monuments that can be visited along the way.
In recent years, Seitan Limania on the other side of the peninsula of Akrotiri has also become rather popular.