Crete’s westernmost quarter is one of its least visited, partly because there are no big sandy beaches to accommodate resort hotels, and partly because it’s so far from the great archeological sites. But for mountains, scattered coves and unexploited villages, it’s unrivalled.

The city of Haniá (Chania) is an excellent reason to come here, but the immediately adjacent coast, especially to the west of the city, is overdeveloped and not particularly exciting; if you want beaches head for the south coast or the far west. Here, Paleóhora is the only place which could really be described as a resort, and even this is on a thoroughly human scale; others are emptier still. Elsewhere on the south coast, Ayía Rouméli and Loutró can be reached only on foot or by boat; Hóra Sfakíon sees hordes passing through but few who stay; Frangokástello, nearby, has a beautiful castle and the first stirrings of development. Behind these lie the White Mountains (Lefká Óri) and the famed walk through the Samariá Gorge. In the far west, great beaches at Falásarna and Elafoníssi are mostly visited only as day-trips.

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