Let’s drive along the most southern part of Crete, Greece and Europe, and visit the village of Chora Sfakion. As everything is on walking distance, you can take a look at traditional products or meet local hospitable people. Our next stop, Frangokastello, is famous for its Venetian castle, the beautiful sandy beach and Drosoulites, the shadows of soldiers which appear there at dawn each May. Along the way back, we make a stop at the entrance of Imbros Gorge to enjoy the breathtaking view and visit the traditional little village of Vrysses with its tall plane trees, the tavernas and kafenions, a perfect place to relax.
Chora Sfakion is the southernmost part of Europe. The natural beauty of the wild, “White Mountains” combined with the deep blue Lybian sea, form a wonderful contrast. Inside the Samaria gorge you may even meet its famous inhabitants, the wild goats of Crete, which the locals call “agrimia” and tourists call “kri-kri”. The rough and dramatic landscape of this area is softened by olive trees, tamarisk and pine trees and the gentle sound of sheep and goats bells. The region is famous for its independent spirit and was the center of resistance against the Venetians and the Turks. The village of Chora Sfakion is a port for those travelling by ferry to Agia Roumeli, Sougia, Paleochora and the unspoilt island of Gavdos.
Frangokastello is one of the most famous beaches of Crete, well-known for the local Venetian castle on the beautiful beach and the legendary ghosts of Drosoulites. Located 13 km east of Chora Sfakion, 79 km south-east of Chania, it lies in a small valley south of the White Mountains in Crete. It was built by the Venetians between 1371 and 1374, was used as a garrison in the region, is in the shape of a simple rectangular, with towers at each corner and a main gate. Legend has it, shadows of armed Greek soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Frangokastello on 17 th May 1828 seem to march towards the fortress around dawn. They are called Drosoulites or dew-men due to the time of day that the phenomenon takes place and can be seen every year, on the anniversary of the battle or even in early June.
The Imbros gorge is an 11 km long and the second most popular gorge for walkers in Crete after the Samaria Gorge. The walk begins at the small village of Imbros, 700 m above the sea level. Since the average walking time is about 2.5 hours, the relative easiness of the hike makes it an ideal walk for families with children. Although not as well-known as the famous Samaria Gorge, it is well worth seeing, because it is very picturesque as there are some very spectacular sections, especially the several very narrow passages. The narrowest point is only 1,6m wide!
The traditional little village of Vrysses lies approx. 35 km from Chania. This charming village with a backdrop of the White Mountains is well known for the kafenions and tavernas beneath the tall plane trees as well its delicious local goat yoghurt. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the lush green landscape by the river Vryssanos and drink an elliniko kafe (Greek coffee) like a local. Around Vrysses on the foot of the White Mountains you can find many traditional villages, gorges and Byzantine churches.
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