The splendid town of Kissamos, also known as Kastelli, is one of the most fascinating destinations of western Crete, a seaside gem that still preserves its authentic charm. Mentioned since ancient times and then renowned for the Venetian castle that once stood here, the town of Kissamos features the perfect combination of magnificent beaches and natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and a touch of traditional Cretan lifestyle.
If you are searching for an unspoiled destination in Crete, the town of Kissamos might be the perfect choice, with a lot of exciting things to see and do, including pristine beaches, old churches, ancient ruins, a lovely port and much more. There are also plenty of accommodation options and traditional taverns to choose from in Kissamos. Below you can find the most important information about the town of Kissamos in western Crete.
Where is Kissamos
The town of Kissamos or Kastelli Kisssamou is located on the western coast of Crete, part of the Chania region about 36 km west of the city of Chania. From the capital of Heraklion, you can rent a car and drive all the way along the northern coast to reach the town. Kissamos also has a ferry service that connects Crete with the Peloponnese through Kithira and further into Piraeus. Located in a sheltered gulf between two long peninsulas, the seaside resort has exceptionally calm waters.
How to Get to Kissamos
Getting to Kissamos by Car
You can travel to Kissamos with a car rental from Chania. From Heraklion, the trip will take you along the splendid northern coast of the island for about two and a half hours (170 km), while the city of Chania is only about half an hour to the east. Nevertheless, it is a very pleasurable trip and considering the remoteness of this picturesque town, renting a car in Crete is always a great idea. You will have a lot of interesting places to visit close to Kissamos, while the seaside town has everything you might need for an unforgettable experience.
Getting to Kissamos by Bus
To reach the town of Kissamos or Kastelli by bus, you can do it directly from Chania or you have to change buses if you are coming from the capital of Heraklion. From Chania, there are daily buses to Kissamos, departing each hour during the summer season. If you want more comfort and convenience, hire a car from Chania Airport which is a better option, as you will have a lot of exploring to do.
Best Things to Do in Kissamos
The fascinating town of Kissamos is one of the undiscovered treasures of Crete, a peaceful town that is mostly sought after by people who love pristine nature and interesting sights. While there are a fair number of travelers arriving in this destination each holiday season, it still keeps its unspoiled atmosphere, mostly because it is regarded as a mesmerizing natural destination first.
There are plenty of things to experience in Kissamos, beginning with the beautiful beaches that line the coast. The beach of Mavros Molos is a sheltered small beach in the western side of town, perfectly equipped and featuring fine sand and shallow water, with a lot of cafes and tavernas on the promenade. Just a little north of this beach, you can also admire the old port of Kastelli Kissamos, while further along, there is the bigger port with the ferry terminal. The highlight of the port is the little St. Nicholas Church, with splendid painting inside. East of Kissamos, there is a long 7 km stretch of beautiful beaches, starting with Telonio and Livadia, two that can be easily visited on foot from town. It is easy to find uncrowded spots each day along this endless beach.
The name of Kastelli comes from the old Venetian fortress that used to rise here, with remains still visible. In the center of Kissamos, you can also visit the interesting Archaeological Museum, housed inside a historical building and featuring interesting artifacts including old mosaics, ceramics, sculptures, coins and other treasures from the history of Kissamos and western Crete.
Visit the Ancient City of Polyrinnia
Probably founded by the Achaeans over three millennia ago, the ancient city of Polyrinnia is located about 9 km south of Kissamos, on a small mountain that offers astonishing views of the northern coast of Crete. It used to be the most important town of Western Crete during Roman times, with Kissamos being one of its ports. Today, you can explore the tiny village and hike uphill to the ruins of the ancient city for the spectacular panoramas and a trip back in time.
Explore the Rodopou Peninsula
The peninsula of Rodopou is located east of Kissamos and being mostly rocky landscapes, it has only some dirt roads running through. Nevertheless, the scenery is stunning, with deserted villages, remote churches and rocky bays to admire, as well as the ancient sanctuary of Dyktinna at the tip of the peninsula.
Explore the Gramvoussa Peninsula
West of the town of Kissamos, you can easily explore the peninsula of Gramvoussa, with plenty of awesome sights to discover. Besides the idyllic Balos Beach located on a stretch of sand between an island and the peninsula, you can also visit the ruins of Falassarna, a few old churches and admire the splendid rocky coastline along the way.
Visit the Topolia Gorge
One of the most impressive natural wonders of northwestern Crete is the magnificent gorge of Topolia, located about 13 km south of Kissamos, between the villages of Topolia and Strovles. It is a spectacular experience and while there is a road passing through, you should also explore on foot to enjoy the enchanting nature. The steep ridges on each side, the huge boulders along the river, the lush vegetation and the unique historical sights along the way make for an unforgettable trip. There are a lot of beautiful caves and old chapels inside the canyons.
Discover the attractions of Potamida
Just a few kilometers to the southwest of Kissamos, you can visit the lovely village of Potamida, featuring some enchanting attractions, starting with the Komolithi, unique geologic formations appearing like small conical hills made of soft clay. They look a little like the landscape of Cappadocia, but the interesting thing is that there is still vegetation on top of the cones. The village also has an operational old watermill, as well as several lovely small churches.
Discover the Beaches Nearby
While there are amazing beaches right in and close to the town of Kissamos, if you feel the need to explore for different ones, there are a lot to see. To the west of the large port, there is the small but charming Viglia Beach, followed by the wild Kaliviani Beach. While the peninsula of Gramvoussa is mostly rocky, it is worth driving or taking a boat to the beach and lagoon of Balos, one of the most picturesque on this part of Crete.
South of Balos, you can also stop at the bigger and more organized beach of Falasarna. West of Kissamos, after the beach of Livadia, it continues with other stretches of superb sandy beaches like Drapanias beach, before you come across the rocky peninsula of Rodopou. Further along, you can visit the beaches of Kolimvari, Gerani, Platanias and Agia Marina, before reaching Chania.
Where to Stay in Kissamos, Crete
The town of Kissamos is fairly large for Cretan standards, with plenty of accommodation options to choose from, although even these can become fully booked during the summer. It would be wise to book ahead of your holiday or you can choose a nice place in the surrounding villages further from the coast. There are hotels, villas and apartments in Kissamos, with nice quality and decent prices, so you should find something according to your preference.
Christina Beach Hotel
Located right on the seaside promenade of Kissamos, this newly built hotel offers amazing access to the beach, lovely comfortable rooms and other amenities like a garden, outdoor pool, terrace, outdoor dining area, free parking and wi-fi.
☏ +30 28220 83333
Located in the center of Kissamos town, this excellent hotel has amazing reviews and features recently renovated rooms and apartments with all amenities, as well the option to arrange various activities in town and beyond.
☏ +30 28220 22725
Located very close to the beautiful beach of Mavros Molos in Kissamos, this prestigious hotel was one of the first established in the area, offering excellent rooms with private bathrooms and other amenities, as well as an outdoor pool, free parking, massage, yoga and delicious breakfast.
☏ +30 28220 23223
Where to Eat in Kissamos
Maria Beach Restaurant
Located right on the Mavros Molos Beach, this amazing restaurant is part of the Maria Beach Hotel, but welcomes all guests who seek delicious Cretan and Mediterranean dishes.
☏ +30 28220 22610
Plaka Beach Restaurant
Located at the eastern side of the Mavros Molos Beach, this enchanting restaurant features traditional cuisine with amazing fish and meat recipes.
☏ +30 28220 22285
Fish Tavern 1960
Located on the sea promenade between the beaches of Mavros Molos and Telonio, this charming little tavern offers some of the best fish and seafood delicacies in the town of Kissamos.
☏ +30 28220 22340
Best Time to Visit Kissamos
Apart from the winter months when the weather is fairly cold and there are more rainy days, you can visit any destination on the island, including Kissamos. The water is warm and the weather is warm enough starting from April and all the way into October, making the holiday season extremely long. During the summer months of July and August, it can get too hot and the town can become crowded, so it might be best to visit during the end of spring and early autumn.