Loutro is a quaint fishing village on the south coast of Crete. The amphitheatrical bay, lying right by the sea, boasts a unique waterfront made of whitewashed buildings, blue windows, and pink blossomed bougainvillea. A unique reminder of the Cycladic landscape… but on Crete!
Peaceful and quiet, Loutro can be accessed only by sea or on foot, making the area ideal for those who seek to destress, reconnect and reset. Loutro exudes an unmatched tranquility authenticity that permeates every corner of the tiny settlement.
Where is Loutro
Loutro is in the Chania region, in West Crete, about 96 km from the center of Chania town. One of the most touristic villages in the area of Sfakia, Loutro is about 10 km west of Chora Sfakion, the capital of this traditional territory in Crete.
Located on the southern coast of Crete, the seaside village stands on a well-protected natural harbor, bathed by the pristine waters of the Libyan sea.
How to get to Loutro
In order to reach Loutro, you first need to reach Chora Sfakion. Let’s see how to get there.
Getting to Chora Sfakion by car
We’ve often said that there’s no better way to explore the island than doing it in a rental car.
Driving in Crete is a one-of-kind experience and reaching the south this way can be an unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re coming from Chania or from the East (Rethymnon, Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos), to get from the north coast of Crete to Chora Sfakion, you’ll need to reach the village of Vryses and drive south through the green landscape of Askifou plateau.
The road continues passing the gorge of Imbros and then descends towards the sea leaving you right in Chora Sfakion. The whole trip Vrysses to Chora Sfakion takes about 45 minutes.
Getting to Chora Sfakion by bus
It’s also possible to reach Chora Sfakion with public transport. Buses with the route Chania – Chora Sfakion depart several times a week from the Central Bus Station of Chania, the whole trip takes almost 2 hours. Check the official timetable here.
Once in Chora Sfakion, you can choose to get to Loutro by boat or hiking. Cars are not allowed in the village, so let’s see what alternatives are there to finally make it to Loutro. The bus ticket is €8.
Getting to Loutro by boat
Boats to Loutro depart from the port of Chora Sfakion, there are daily departures from May to October (10.30, 12.00, 13.00, 16.30, 17.30 and 18.30). The boat trip is about 20 minutes and the ticket is €6 per person.
For latest fees and timetable, check here.
Hiking to Loutro
Another way to reach Loutro is on foot. You can either walk along the coast on the E4 path (about 2 hours from Chora Sfakion). On your way there it’s possible to stop for a swim and a rest at the beaches of Glyka Nera or Timios Stavros.
As an alternative, you can also drive from Chora Sfakion up to Anopolis village, park your car there, and then hike the winding path down to Loutro, this option will take you a bit more than an hour.
Best things to do in Loutro
The main reason to spend some time in Loutro is of course to unwind and slow down. And even though Loutro’s main trait is its peaceful mood, there are many things to do in Loutro to have some fun
Rent a Boat
The magnificent sea in the bay of Loutro is one of those things that have made this village famous. In fact, Loutro is quite well-known for the stunning color of the sea, a magnificent palette ranging from light turquoise to deep navy blue
There’s no better way to appreciate the pristine sea of Loutro than hiring a boat and sailing along the coast. Daily fees depend on the boat to choose, but prices start from €80 per day, remember that to that fee it’s usually necessary to add up the price for petrol. Canoe rental is usually cheaper and can be done by the hour or by the day as well.
Any option you choose will give you the freedom to reach some of the isolated nearby beaches where you can swim, dive, and snorkel to discover the submarine landscape of the Lybian sea.
Explore the village on foot
The tiny village is quite easy to explore on foot. One of the main traits of Loutro is its shape, Loutro is built in such a compact way that keeps everything connected. There are just a couple of roads that cross the settlement and moving around is pretty simple.
Venture further uphill to discover the Venetian Castle of Loutro which stands perched on a summit and basking in astonishing panoramic views. The hike to get to the area is not really that difficult and it can be easily followed even by the youngest members of the family. Once you’ve made it to the ruins and admired the surrounding scenario of southern Crete, the effort would look totally worth it.
Once you’re done exploring, take a break at a local coffee shop or splurge in the delicacies at one of the seafront tavernas.
Things to do in the nearby area
One of the best things to do in Loutro is to take some time and discover the typical landscape of South Crete. The area near Loutro is a heaven for hikers and fans of long walks surrounded by the spectacular nature. Enjoy walking through the scenic and unspoiled mountain countryside style valleys and gorges.
Whether it’s a path amidst herbs and bushes or a hiking trail next to the breathtaking walls of deep gorges and mountains, you will certainly be amazed at the views you’ll encounter on your way.
No matter which path you take, don’t forget to carry plenty of water with you, wear comfortable walking shoes and enough sunscreen lotion.
Walk to Anopolis
A vertical climb that takes from 1 to 2 hours will lead you directly to the historic settlement of Anopolis.
Once there, soak in the unique views of the surrounding plateau and sample a hot Sfakian pie filled with goat cheese and drizzled with delicious thyme honey.
Hike the Aradena gorge
Those with a deeper thirst for adventure can take the challenge of hiking the imposing Aradena gorge. This a beautiful natural sanctuary is surrounded by high red stoned walls and an impressive scenery.
The hike into this natural wonder can take from 2 to 4 hours. Although Aradena is technically not part of the village, it’s still within walking distance from Loutro. Despite the somewhat challenging climbs and steep inclines that you will need to overcome, once you conquer the hike, you will undoubtedly be glad you chose to make the journey.
Discover the Imbros gorge
Less crowded and shorter than the famous Samaria, Imbros gorge is the perfect ravine for those who want to test their hiking skills and admire the local landscape. Take a day off from the lazy lounging on the beach of Loutro and catch the ferry to Chora Sfakia.
Once there, jump on the bus that covers the route to Chania and stop at the entrance of Imbros. Access the gorge to make your way back South along the natural path of Imbros, surrounded by lush vegetation, high mountain walls, and in the company of some Cretan goats!
Replenish your strength with a fresh juice in the taverna at the exit of the gorge and face the final walk back to the port of Chora Sfakion. If you choose to follow this trail, make sure to check the schedule for the last boat to Loutro.
The hike through Imbros takes from 2 to 3 hours and it will put you in direct contact with Crete’s mountainous landscape and traditional atmosphere.
Sail to Agia Roumeli
Another isolated town in South Crete is Agia Roumeli. People who visit Agia Roumeli are normally those who chose to hike Samaria Gorge since the walking path ends at the entrance of the village. However, that’s not the only way.
If your stay in Loutro extends for some days, hop on the ferry to sail all the way to Agia Roumeli to spend a day at the beach and enjoy a fantastic lunch in any of the tavernas nearby.
You can catch the ferry back to Loutro right before sunset and enjoy a unique ride along the Lybian coast of Crete.
Best beaches in the area of Loutro
One of the main reasons to visit Loutro is to discover the magnificent beaches in South Crete, whether it’s the beach nearby, or some of the nearby shores, you won’t be disappointed whatever choice you make.
The beach of Loutro is located towards the East of the village. It’s a small but well-organized pebbled shore where you can spend a day sunbathing, go swimming in the beautiful emerald waters, or go snorkeling and marvel at the unique seabed of Loutro.
No more than 700 meters west of Loutro, you can visit the small beach of Finikas as well as the beach and Lykos. If you’re in the mood to hike a bit more, you’ll be able to reach the spectacular Marmara beach where you can go swimming or even snorkelling inside the marble sea caves.
Walking along the coastal E4 path to the east, it’s also possible to spend a day in the beautiful Glyka Nera. Also known as Sweetwater beach, spending a day there means a time filled with relaxation, enjoying the crystalline waters on this white pebbled beach.
There’s basic organisation provided by the local taverna, however, it’s always safe to pack some cold drinks and a lunch, especially if you are visiting very early or late in the season.
Although both Marmara and Glyka Nera can be reached on foot, those who feel less active can get there with much less of an effort, taking one of the several boats that depart daily from Loutro. Remember to agree on the pick up time before stepping down from the boat.
Where to stay in Loutro, Crete
The accommodation options in Loutro are somewhat limited, being such a small place, there are only a few hotels, and rooms to rent. This is why Loutro has managed to retain its unspoiled charm. There are no hotels with swimming pools and such amenities here.
If you’re planning on visiting Loutro during the busier months of July and August, booking a place to stay in advance is highly recommended.
For those visiting in May, June, and even late September, finding a place to stay can be much easier. things considered, you should not be surprised that the accommodation options are pretty scarce. Given it is such a small place, you should not expect massive resort type hotels.
Porto Loutro is one of the largest hotels in the picturesque fisherman’s village of Loutro. With a total of about 20 rooms across two hotel buildings, it offers guests with a decent accommodation option of two star hospitality. One building is right on the beach while the second is located just above the first facing the bay and the surrounding mountains.
✆ 0030 28250 91433 website
At Daskalogiannis Hotel expect excellent service, heartfelt Greek hospitality and comfortable rooms facing the seafront. With a great review score, guests here value the cleanliness, the location, and the hotel service.
✆ 0030 28250 91514 website
Sofia Rooms offers five comfortable rooms that have been fully renovated and decorated in a traditional Aegean style colour palette of white & blue. Sofia Rooms are located in the heart of Loutro, just a few metres away from the sea.
✆ 0030 28250 91354 website
Where to eat in Loutro
Notos Restaurant and Rooms
Located on the eastern side of the bay, Notos is a family cafè and taverna known for its unique variety of mezedes, fresh fish, and enormous range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. ✆ 0030 693 2490907
Blue House is a family restaurant-tavern, where you can enjoy all the Cretan specialties and much more. You should not miss to try kalitsounia pies, Sfakiani pies, local roasted lamb, moussaka, stuffed vegetables and stews. ✆ 0030 28250 91127
One of the highest ranking restaurants in Loutro, Pavlos is a great choice for enjoying fresh fish as well as some popular Greek meat dishes, such as kontosouvli. ✆ 0030 2825 091336
Akroyiali Beach Bar
Found at the end of the bay, Akroyiali Beach Bar provides a refreshing alternative in Loutro Village. It is essentially a beach bar shack that offers beach goers refreshments and snacks during the day, as well as sunbeds and parasols. It is a laid back place although it may get crowded as it is the only venue of this kind in Loutro. ✆ 0030 2825 091032
When is the best time to visit Loutro
As with any destination in Crete, summer months are the best time for a holiday. However, if you’re willing to breathe an even more peaceful atmosphere, Loutro can be uniquely beautiful and lonely at the end of September. The weather conditions are the most enjoyable for any tourist.
If you want to take advantage of the warmer sea at the end of the summer and get rid of the high season crowds, it’s a wise idea to visit Loutro in September!