The small village and beach of Sougia is a charming destination on the southwestern coast of Crete. It still preserves the authentic and relaxed lifestyle of the island, in complete contrast with the crowded resorts of the northern coast. If you are looking for a secluded place where you can relax but still find a stunning beach and many other fascinating things to see and do, Sougia is the perfect destination. While the village is quite small, there are several hotels and guesthouses, taverns and shops to serve the faithful tourists returning each summer. Besides the wild and superb beach, you can also visit the ancient ruins of Lissos, ancient Elyros, the gorge of Agia Irini, the church of Agia Eirini and others. Below you can find the most important information about the village and beach of Sougia in southern Crete.
Where is Sougia
The village and beach of Sougia is located on the southwestern coast of Crete, part of the Chania region and about 70 kilometers south of Chania. From the capital of Crete, Heraklion, you can rent a car to get to Sougia and the trip will take over 3 hours for the 200 kilometers distance. There are ferry boats going to Sougia from Paleochora, Agia Roumeli, Loutro and Sfakia. The village is quite remote and only one road reaches it, making it a very peaceful summer destination in Crete.
How to Get to Sougia
Getting to Sougia by Car
You can arrive in Sougia with a Heraklion car hire or Chania. From the capital or its airport (Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport), the trip will take more than 3 hours, while the city of Chania on the northern coast is about 2 hours away by car. From Heraklion, you will drive along the northern coast until Chania and then take the winding road south towards the village. Given the remoteness of the destination and the many interesting things to see and do nearby, renting a car in Crete is the best option to visit Sougia. There are basic tourist services in Sougia, including small markets, accommodation and taverns.
Getting to Sougia by Bus
The public transportation connection to Sougia is quite limited, with only one or two buses each day to and from the village. These buses usually run during the tourist season and the trip takes about two hours. The only viable options of getting to Sougia are the taxis from Chania and renting a car in Chania and driving to the village.
Best Things to Do in Sougia
Sougia is among the undiscovered secrets of Crete, a peaceful destination that has not yet been overrun by mass-tourism, preserving much of its authentic character and natural setting. The remote village of Sougia is located on the southwestern coast of Crete. It has a pleasant beach that is about 1.2 km long and quite wide, reaching about 70 meters in some areas. While it is a pebble beach, these are quite small in most places and allows for comfortable sunbathing. The beach is almost never crowded and allows nudism, although this is not compulsory in any way.
The water is extremely clear and quite calm most of the time, while the beach has few facilities. There are no dangerous currents on the beach, but the depth increases quite fast, so children should always be supervised. Apart from the beach, there are many other fascinating places to discover and things to experience. Among many others, you should definitely hike to the archaeological site and gorge of Lissos, explore the Agia Irini Gorge, visit the amazing ancient Eliros or walk to the chapel of Prophet Elias.
Visit Lissos Archaeological Site and Gorge
One of the most enticing and enjoyable activities while staying in Sougia is the walk to Lissos, passing through some exceptional landscapes and discovering ancient sites. On the way, you will pass through the small gorge of Lissos, before reaching the idyllic site of Lissos. There, you can spend a few hours exploring the extremely peaceful and fascinating area. Among others, you will be able to discover the ruins of Asclepieion Temple, the Roman Necropolis, Agios Kyriakos and Agia Panagia chapels with interesting frescoes and architecture, many other ruins and a small wild beach. Lissos is not inhabited and it takes about 90 minutes to get there on foot, following a path west from the harbor of Sougia.
Visit Ancient Elyros Site
To reach the ancient site of Elyros, you will have to drive towards the north and before the junction to Rodovani; you will have to take a small side road towards the left until a church. From here, you can walk and explore the ruins of the ancient Hellenistic city, although most of the remains are yet to be excavated. The site is located on a hill overlooking the sea and the mountains, with the ancient site of Lissos serving as a harbor for Elyros. It used to be the most important settlement in southwestern Crete during the Doric and Roman times, having as much as 30,000 people and producing weaponry. While much of the site is still unearthed, you will be able to admire the ruins of an ancient Roman aqueduct, large cisterns, a theatre, parts of walls, the cemetery and more.
Explore the Agia Irini Gorge
Located north of the Sougia village, the gorge of Agia Irini is an excellent alternative to the better known but also more crowded gorge of Samaria. The entrance in the gorge area is south of the village of Agia Irini and the hike takes about 7 km, with a descent of about 500 meters towards the south. The path can also be hiked uphill and it follows a small river that can block parts of the canyon during heavy rains. Along the way, there are amazing landscapes and interesting vegetation species, especially enchanting during spring when the flowers bloom. If you are doing the full walk through the canyon and back, it will take about 5 hours.
Hike to the Chapel of Prophet Elias
This hike will take you along a path towards the ridges to the east of Sougia village. Actually, the chapel can be seen from the village on top of a steep hill to the east. The views along the walk are spectacular, among the best in Crete, yet it takes about 4 hours to get to Tripiti and another 4 hours back, especially challenging during hot days. It might be best to make one way on a boat and another on foot. The panorama from the chapel is breathtaking and worth the effort.
Discover the nearby beaches
The beach of Sougia is truly enchanting, yet you might also want to explore some other beautiful beaches nearby during your holidays in Sougia. There are marvellous beaches nearby and they can be reached if you rent a car or a boat from the harbor. Towards the west, before the village of Paleochora, you will reach the splendid beaches of Gialiskari, Anidri and Keratides.
The Gialiskari Beaches are considered among the most beautiful in western Crete, located at the exit of a gorge on a peninsula, and having small pebbles and deep cool waters. The village of Paleochora has several beaches, some of them having sand and being more crowded during the season. All of them have umbrellas and sun-beds. On the southwestern tip of Crete, the idyllic Elafonisi beach is worth a day trip from Sougia, with its stunning lagoon, pink fine sands, the island and other attractions. Towards the east of from Sougia, there are few organized beaches and more remote small coves that are hard to reach. The nearest major beach is in Agia Roumeli.
Where to Stay in Sougia, Crete
Despite its very small size and relative remoteness compared to other major settlements on the coast of Crete, the village of Sougia has a wide selection of accommodation options, from simple private rooms to studios that offer private kitchens. However, there are no big hotels and resorts near Sougia and travelers will have to settle for more rustic lodgings. The prices are very reasonable, especially when booked in advance and outside the peak summer season. In the most crowded periods, it might be difficult to find free rooms to rent.
Syia Hotel 3*
Located just 200 meters from the beach in Sougia, this superb hotel was opened in 2008 and offers one room studios and two-room apartments with great design and facilities. The hotel also features balconies, a garden and great views of the sea.
☏ +30 28230 51174
El Greco Rooms
Conveniently located just 200 meters from the beach, the hotel offers 11 rooms and 4 studios that are located just next door. Each of them has a balcony, private bathroom, air conditioning and free wireless internet.
☏ +30 28230 51186
Captain George Rooms
Located in a beautiful garden about 100 meters from the beach in Sougia, Captain George offers 12 rooms, of which 8 are studios, all of them with private bathrooms and balconies. The owner also offers boat cruises and boat taxi services.
☏ +30 28230 51133
Where to Eat in Sougia
Located right next to the beach and the main roads of Sougia, it offers a wide choice of dishes, including fresh fish and seafood, grilled meat and traditional Cretan recipes.
☏ +30 28230 51669
This friendly family-run tavern will offer delicious food made from fresh local ingredients, including seafood and traditional recipes.
☏ +30 28230 51510
A little hidden away, this small enchanting tavern is popular for its grilled dishes, including delicious seafood that sometimes comes accompanied by live music.
☏ +30 28230 51343
Best Time to Visit Sougia
While the weather might be acceptable for most of the year on the south coast of Crete, swimming and water activities are best enjoyed from April to October. The peak season is usually from mid-June to mid-September, but this is also when it is most crowded and the prices are highest. To sum up, the best time to visit Sougia is April-June and September-October.