Sougia is a small village located 75km west of Chania city, at the exit of the beautiful Gorge of Agia Irini. A favorite destination for hippies in the 70s', today it is a perfect choice for peaceful holidays in a beautiful landscape with all the basic amenities provided. In Sougia you will find many restaurants, taverns, rooms, coffee shops, bars, mini market, etc. In summer, ferries run daily from Sougia to Chora Sfakion, Paleochora, Agia Roumeli, Gavdos island and Loutro.
In front of the village lies a lovely quiet long beach with coarse sand and crystal clear deep water. The beach starts from the small harbor of Sougia (west) at the exit of Lissos Gorge and stretches to the east for 1.5km and is preferred by naturists.
HISTORY AND What to see
The ancient name of Sougia (Syia) means "place of hogs" in the ancient Greek, because pigs were fed on the plenty acorns of the area. Today you don’t see any pigs, but you still see the oak trees, if you make a stroll through the magnificent gorge of Agia Irini, one of the three most visited gorges in West Crete.
You can also visit the ruins of the Doric town of Elyros; ancient Sougia (then called Syia) was its seaport. The ruins of Elyros are located in Kefala hill, near the village Rodovani. Elyros flourished until the Greek classical period, from 500 to 350 BC. It was one of the major towns of the south-west Crete, with a population of approximately 16.000 residents. Elyros had its own currency and was famous for making weapons.
Another attraction is the church of Saint Panteleimon, built on the site of the early Christian Basilica of Syia, west of the village still preserving ancient mosaics on the floor. They depict scenes from nature and date back in the 6th century AD. The church is not open to public, but you should ask for the keys at the local kiosk.
Near Sougia lies the ancient city of Lissos, which was the second seaport of Elyros. It was famous about its theatre, the thermal baths and the Asclepeion, watered by the spring of Lissos. If you don’t have a boat, you have to follow the path that leads to the west through Lissos Gorge and you will reach the ruined town Lissos after 1.5-2 hours of hiking.
Lastly, if you follow the E4 trail leading to Agia Roumeli (east), you will meet after 2 hours of hiking the picturesque chapel of St. Anthony, hidden in a scenic cove. In the same direction, you will also find the legendary cave of Polyphemus.
The Samaria Gorge is the longest trekking gorge in Europe and also the most famous of all. Thousands of tourists flock here daily in the summer season to walk from the top to the bottom. For many visitors, it is the sole purpose of their visit to Crete. The length of the gorge reaches 18km and takes almost 4-7 hours to hike from Omalos to Agia Roumeli, depending on trekking speed.
Sougia is a small village located 75km west of Chania, at the exit of the beautiful Gorge of Agia Irini. A favorite destination for hippies in the 70s', today it is a perfect choice for peaceful holidays in a beautiful landscape with all the basic amenities provided.
The gorge of Agia Irini is on the west side of the White Mountains, with many vertical passes. It gets its name from the homonym village located near the entrance, 46 km from Chania. Its length is 7.5 km and its crossing takes three hours. The gorge ends up in the seaside village of Sougia.
The coastal trail connecting Sougia to Agia Roumeli is one of the most mountainous, tiring, but also beautiful parts of E4 European trail in Crete. The trail starts from ancient Syia (Sougia), runs through Tripiti and Domata beaches, ascends to 550m altitude and descends to Agia Roumeli.
This amazing hike is about 16km long and takes about 5-6 hours. The trail is clear and well-marked with the typical E4 back-yellow signs. It crosses the archaeological site of Lissos, where you can find water from the local spring. It isn't too difficult but plenty of water, sun protection, and steady shoes are recommended.
The beach of Lissos is located at position Ai-Kyrkos (Agios Kyrikos) about 71km south of Chania and 3 km west of Sougia. It is the site of ancient Lissos, which was actually the seaport of another town, called Elyros. The ruins of Elyros are located close to today's village Rodovani.
The cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus is located between Sougia and Koustogerako settlements. The cave has no interesting decor, but one marble formation that reminds of a throne. The entrance is divided in two by a large rock, like the rock that was put by Odysseus in the cave of Polyphemus, the one-eyed cannibal Cyclops, before blinding him with a large wooden stick.
Near the settlement Moni, Selino Province, we meet a very mysterious monument, unique in Crete. It is a small conical pyramid with a circumference of 16m and a height of 4.6m, which is carved. The interior has a carved room with dimensions 2.20m x 2.10m and height 1.40m.