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. However, you will not find gas station, hospital, pharmacy or bank.
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 exit of Lissos Gorge and stretches to the east for 1.5km. The beach ends in a small cove, hidden between rocks well protected from prying eyes. This part of the long beach is not organized and is preferred almost exclusively by naturists. Instead, the beach in front of the village offers umbrellas, showers, sports and a lifeguard tower. Along the beach there are plenty of tamarisk trees where you can find shade.
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.