by Minoa.info / Juhani
The village of Loutro is only accessible by ferries and a footpath to
the village. The south coast of Crete is very different than the more commercial north coast. The south coast is almost always warmer than the north coast. Sparkling white villages are like spots on the countryside counterbalancing the Cretan mountains that are colored red and gray like the soil on Crete. From the mountains, countless gorges open to the deep blue Libyan Sea. The road network of the Cretan south coast follows the mountains and reaches the beach
in only a few places. The village of Loutro can only be accessed on
foot or by ferry (see timetable links below).
The village is located west of Chora Sfakion and it takes about 15 minutes by ferry to Loutro. From the arriving ferry the village looks like a thin white strip on the beach, in the embrace of the massive mountains and sheltered by the bay. There, on the quayside, it is crowded because the taverns pick up their fresh supplies from the ferry that has arrived and a new group of holidaymakers come and the old ones leave. The ten or more small hotels are the heart of Loutro. Almost every hotel has its own tavern on the other side of the street. On the quayside there are some cars though there are no roads in the village, only a narrow pedestrian street between the hotels and the beach. The cars are owned by the local people and they are only stored there. By ferry they can be taken to the places with access to roads. There is continuous boat traffic between the Cretan south coast villages and from Loutro you can sail by ferry, enjoying a tour of many beach villages from Chora Sfakion all the way to Paleochora. Changing ferry only once the whole tour takes about two hours in one direction and there are five Cretan south coast villages to see. The ferry from Chora Sfakion to Loutro leaves, depending on the day of
the week, four or five times a day. Tickets can be bought from the
ticket office at the car park of Chora Sfakion, charging only a few
euros per ticket.
The village has concentrated on couples
For many years the village has invested in the romance of couples. The beach is also better for adults because it is made of round, about ten centimetre diameter stones and there are no specific places for children to play, not even in the village. The bay is peaceful and only the small boats of the bay and the ferry sail there. Loutro village is in its entirety one narrow beach road with hotels and taverns. Opposite the hotels, at the beach, there are the taverns and the sun beds. On the beach road there is no traffic, no cars and scooters. This is a special experience for someone who is used to the Cretan way of life. The hikers who walk along the E4 hiking trial sometimes come to the village and sit a while in some of the taverns.
The owner of the Porto Loutro hotel, Alison Androulakaki, says that when Greeks come over there to spend their holiday, mainly in August, they have their children with them but at other times visitors are almost all couples. “Actually everything here is built with a view to couples. When there is no traffic and noise you can get more enjoyment from the quietness, swimming, good food, hiking and extremely beautiful landscape. Also, those celebrities who can’t get any peace in bigger tourist places often come here” says Alison.
In the village there are hotels with different standards and altogether there are about 900 beds. Earlier the whole area was a beach, with a couple of coffee shops and modest lodgings, where the wealthy hippies came. The first coffee shops were built for their needs. Now the whole beach area is full of hotels and taverns but there is still the feeling of a Cretan village.
Loutro is beautiful, clean and peaceful and there are no tourist shops, discos or bars. Behind Loutro, on the other side of the cape about one kilometre away, there is the historic village of Fenix (formerly Foinix) and the ruins of Foinix from thousands of years ago.
The E4 hiking trial goes to the mouth of the Aradena gorge via Fenix. From Loutro it is a little more than a two kilometre walk. Loutro is a destination for independent travellers. Credit cards and bank cards are not accepted everywhere. Sometimes in the summertime the hotels are almost all full.
Book a HOTEL from Loutro.
Bus schedules to Chora Sfakion: http://bus-service-crete-ktel.com/timetables.html
Up-to-date schedules for the ferries: http://www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/ferries.html#1
Hotel Porto Loutro www.hotelportoloutro.com