Friday, June 13, 2008

Falassarna, Crete

One of the most famous beaches in the region of Chania is Falassarna (you can also find it written as Falasarna). I'm going to say it yet again, of course, that thonging and topless sunbathing/swimming are permitted on practically every beach here in Greece - and, as I've mentioned before, I only know of one beach where toplessness isn't allowed (Loutro, in the south of Crete). Falassarna lies in the westernmost part of the Chania region and going there is rather easy - just take the "highway" to Kastelli (Kissamos) and then continue through the small town all the way to the west. In a village named Platanos, you'll see the signs leading you to the beach.

Falassarna is considered to be one of the nicest beaches on the isle of Crete. It's long, sandy, with crystal clear waters and is practically divided in two beaches: the big beach and the small one, which is located further up north. Unfortunately, tourist development has struck Falassarna as well, with various pensions having been built in places where I'm not sure it's legal to build. The umbrella/beach chair rental plague has afflicted Falassarna as well; now the small beach has very limited space for those who want to be left alone and enjoy the sun and its rocky part, which once was somewhat popular with nudists, has recently become the lair of a few incredibly obnoxious gawkers; this part also cannot be recommended, because of the trash and the tar.

This leaves us with the "big beach". Again, umbrella and beach chair rentals... But, thankfully, there is a generous part still left vacant and you can enjoy your swim there. However, let me inform you that you really should avoid Falassarna on weekends, as it's one of the most popular destinations for one-day excursions and you'll be certainly annoyed by noisy families with screaming kids and yelling moms. Also, before you decide to go there, take a look at the weather forecast: on windy days, you're pretty much guaranteed to get sandblasted.

Falassarna also has some archaeological/historic interest and there are some ruins nearby: around 6th century B.C., Falassarna was founded (named after the mythical nymph-local heroine Falassarna) as the only harbor in west Crete and thrived between the 4th and 3rd century B.C. Around 365 B.C., it seems that geological movements raised the area and the lagoon in which the harbor was built became irrelevant.

Given the sheer size of the area, I'd need a large number of pictures to give you an idea of what Falassarna really is like. A small sample can be seen in this picture from Crete TOURnet:


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