This spectacular beach nestled at the bottom of a dramatic narrow zig zag gorge is one of the more unique spots on Crete. The name Seitan Limania (sometimes shortened to Seitan Limani) means “Devil Harbour” in a combination of Turkish and Greek, in reference to the nasty currents around the mouth of the gorge.
Regardless of what you call it, though, Seitan Limania is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete. With a mix of sand and pebbles at the edge of gorgeous blue water, all hemmed in by steep cliffs, it is one of the most photographed beaches on the island.
You might also want to check out The 12 Best Beaches on Crete
Located on the Akrotiri Peninsula not far from Chania, one of Crete’s major centres, Seitan Limania beach is both small and popular, meaning it can fill up quickly. Luckily, however, the somewhat tricky hike down to the beach deters enough people to keep it manageable.
Seitan Limania Beach Map
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Seitan Limania Beach
The beach itself is small and sheltered, which can be a double-edged sword. The tiny beach and tall cliffs keep the wind out and make swimming easy and comfortable. On the other hand, it means the sun only reaches the beach for a few hours per day, the water is typically cold because of the lack of sun and even a couple dozen people will pretty much fill the place up.
The rugged, rocky walls of the canyon are easily climbed, however, and many people clamber up the sides to stake out their own spot high up on the rocks. These perches may not be as comfortable as lying on the soft sand but they can get you away from the main crowds along with providing great views down onto the beach and further up the gorge. Plus, adventurous types can find several good cliff jumping spots.
There are also quite a few goats that live in the canyon that long ago learned that tourists = food. Expect to make a few four-legged friends during your stay (and keep an eye on your belongings).
Is Seitan Limania Beach Worth Visiting?
Yes, the narrow gorge and shockingly blue water make for an extremely picturesque combination. Seitan Limania is one of the most popular Instagram spots on Crete. The views up the gorge from the beach and down onto the whole scene from the top of the cliff are very different but equally dramatic.
Even if you don’t arrive in time to get a prime spot on the beach, the photos from near the parking lot are worth the trip alone.
The Hike Down to Seitan Limania Beach
As is the case with many beaches in Crete, the hike down to Seitan Limania is a bit of an adventure in itself. From the parking lot, you walk toward the water until you reach the edge, where you’ll enjoy amazing views down to the gorge and out to sea. Even if you don’t go any farther, this spot is worth it.
If you are relatively mobile, though, you should continue on along the path that heads down. The rough trail leads down into the canyon, zigzagging along the steepest parts before reaching the bottom and leading along the valley floor all the way to the beach.
The hike should only take 10-20 minutes depending on your fitness and how sure-footed you are. Be aware, there are a few sections with loose gravel where you need to exercise caution and people who have a problem with heights might need to assess the situation as they go.
Coming back up will take a bit longer – mostly dependant on your cardio – and in either direction expect to see goats. They won’t bother you, just don’t let them surprise you into a slip or fall.
Tips for Visiting Seitan Limania Beach Crete
- There are no facilities or shops at Seitan Limania Beach Crete so you should bring everything you need for the day – towels, water, snacks, sunscreen, umbrella.
- There is no toilet, either, so you’ll either need to hold it or be okay with sneaking off into the shrubs in the valley.
- In summer, there is a shop on top of the cliff before the drive down – Seitan Delivery – that sells sandwiches, fruit, snacks and drinks (including beer). You can stock up before heading down or even order delivery to the beach (6948 606 216).
- Wear decent shoes for the hike in and out. Flip flops will make the journey much trickier.
- Keep an eye on the goats as they are just waiting for a chance to taste, well, pretty much anything.
- Pack all of your trash up and take it back up to the bins in the parking lot.
How do I get to Seitan Limania?
Seitan Limania beach is an easy 30-minute drive from Chania town, passing some interesting sights along the way. After passing the Church of Agios Spiridon, the winding road down the final stretch is narrow with steep drop-offs but is in good condition and even though it may not feel like it, there IS plenty of room for two vehicles.
At the end you will reach a large (and free) gravel parking lot. Even if you don’t feel up to the hike into the gorge, there are some great views of the beach from up here.
If you do not have your own car, we highly recommend renting one to explore Crete as the public transportation can be slow and the schedules confusing. We find that Discover Cars usually has the best deals in the area.
Driving Times to Seitan Limania Beach in Crete
Chania to Seitan Limania Beach: 20 km / 30 min
Rethymno to Seitan Limania Beach: 80 km / 1.25 hrs
Heraklion to Seitan Limania Beach: 155 km / 2.25 hrs
Agios Nikolaos to Seitan Limania Beach: 215 km / 3 hrs
Seitan Limania Beach By Bus
If you are wondering how to get to Seitan Limania beach by bus, there are occasional KTEL buses to the village of Chordaki, from where you will have about an hour’s walk to Seitan Limania. Remember the walk back up with be steep and will feel longer.
Another option that works well if you have a group is hiring a taxi. From Chania you can usually be dropped off and picked up again later for around €100, although this price changes frequently depending on the season, time of day, etc. (not to mention the price of fuel).
Things to Do Near Seitan Limania Crete
When you have had enough beach time (if such a thing really happens), there are lots of great attractions in the Chania region near Seitan Limania Beach to keep you busy.
Wander the Chania Old Town and Port
Even though Chania is one of the main cities in Crete, it is also a beautiful, historic place with a compelling Old Town and extremely photogenic harbour. This lovely Venetian semi-circle is lined with restaurants, bars and cafés, while close by you’ll find a series of old boathouses.
It is a joy to wander the maze of flowered alleys in the Old Town, enjoying the street art and stopping in at a variety of shops and art galleries along the way.
Sample the Beaches near Chania
While Seitan Limania is one of the more unique beaches on Crete, the area around Chania has several more excellent beaches to choose from (most of which are somewhat more traditional – i.e. have room for more people).
On the west side of Chania, you’ll find lovely Paralia Agii Apostoli and Paralia Hrisi Akti (Golden Beach), both of which have full facilities and comfortable, shallow swimming. To the east of Chania, closer to Seitan Limania beach and within walking distance of the Old Town, is Koum Kapi Beach. Expansive and convenient, it is a popular choice in summer.
Explore the Agia Triada Monastery
On the plateau above Seitan Limania beach, you’ll find the beautiful 17th century Agia Triada Tzagaroli Monastery, which means “Holy Trinity” and was built by the wealthy Venetian Tzagaroli family.
It is a nice place to wander and admire, although keep in mind it is still a working monastery that produces local olive oil and wine, so be respectful of their space.
Tour the Wineries
Speaking of wine, this area of Crete is well-known for its excellent vintages. Although a bit of a drive from Seitan Limania beach, a couple of the best ones are still within an hour of the beach. Manousakis Winery enjoys an impressive location in the mountain foothills, while Dourakis Winery has some of the most popular organic wines in Crete.
When to Go to Seitan Limania: Weather
Seitan Limania weather is very mild year-round thanks to the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. In summer it is hot and dry, although maybe not as sweltering as on the mainland. On the flip side, winters are much milder as well, with temperatures only dropping to 9/15C (low/high) in January. There is quite a bit more rain at this time of year, however.
Seitan Limania beach gets very crowded in July and August so it is best to visit in the shoulder seasons if possible. May-June and September-October are perfect for good weather and fewer tourists. It will also be far less crowded early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The catch here, though, is that Seitan Limania is so narrow that the sun only makes it to the beach for a few hours per day. The exact hours will change with the season but, in general, if you’re looking to soak up some rays you’ll need to be there around mid-day when the sun is highest in the sky.
Other Gorgeous Beaches Around Crete
If you love Seitan Limania beach, you should probably check out some of the other beautiful Crete beaches. Spoiler alert: there are lots of them.
Located at the far eastern end of Crete, Vai Beach has been famous since the 1970’s for its lush, impressive palm forest. The beach is somewhat sheltered, offers some nice viewpoints and there are even some ancient Minoan ruins in the area.
For more info, check out Vai Beach: Stunning Palm Forest and Ancient Ruins
Crete’s original hippie beach, lovely Matala Beach features a hillside of old caves that are well worth exploring for the beach views alone. Also quite sheltered, the swimming is great at Matala Beach, and the streets around the beach are a haven for hippie-themed paraphernalia and art.
For more details, see Matala Beach: Crete’s Original Hippie Village
This is where you’ll find the other massive palm forest on Crete, except we liked this one even more because of the outstanding views from the top of the tall cliffs. Hemmed in by steep, rocky walls, you can gaze down on the palm grove, river, lagoon and beach and take some unforgettable photos.
For more info, check out: Preveli Beach: How to See Crete’s Spectacular Palm Forest
Our pick for the most beautiful beach on Crete – and one of the most beautiful in all of Greece – Balos Beach is tricky to access but well worth the effort. Found in the far northwestern corner of the island, it involves a short but rough and very slow drive, then a steep hike down to the beach itself.
But the views of the beach and lagoon are stunning from both the top, the beach and even Cape Tigani across the way. The pink sand is just a bonus.
You may also want to check out our Ultimate Guide to Balos Beach
Larger, more accessible and with far more facilities than Balos Beach, nearby Falasarna is immense and is the top choice for families and those looking for some extra space. There are also several more small beaches within walking distance and the sunsets here are phenomenal.
To find out more, go to Falasarna Beach: Guide to Crete’s Best Sunset Beach
With a narrow isthmus, photogenic island and even more pink sand, Elafonisi Beach gives Balos Beach a run for its money in the scenery department.
The shallow water is perfect for families and you can wander through atmospheric sand dunes to an island with an ancient lighthouse, historic cave and wonderful viewpoint.
You may also want to have a look at Elafonisi Beach: Guide to Visiting Crete’s Pink Sand Beach
Boasting some of the best sand of any beach on Crete, popular Voulisma Beach is close to the city of Agios Nikolaos and gets seriously hopping in summer.
With shallow water in a protected bay and a vast array of hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars nearby, it is the best place to go for stereotypical beach fun.
Find all the details here: A Guide to Crete’s Gorgeous Voulisma Beach
Seitan Limania Beach Summary
Yes, there are a lot of beaches to choose from on Crete. But none of them are quite as unique as Seitan Limania with its steep, narrow canyon and stunning turquoise water. You’ll have to do a bit of hiking and will need to time your visit carefully if you want to enjoy any sun at the bottom, but it is worth the effort to visit one of the more memorable beaches in Crete.
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