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Crete: Hania Prefecture Overview Page Thirty-four

Westernmost Crete

the monastery of golden stairs - one stair is made of gold but can olny be seen if you are without sinSfinari is a small village inland from a pebble beach, and has a few rooms. Kambos (plain) is further down along a wooded stream, with more rooms and a kalderimi leading towards Sirikari. This region is cooler than the rest of Crete with wildflowers here later in spring by a good two weeks. There are dirt roads to the coast here and there. Kefali (which means 'head') is a very nice village high up above a wooded valley, with tavernas and rooms. There's a frescoed church here, Metamorfosis tou Sotirou (Transfiguration of the Savior), with early 14th century frescoes and a dirt road to a monastery on the coast (11km) Moni Hrysoskalitissa (right) on the coast, with more churches on the way at Vathi. There are many chesnut trees in this area , an important crop in this region, which is also well-watered, with a stream along the road as you continue south sign about elafonisostowards the bay of Stomio. The blue-roofed monastery, now a convent inhabited by a few nuns, was built in a grotto, its church dedicated to the Panaghia Hrysoskalitissa (Virgin of the Golden Stair), and one must descend ninety stairs to the cove below the rock on which the church was built. Great views are to be enjoyed from the top. Shards found here point to the existence of a Minoan settlement on this site.

Unfortunately there is also a gypsum quarry at Stomio and too many concrete buildings to make the place a bit undesirable for those seeking seaside places with 'atmosphere'.

A dirt road from here will take you to the islet of Elafonissos (Deer Island), which is a truly idyllic spot, with its lagoon, beautiful water, and pink sand.

The water is so shallow that you can wade to the islet and to other beaches.

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