Akrotiri - Bay of Souda Looking at the map, Akrotiri peninsula appears like a round piece of land jutting up into the Cretan Sea immediately to the northeast of the city of Hania, with the large Souda Bay to its south above the point of land that defines the much larger Ormos Almirou (Salty Bay) to the east along Crete's north coast.
On the isthmus of land that leads uphill to the circular mass of Acrotiri are the Venizelos graves, (right) those of Cretan statesman, Eleftherios Venizelos (Greek prime minister in 1910) and his son Sophocles, who had asked to be buried here. Before the graves you'll find the chapel of Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elijah), which is a memorial to the much-loved statesman and huge figure in both Cretan and Greek modern history.
The site of this chapel was briefly occupied by the Revolutionary Military Camp of Akrotiri (Crete not liberated from Ottoman rule until 1912) and was within the 'exclusion zone' of the Great Powers (British, French, Italian, and Russian-all of which had navies at the bay there). They bombarded the Cretan resistance enclave in 1897, and the Cretan response was the raising of the Greek flag, much to the displeasure of the European super-powers, who shot at the flagpole. One account has it that the foreign admirals were so impressed by the courage of the Cretans (who held the flag up in their hands after the destruction of the flagpole) that they applauded. The chapel (which was a monastery at the time) was, however, then blown up by the Russians (though the following day the Russian ship itself was blown up, an event interpreted by the Cretans as the revenge of the Prophet Elijah).
Straight from here is the airport , with the northern road (left fork) heading towards the beaches, with nice country and some well-to-do villages and country homes inbetween. Though you pass Kalathas first, its beach is rather small.
A little further on is the quiet beach of Torsanas (though there are summer houses there, so you will not, most likely, be all alone there).. Continuing towards the monastery of Aghia Triadha is Stavros (which means crossroads), a large sandy beach in a lovely circular bay fringed by cliffs on one side, with a cave that was an ancient sanctuary.
A wonderful place to swim, and accessible by bus from Hania, with tavernas and rooms. The beach scenes from the movie Zorba the Greek were filmed here.