Exploring the Sfakia region

One morning in Hora Sfakion: one of a kind, a few drops of rain fell. We decided to postpone the day trip to Loutro by one day, and reached to our map to see what we could visit by car. Since we had arrived from Chania (in the north), and since we were planning to head toward Frangokastello (in the east) after Hora Sfakion, there was only one choice left: go west! road from Hora Sfakion to AnapoliThe curvy, steep road from Hora Sfakion to the west takes the curious traveller to the heart of the Sfakia region, home to three villages: Anapoli, Aradena and Agios Ioannis. Very few people still reside in this region, and there are definitely more sheep than human inhabitants. Sfakia regionThe first stop 12km away from Hora Sfakion is Anapoli, a former capital of the Sfakia region, and an important resistance center. There is a restaurant and a bakery, but nothing much else. After Anapoli, there is another 3km to reach Aradena. This is where the famous Vardinogiannis Bridge, used also for bungee jumping, is located. The gorge is 138 meters deep at this point. Vardinogiannis bridgeMost people make a u-turn at this point, but we wanted to see what is in the end of the road. After all, we were only 5km away from the last stop, Agios Ioannis. road to LivanianaThis is where they road gets very interesting. It almost seemed that we entered a micro-climate zone and a different world. The trees looked different, the clouds were all over us, and the weather suddenly got very cool (bring a sweater!). At several points we thought of turning back, because the clouds were so thick and we would have not seen a sheep should it have stood in front of our car! But we did reach Agios Ionnis in the end. According to the map there are four orthodox churches but we could only find one. We stopped to take some photos but did not stay long: I was convinced that if there are ghost in this world, they would appear to me here. That is how spooky the place is (at least under the weather conditions we had).Agios IoannisOn our way back, we decided to turn right toward Livaniana. We did a good twenty minutes by car toward this seaside village, but the road suddenly turned really bad and we did not want to risk getting a flat tire, so we turned around. road to LivanianaBefore returning to Hora Sfakion, there was one more place for us to visit: Sweetwater Beach. It is located a few kilometers before Hora Sfakion, and as you are approaching Hora Sfakion by car, you will see a small sign to it. We did like the others and parked the car by the roadside. After a medium-difficult (bring your running shoes and water!) walk of 25 minutes, we reached this secluded beach, which can only be visited by foot or boat. Sweetwater beachWe arrived toward the end of the afternoon, and saw some nudists and some other people putting together a tent. We swam for a while, before climbing back to our car by the same path. I would not recommend the path to you if you are traveling with children or elderly people. Althought I like exercising and think it is important always “to walk instead take a lift”, I do think the path can be quite dangerous. If you hesitate, visit Sweetwater by one of the taxi boats! This last photo gives you an idea of the path…path to Sweetwater beach

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