Would you like to see a place in Crete where you will have the chance to learn about the history of the island, travel through its legends and, at the same time, enjoy the crystal clear waters? Then Frangokastello is the right place for you! It is the location of a castle and scattered settlement on the south coast of Crete, Greece, about 12 kms east of Chora Sfakion and within the prefecture of Chania.
Frangokastello is mostly famous for the dominant Venetian fortress that was built there in 1374 during the Venetian occupancy on the island. If you are a history lover then you will certainly feel the butterflies in your stomach once the aura of the fortress surrounds you. Many fights have been fought here but the most legendary is the Battle of Frangokastello, which was fought on 18th till 24th May, 1828 between 700 Cretans and 8000 Turks.
And this is where the awe begins! You see, after that battle and every year from the middle to the end of the May, one can see the “Drosoulites” on the walls of the fortress. According to the legend, it’s the souls of the Greek soldiers who died during the battle and never got properly buried. The name “Drosoulites” was given by the locals because they always appear the hour of the morning dew, a little before dawn (drosoula = dew).
Once you have finished with the enchanting journey through the history of the area, it is now time to enjoy the amazing beaches with fine sand and delightful waters. The easiest and closest choice is the magical beach with turquoise waters right in front of the castle: busy, organized and ideal for families with little children. Alternatively, you could head for “Orthi Ammos” (meaning the upright sand or the standing sand) which took its name from the hills of sand overlooking the sea. It’s also charming, with shallow, clear waters, without touristic infrastructures. Often the eastern part is preferred by nudists. You may find it interesting to know that according to the legend the bodies of the dead Greeks after the Battle of Frangokastello were covered by the sand, creating the sand hills of the beach.
How to get to Frangokastello: if going by car from Chania then you will need to take the National Road connecting Heraklion and Chania. Take the exit to Vrisses and drive towards Chora Sfakion (Sfakia). You will cross the Askifou Plateau and then drive through the impressive gorge of Imbros, which leads to the south coast of Sfakia. Then, follow the signs to Frangokastello. The journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you will be driving from Rethymno, follow the road for Plakias and before Plakias continue east to Rodakino, Frangokastello and Sfakia. The journey takes approximately one hour and is easier, but less impressive than the journey through the Imbros Gorge. Alternatively, you can visit Frangokastello by bus from Chania.