Sougia, Crete: Complete Guide by a Local

things to do in Sougia, Crete

Chosen as a vacation destination by those seeking a super relaxing spot on the island’s southern coast, Sougia is a village in the Chania region of Crete famous for its incredibly tranquil atmosphere.

If you plan to visit or want to spend a few days in Sougia, this article has everything you need to know—and a bit more! Let’s check out what to do, where to stay, and how to spend time in Sougia!

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Things to Do in Sougia Crete


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Like Matala, in the Heraklion region, Vai in Lasithi, or nearby Paleochora, Sougia was one of the many hippie destinations in Crete during the 70s.

That bohemian and relaxing atmosphere has never left the village. Today, the settlement is a unique destination for those seeking a relaxing, very quiet atmosphere where there’s not much to do but much to rest, walk, and eat – three of the basics during any Cretan holiday!


Despite being so small, in the village, you can find those basic amenities and services that are indispensable to spending a few days in the area, including fish taverns and seaside restaurants.

However, there are a few small convenience stores and markets, rooms to let and studios, souvenir stores, a church, different bars, and coffee shops.

Be advised that the village does not have a bank (although there’s one ATM open in the summer season), a pharmacy, or medical services. There’s only a small infirmary for basic first aid.

Your nearest option for those will be Paleochora (about an hour by car). Plan accordingly, packing all necessary medication you take or might need and enough cash.

Sougia Beach.

The main reason to visit the village is its long beach that features dark, coarse sand and pebbles.

As in many beaches on the Libyan coast, the water is very cold, clear, and quite deep. This is important to remember if you’re visiting Sougia with the kids.

The 1.5-kilometer-long beach starts at the exit of the Gorge of Lissos, where you will also find Sougia’s small port.

At the end of the beach, there is a hidden rocky cove where many people feel free enough to enjoy the sun without a bikini (check out more Nudist Beaches in Crete here).


A more family-friendly beach is to be found right opposite the village’s main street, where there are also organized structures featuring restaurants and bars, umbrellas and loungers, showers, and a lifeguard (in summer).

If you don’t want to pay for an umbrella, get to the beach early and seek shelter under one of the several tamarisk trees along the beach.

During the season, from the end of May until late September, Sougia remains connected to nearby villages by a daily ferry service that can take you to Chora Sfakion, Loutro, Paleochora, Agia Roumeli, and the nearby Gavdos Island.

Where is Sougia

Located about 75 km south of Chania, at the end of a long, winding road through the White Mountains (Lefka Ori), Sougia is a small village by the sea, standing at the end of Agia Eirini.

Agia Eirini (or Agia Irini) is a popular gorge in the Chania region. It’s on the island’s southern coast, overlooking the Libyan Sea.

How to Get There


The village of Sougia is in the Chania region, southwest of Crete, about 75 km from the center of the region’s capital.

To reach Sougia by car, you need to drive along a scenic road that ascends to Agia Eirini Gorge’s pass and descends to sea level. Since it’s a mountain road, it is winding and sometimes narrow. The trip takes less than two hours.

Since there’s no car rental office in Sougia, I suggest booking your car online before getting to the village.

Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking service.

Bus Chania – Sougia

You can also get to Sougia by bus from Chania. A limited but effective public transport service connects Chania to Sougia, featuring two daily buses (in the high season, only one in winter). The journey takes about two hours. Prices and bus schedules are published here.

The current schedule for Chania-Sougia for 2023 is the following:


Some buses also cover these routes:

  • Sougia – Omalos/Samaria Gorge
  • Sougia – Agia Erini Gorge (entrance to the gorge)
  • Sougia – Agia Eirini Gorge (bottom of the gorge) 
  • The regional routes connecting Sougia to Paleochora and Elafonisi are not currently active. However, it’s better to check in the village for future updates.

You can find all the information you need to get around Crete by public transport here.

Alternative Ways to Get to Sougia

Common view on the road to Sougia.

Another possibility is to take a taxi from Chania to get to Sougia (or to Chania from Sougia). If you depart from Sougia, you might want to book the service in advance as the village has very limited service. The staff at your hotel can help you with this.

You can also organize an airport transfer from Chania Airport to Sougia and find affordable transfer services here. Alternative methods to get to Sougia from nearby villages include the boat and your legs!

Boat: Ferries and boats reach Sougia from Paleochora, Agia Roumeli, LoutroGavdos Island, and Chora Sfakion, and cars are allowed on board.

Boat leaving from the port of Paleochora.

Bad weather conditions can cancel your boat ride, so plan in advance, leaving at least one extra day. Check out the ferry schedule and ticket prices here.

Those who come to Crete to enjoy the many hiking trails and paths can get to Sougia hiking from Paleochora.

The gorgeous coastal path that connects both towns takes about 4 hours, while the trip by car is about 50 minutes.

Map of Sougia


You can also check out this interactive map Chania – Sougia:

Sougia in the Past


In ancient times, Sougia was the port of Syia, a sheltered harbor serving the ancient city of Elyros.

Most of the ancient town and port did not survive a strong earthquake in the fourth century AD, which raised the shore about 6 meters.

Elyros was one of the most important cities of southwestern Crete in antiquity, with a strong Doric tradition associated with worshiping God Apollo.

The city established a political and economic alliance with the nearby cities of Hyrtakina, Lissos, Tarra, and Poikilassos, known as the Oreioi Confederacy. They even minted a common coin.

Elyros thrived during the Roman and Byzantine eras, but it was later destroyed by Saracen pirates who attacked the south of Crete.

Today, you can visit parts of the ancient Roman city at the foot of the eastern mountain range, including parts of the so-called Sougia Aqueduct which brought water to the ancient town from a spring in Agios Pavlos. Remains of this aqueduct can be seen on the road to Sougia. 

To the west of the mountains, it is also possible to check out the ruins of Syia’s necropolis, featuring vaulted single tombs.

The remains of an early Christian basilica (thought to be from the sixth century) stand at the present site of Agios Panteleimonas Church. A mosaic floor that might have belonged to another early Christian building can also be observed nearby.

Near the Kamarianos River, there are ruins from a third basilica from the same period, including parts of the walls and traces of a mosaic floor. 

Who Visits Sougia Today


Sougia is not for everyone. Only those looking for utmost relaxation and tranquility will enjoy life in the tiny village.

The place, completely untouched by massive tourism, is still a peaceful settlement where life is made of long days at the sea and walks in the mountains.

Another important fact is that Sougia receives most of its visitors throughout the summer rather than just in July and August.

Crafts sold at the beach of Sougia.

Sougia tends to be fully booked from early April to June and then from late September to early November.

As with many other small, southern villages, visitors tend to come back year after year to enjoy the area’s laid-back spirit.

Things to Do in Sougia

There are a few things to do in and around Sougia. Check them out!

Sougia Beach


This is the most obvious thing people do in Sougia. The incredibly long beach offers wide spaces, never feeling truly full. The sand is dark and coarse, with pebbles or large rocks in some areas.


There is an organized area, ideal for families, where you can rent an umbrella and loungers. Some other parts of the beach have traditionally been visited by naturists.

Naturism is well-tolerated in the village. There is a limited choice of water sports available in Sougia as well.

Walks In and Around Sougia


Other than the obvious walk along the seaside road that locals and visitors enjoy during summer, after a day at the beach or a delicious dinner, it is possible to enjoy some incredible hikes around Sougia.

The most popular ones include the following:

Walk from Sougia to Lissos


This is an easy hike that takes about 90 minutes each way. Lissos is an interesting place to visit if you want to see some ruins of the ancient civilization that populated the area.

This walk begins at the port of Sougia and is marked with E4 path signs in several spots.

A good part of the path is shaded and a bit uphill. In Lissos, you can see the remains of an Asclepius Temple, part of a Roman cemetery, and two small chapels.

Ancient Byzantine Chapel in Lissos.

There are remains of habitations, terraces, and ancient olive trees. Once there, you will find a small pebbled beach, but the area is deserted, so if you plan to spend the day, you will need to pack lunch and drinks.

There are boat rides available to Lissos that depart from Sougia as well.

Agia Irini Walk

Entrance to Agia Irini Gorge.

Also known as Agia Irini or Saint Irini, this is a popular gorge hike in Sougia. There are fewer crowds, and the hike is shorter than in Samaria. The beautiful gorge is 7.5 km long with a milder descent (500 meters instead of over 1500 in Samaria), and it takes 2.5 to 4 hours.

Agia Eirini is also open all year round, and most of the walk is in the shade of pine and oleander trees.

Agia Eirini Gorge in Crete

At the gorge’s exit, you will find the famous Oasis Taverna, where it’s possible to get transport to reach Sougia Village. You must pay a small fee to pass the gorge (€2).

Walk from Sougia to Paleochora

Coastal hike from Paleochora.

Following the coast towards the west, another popular hike takes you from Sougia to Paleochora (located west of the settlement). It is mostly along a coastal path that’s slightly over 15 kilometers.

The E4 path winds from Palaiochora to Sougia along the coast. The hike has some easy sections, while on others, you will find dangerous loose stones and some climbing needed.

There are a few steep ascends, so good shoes are a must. You can return to Sougia by boat in the late afternoon. Check the schedules before getting on the road.

Hike to Mount Ochros


With an elevation of about 800 meters, the local mountain can be an easy hike for those who are just starting or do not feel like hiking longer distances. The views of the village and the sea are quite rewarding.

From Sougia to Koustogerako


Koustogerakos is a small mountain village about 10 km from Sougia, about 500 meters up the green mountains covered in cypresses.

From here, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the underlying valleys. Once you’ve reached Koustogerakos, you can walk to Omalos through an old oak forest.

Discover Moni Village and Eat Local Delicacies

Taverna in Moni.

Although there are some fantastic seaside restaurants along the coast of Sougia, it’s a good idea to drive up the mountain to the nearby Moni village, to discover a small, solitary, family-run taverna where local dishes are made with fresh products from the area.

Delicious pork with local apricots,

Here, you will taste homemade Cretan specialties and top Cretan extra virgin olive oil, home wine, and homemade desserts. The place is called An to Petyxeis Taverna Kafe, and you won’t regret a visit!

In Moni, it is also possible to visit quite an odd sight: a unique conical pyramid, which was not found in any other area in Crete. Its circumference is about 16 meters, about 5 meters high.


The pyramid features an interior room that might have been used in the Roman Era belonging to the nearby town of Elyros (today, Sougia).

How Long to Stay in Sougia?


If I were to joke, I would answer this question by asking you how stressed you are. I think a week in Sougia is the best antidote to stress you can find!

However, of course, it all depends on how much time you have to spend on the island and if you’re also planning to visit other parts of Crete during your trip.

Souvenir shop in Sougia.

Sougia can be an excellent destination on its own, as well as a good day trip from Paleochora or Loutro and even from Chania if driving along the local mountains is also part of your itinerary in Crete.

Even when you can see all the village in less than a couple of hours, Sougia is a charming place where you can enjoy a good book, relax, discover the mountains, indulge in Crete’s simple cuisine, and disconnect from everyday stress and modern life’s fast routines.

Best Places to Eat in Sougia

Bar on the beach.

Check out these places to eat in Sougia:

  • To Tzitziki sto Almiriki: One of the most popular places in Sougia for a nice meal close to the sea. The restaurant has excellent reviews and is famous for its fried zucchini snacks, perfect with a glass of cold beer.
  • Polifimos: Although not on the beach, this is a fantastic traditional place. Choose a table on their patio and taste local handmade recipes, such as fried kalitsounia pastries with honey and lamb kleftiko.
  • Rebetiko Taverna is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Sougia. It offers a good and affordable Greek and Cretan menu.

Places Near Sougia You Can Also Visit

These are some of the places I recommend checking out during your stay in Sougia.


Chalikia Beach in Paleochora.

One of my absolute favorite destinations in Crete, Paleochora, is a must-visit place if you’re staying in Sougia or have never been there.

One of the main characteristics of the spectacular coastal village is that it covers more than 13 km from East to West and is dotted with magnificent beaches and hidden coves.

The village is quite lively, and there are plenty of things to do in Paleochora.

Agia Eirini Gorge

Agia Eirini.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a rather easy hike and a popular thing to do in Sougia.

The path is well-marked, so don’t worry about losing your way. Just wear good shoes as there will be many ups and downs. It is certainly not a walk for the faint-hearted, but it can be a worthwhile experience.

The gorge is full of trees, so finding shade won’t be an issue. Even if you get tired, there are plenty of small resting spots with benches throughout the path. You can read more about this hike in this article about the best gorges in Crete.

Path Sougia-Agia Roumeli.

Agia Roumeli is a small village on the southern coast of Crete, better known for its location at the end of the majestic Samaria Gorge.

It is where everybody arrives after hiking the Queen of Cretan Gorges. There are plenty of small taverns and good rooms to spend the night.

Agia Roumeli features a nice pebbled beach where most hikers love to rest their legs after passing through Samaria.


Considered one of the most emblematic coastal hikes on the island, the part of the E4 trail from Sougia to Agia Roumeli is isolated and wild, taking you through the coast and the mountains, and it can also be risky. However, it’s among the favorite walks of experienced hikers visiting Crete.

The trail can take up to 8 hours and should only be done if you have the right equipment and have lots of hiking experience. Doing it with a trained alpine guide is the best option.

Where to Stay in Sougia


The village is really small, and there are quite a few options for places to stay. Sougia is one of those places where booking early is key to finding the right place you want. Many studios are located opposite the sea, so they sell fast.

Check out some of these places to stay in Sougia:

  • Aretousa: This simple and comfy apartment complex is surrounded by olive trees. It is 300 meters from the beach of Sougia and features furnished balconies overlooking the mountains. Some units have a kitchenette with a fridge. There’s a garden with seating areas and BBQ facilities, while kids can enjoy the safe playground. There is a bus stop just outside the property.
    Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

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More resources to enhance Your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion or Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Chania

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these hotels in the city:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is my favorite engine for finding a rental car on the island.
  • Finally, to book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I always recommend Get Your Guide.

Pin it Now! Complete Guide to Discover Sougia, Crete


About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

2 thoughts on “Sougia, Crete: Complete Guide by a Local

  1. Tineke says:

    wow what a good blog about Sougia. I know it very well and reading it brings back all rhe good memories.
    I used to camp on the beach and I wonder if that is still done.
    Can anyone tell me?

    • Gabi Ancarola says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      Although camping remains illegal on the beaches of our country, it is still done, but let’s keep the info between us 😀

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