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Domata Beach

There are many hidden beaches in Sfakia, but most of them are not all that hard to access in practice. Domata beach is not such a case. This is a truly isolated beach. Nestled under the cliffs of Klados gorge, surrounded by rooftop-like rock formations that gave it its name, far from roads and boat routes and deserted most days of the year, reaching Domata is almost like a badge of honor for the traveler.

This is for the stubborn and the adventurous. If you are willing to leave civilization behind, venture off most beaten paths and put your endurance to the test, please step up.

Location

Domata beach is located at the exit of Klados gorge, 58km south of Chania. It lies between the villages of Sougia and Agia Roumeli, in an area called Tseses. It is one of the wildest regions in Sfakia, dominated by steep cliffs further accentuated by the White Mountains towering overhead. There are no roads for many kilometers and even the more popular hiking destinations are some distance away.
The beach itself is a relatively large expanse of fine pebbles, shaded by pine trees and surrounded by impressive geological formations. The water can be slightly murky as a result of local underground springs mixing with sea, but is very clean.
A second, smaller beach lies nearby, separated from the main one by a cluster of rocks. If the bigger of the two is an incredible sight, this second one is considered even more beautiful.

How to get to Domata

You have probably gathered by now that getting to Domata beach is not going to be an easy task.

First off, you will need to take a boat from Chora Sfakion to Agia Roumeli. From there, you can try to get to the beach either by sea or by land. The marine option might sound more attractive, but keep in mind that, unlike beaches such as Marmara or Glyka Nera to the east, there is no regular ferry route to Domata. You will need to ask around at the village and see if there is anyone willing to take you over and then bring you back.

Alternatively, the E4 trail passes through Domata beach and is your primary means of getting there on your own. This is no leisurely stroll, however. It is a trek of three to four hours and the part of the trail between Agia Roumeli and Domata is mostly running along a difficult 700m drop. It is exhausting as well as dangerous and not recommended for the inexperienced hiker. Do not undertake this if you do not have some confidence in your skills and physical condition.

You can also reach Domata from outside the Sfakia region, but things do not get any easier. You can take the E4 trail from the village of Sougia as well, but the hiking experience is very similar to what you will get coming from Agia Roumeli. Alternatively, you can traverse the Klados gorge to the north. However, the gorge is considered one of Crete’s most difficult. Not only is it rugged and harsh, it is also quite easy to get lost. It is strongly recommended to tackle it only with a guide.

Spending the Day in Domata

Being one of the most isolated and difficult to reach beaches in Sfakia means that Domata is usually deserted. You are likely to be alone there, making it the ideal place for a quiet swim and a good spot for naturists. If you came by boat or do not mind swimming a small distance, these are even more true of the smaller beach to the side. No path reaches there, so even if you happen upon other visitors, it is very unlikely to find that one occupied.

As expected, Domata beach is not organized. The pine trees and rooftop-like formations and caves that enhance the natural beauty of the place can offer plenty of shade, but for anything else you will have to make do with what you bring along. This is also true for any camping you might be planning. Given how long it takes to get there and how beautiful it is, spending the night is a great experience as well as convenient. Make sure you have packed everything you may need, however, because there is no sign of civilization nearby.

Our thoughts

Domata beach is a spot of remarkable natural beauty, peace and quiet. However, this comes at the expense of accessibility. For those willing to brave the mountain paths leading there, the beach is a proper reward at the end of a good hiking experience. It is not fit for a casual trip and is certainly not a place everyone wants to visit. But if you feel up to the task, it is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous beaches you will find on the island.

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