At a distance of less than 2km from Chora Sfakion, Iligas is a prime destination for anyone staying in the area.
Easily accessible on foot from the settlement and next to one of the region’s main roads, the beach offers itself for a nice morning dip or for a relaxing afternoon after returning from a local excursion.
As long as you are willing to walk for a bit, it could easily be the place of your everyday swim for as long as you are staying in Sfakia.
Owing to the nature of the local mountains meeting the sea, most beaches in Sfakia have pebbles and gravel. Located at the exit of the Kavi gorge, Iligas beach is no different, but worry not. The pebbles here are smooth and easy on the feet and in fact give the beach a unique charm. The clear blue water adds to this image, inviting all visitors for a nice, relaxing swim and is nearly always calm, the small cove offering protection from the winds at all times.
We are referring to a beach, but really, there are three of them. The main beach is the biggest and the one accessible from the road. There are a few amenities and a small tavern but overall it is not particularly organized, so keep that in mind.
The two smaller beaches lie to the east of the main one. They cannot be reached on foot, so prepare to swim for a couple hundred meters if you want the isolation and privacy they offer. If you are not ready for that, however, rest assured. The main beach is usually not crowded either, so you can kick back and enjoy yourself without any trouble.
The three beaches are separated by rocky formations housing caves, of which there are plenty along the coast. They look quite impressive from the outside and are a great place to set up when visiting, as they offer shade and protection from the heat, not to mention peace and quiet. At Iligas, all you need is a bit of luck to get your own private beach.
The beautiful natural surroundings and the lack of crowds also make the place nudism-friendly. While not as popular for that as the nearby Filaki, Glyka Nera and Agios Charalambos, Iligas can easily fit the bill. Your own cave by the water can more or less guarantee you will be left undisturbed and most of the time there should even be a spot reserved for naturists on the main beach. The two smaller beaches are also ideal for such a purpose.
So swim, dive and snorkel to your heart’s content!
The ease of access is another of Iligas beach’s draws. At less than 2km away from Chora Sfakion, all it takes is a 20-minute walk from the village to reach the main beach. Alternatively, you can hit the place in a couple minutes by car. There is no difficult mountain path or sandy slope leading to the beach proper, so you will have no problem at all setting up for a great day.
If you are not staying in Chora Sfakion, getting there is still easy. As it is located next to the road to Anopolis, another of Sfakia’s bigger settlements, you have plenty of reason to be in the area as long as you are visiting south Crete. Combine your dip with a visit to one of the villages, close a hiking day to a nearby gorge with a relaxing swim or just take an hour off as you explore the south. The ideal location of Iligas gives you little reason not to get there.
For the two smaller beaches, you are gonna have to swim 80 or 180 metres or so, respectively, if you wish to take advantage of the additional privacy they offer. Or, if you have access to a boat, you can get there more easily and carry your stuff with you. Just be mindful of other swimmers.
Whether you are staying at Chora Sfakion or just passing by south Crete, Iligas beach should find a place in your trip. Easily accessible and totally worth your time, if swimming is among your intentions a visit there is mandatory.