The prime attraction in this southwest remote corner of the island is enchanting Elafonisi.

Worth the long drive and the hairpin bends to end up at a semi-tropical “lagoon” with pinkish white sand with sea shells and white lilies, vivid turquoise water, warm and shallow.You can wade across the sandbar to the tiny island of Elafonisi, just offshore, another idyllic beach that despite it’s remoteness is always busy in high season. Car hire in Chania is the only way to enjoy this famous paradise.

Very close, don’t forget to stop by at the white Moni Chrysoskalitissas, the gleaming Monastery of Virgin of the golden stairs, perched high on a rock above the barren landscape. One of the 90 steps that lead up to the church is said to be made of gold, but visible only to those who are without sin!