Rodopou Peninsula, Chania
Rodopou Peninsula: An isolated hidden treasure of nature in Northwest Crete
Rodopou Peninsula is the peninsula that separates the bay of Chania and the bay of Kissamos. It is 18 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide.
Rodopou is a remote peninsula, without many amenities, ideal for the visitors that enjoy seclusion.
Southern Rodopou – where the locals live
At Southern Rodopou we can find all the – small to tiny – villages that lie in the peninsula. The road is paved up to Afrata village. From then on, you continue towards the northern part of the peninsula through a dirt road.
The biggest village in the area is Kolymbari, which is not in Rodopou Peninsula, but on its base to the east, on the side of the bay of Chania.
Near Kolymbari village we find the interesting Monastery of Gonia and the Orthodox Academy of Crete. Also, near Afrata village there is a marvellous little bay with a cave, which is called Ellinospilios.
Northern Rodopou – total seclusion
The northern part of Rodopou Peninsula is practically uninhabited. Its main population is made up of shepherds, and there are no paved roads in the area, which makes a 4×4 vehicle, or a motorbike, essential for the visitor.
At the northern end of the peninsula, near the beach of Menies, lies the Diktynna Sanctuary. During the Roman period, this was the most important religious sanctuary in Rodopou.
In North Rodopou there is also the chapel of Agios Ioannis, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. You can get there on foot in about 3 hours, following a hiking path. In August 29, the day of St. John, the faithful walk to the chapel, and stay there for a day and a night, carrying blankets with them for the night. This symbolic act pays tribute to the asceticism of St. John, and is made in commemoration of his beheading.
If you want to see the hidden Rodopou, don’t miss the boat trip around the peninsula. During this trip, you can see the church of St. Mary in Choni, the church of Agios Vassilios, the old mines, numerous splendid beaches, and the known Cape Spatha.
Regarding the fauna of Rodopou, there are big numbers of birds in the peninsula. During spring and autumn many migratory birds also live here. The most especial resident of Rodopou, however, is the white-tailed eagle.
Rodopou Peninsula is a place of wild beauty, where nature is still king. Although the peninsula is accessible only by boat or by 4×4 vehicles, there are places and sights of unique beauty to be found here. These places and sights are more than enough to put Rodopou at the schedule of every serious visitor to Crete.