There are also three small islets very close to the coast. The most important is the islet of Souda with a Venetian fortress and a light house which is expected to be opened again to the public in 2008 after many years of restriction.
The views from most parts of Akrotiri are unique; the White Mountains, Souda Bay with the area of Apokoronas beyond, the sea, the town of Chania, the north coast, and the distant peninsulas of Rodopou and Gramvoussa can all be seen from Akrotiri. In addition there are views to the countryside known for its fertile land and large areas of olive groves and vineyards.
Its dry climate combined with the sea breeze forms an ideal environment not only for residents but also for the fruit and vegetables produced which are renowned for their high quality and taste.
Akrotiri has approximately 10.000 inhabitants. Some of them live in the charming and traditional villages; others live in attractive small new suburbs of Profitis Ilias, Kounoupidiana, Korakies, Kalathas, Agios Ounoufrios, etc. Kounoupidiana serves as the “centre” of Akrotiri and offers a good selection of shops, restaurants and other services, and is in addition home to The Polytechnic University of Crete. The road network is good and with frequent bus service to Chania.
The villages of Akrotiri are : Sternes, Horafakia, Mouzouras, Argoylides, Aroni, Agios Nikolaos, Pazinos (or Paxinos), Anemomyloi, Marathi, Kathiana, Kampani, Stavros, Kalorouma, Hordaki, Rizosklopo, and Agia Zoni.
Akrotiri is only ten to twenty minutes by car from Chania and ten minutes from the international airport. With its picturesque Venetian harbour and charming historical town, Chania, seeped in culture, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
Akrotiri is also known as the Holy Mountain of Crete due to its many churches and monasteries. Some of the most famous are the monasteries of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) built in the 17th century, and the Monastery of Gouvernetou of the 16th century. The Monastery of St. John the Hermit, dating back to the 6th or 7th century, is found within a steep ravine where one may arrive by stepping down 385 steps. The Catholicon of this Monastery which is built into the rocks of the mountain side is considered the first monastery built on the Crete.
• Agios Antonios
• Poro Mavre
• Lera /Stavros area, used from Neolithic times, there is a cave in the mountainside above Stavros sandy beach, at the north tip of the Akrotiri Peninsula. Evidence exists of its use as a sanctuary from the end of the Bronze Period through all the Greek periods.
• Arkalospilio /3km from the M.Gouvernetou
• Aherospilio & Agios Ioannis / near M.Katholiko
• Arkoudospilio, the cave of the Bear or of The Virgin Mary Arkoudiotissa, close to the monastery of Gouverneto in Akrotiri, with the stalagmite which resembles a bear, the reservoir with the "holy water" - a result of a drip - and the small church which is dedicated to the Ypapanti are certainly worth a visit. A local legend says that the Virgin Mary (there is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin inside the cave) turned the bear to stone after she caught it drinking the monks' water. Archaeologists claim that in antiquity the cave was a shrine to Artemis, who was transformed into the shape of a bear.
• Agios Onoufrios
• Tersanas & Maherida
Remains of the ancient city of Minoa can be seen upon arrival to the beautiful beach of Marathi. Minoa was one of the two harbours of the powerful city-state of Aptera during Greek times. It dominated the entrance to the protected bay of Souda. Excavations have revealed part of its harbour and some buildings dating from the second century A.D.
Monasteries and Churches; the most important are:
• Holly Trinity - Tzangaroglou
Named after its founders - end of 16th century - Jeremiah and Laurentius Giagarolo brothers from a noble Venetian family. Today, Aghia Triada is not only a beautiful monument and place to pay our respects, but also a famous producer of excellent wine and olive oil!
• Lady of the Angels - Gouverneto
Built on a small plateau at 260m, one of the oldest monasteries in Crete (15th century).
• Agios Ioannis the Hermit - Katholiko
3km from M.Gouveneto is considered to be the oldest monastery in Crete (6th-10th century) with hermitages like those of Meteora.
Above three sites, offer extraordinary walking routes for visitors who enjoy wild and captivating views.
• Nuns’ Monastery of Agios Ioannis
At Korakies, - 17th century
• Agios Ioannis Eleimon (merciful), 17th century
• Cavernous Church of Agios Georgios Apidiotis
in the gorge of Mavre, near Pazinos village.
Tersanas is a small seaside village with a lovely, sheltered sandy beach. There are a few tavernas and small supermarket but within 1km village Chorafakia offers an additional variety of tavernas, shops and supermarkets. The are enjoys stunning views towards Hania and the Aegean sea and the surroundings are perfect for biking, walking and site seeing as in Akrotiri there are two medieval monasteries, the famous Venizelos Graves, small fishing villages and many sandy beaches. Seafood and fish is excellent in this area, which is famous for seafood tavernas to local people as well as visitors of the region. Akrotiri is not yet greatly developed as a touristic resort, so although it does have all facilities,amenities and natural beauty, it is still a quiet and unspoilt area. Perfect for couples ar families with children of all ages, as all beaches have easy proximity, golden soft sand and are sheltered and shallow,thus safe for everyone.
Stavros, has an excellent sheltered sandy beach, perfect for children. The famous cave of Leras, is the place where “Zorbas” in the famous film (Anthony Quinn) visited his friend (Kazantzakis) and the stone house at the side of the beach, was the home of “madame Ortance”.
Marathi, a wonderful beach and seaside small village, where seafood is unbeatable!
Kalathas, a beautiful sandy beach, perfect for sunsets, as it is facing west. The small island in the cove of Kalathas adds to the sunsets scenery and offers a good spot for snorkelling.