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News from Loutro

Posted: 23 Aug 2021, 14:22
by langsten
I haven’t been to Sfakia for 3 years. I missed the summer of 2019 as well as 2020. So, changes I’ve observed took place sometime over a three year period.

There seems to be a consensus that Loutro is busy this year. Not all the rooms are full each night. But, boats – the Sweetwater and Marmara boats, plus various taxi and tour boats – come and go all day, seemingly always full. Lots of people just coming for the day. And virtually every day at least a few kayaks show up for lunch before moving on to Illingas or Chora Sfakion.

At the same time, the Mistrali café is closed, as are the rental rooms associated with it.


There is now an ATM in front of the Daskalogiannis hotel in Loutro.

Perhaps the biggest change is the construction of a new swimming/”beach” area at what I had always referred to as “the rocks” at the northwest end of the bay. The ground between the ferry dock and the rocks to the north has been terraced with beach beds (some of them relatively fancy beach beds), and bright green umbrellas placed on the terraces. The small rock island just to the north of the fort at the end of peninsula is now regularly frequented by swimmers and sunbathers. The Kastela café (which had existed in 2018, and possibly before) has expanded, and is much busier than in the past.

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Lots of upgrades in the eastern end and back streets of the village – newly paved paths, new walls.

There have been the usual visits of upmarket yachts and sailboats (including two large sailboats flying the Maltese flag) in Loutro Bay – though no megayachts to be seen while I’ve been here.


Further afield: The road to Lykos and Phoenix is now largely paved. There seems to be an unpaved section below Livaniana until close to where the road to Phoenix splits with the right hand fork going down to Lykos. At the west end of Lykos is a fenced carpark with the intent of keeping goats away from the cars.

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Taverna Livaniana is open 7AM to 11PM as reported.

Aghios Athanasios now has a sibling. A road was cut from Livaniana to take construction materials to the Aghios Athanasios area. The construction of the road has affected the path going down into the Aradhena gorge from Livaniana. (More about that, and other walking paths, in a separate note.) The older church was built in 1967. The newer church seems to have been completed quite recently. Certainly it did not exist in 2018.

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The reception area of O Platanos in Anopolis has been renovated. And the taverna is as busy as ever.

The new branch of Marcos & Niki Bakery in Mesochori has tables on a terrace with great views.

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 23 Aug 2021, 19:27
by kokkinos vrachos
Hi langsten, thanks for your update via Loutra and surroundings.

The "new beach section" below the Cafe Snack Kastela I took the first time in October 2020.

How are you doing with Loutro?


Ta Leme, kv

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 24 Aug 2021, 07:03
by Marie and Andrew
Thanks Langsten for the update. It was very informative and thanks for the pictures as well. We have booked to come the last two weeks in October and are looking forward to come back to the area. At the moment we are in Agios Nikolaos on the north east side of Crete.
We have read on Facebook that there are planes to privatize the Samaria Gorge. Have you heard anything about this during your stay or maybe someone else here on the forum have any information regarding this to share.
Enjoy the rest of your stay.

Best regards
Marie and Andrew

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 24 Aug 2021, 07:51
by deadeggs
Thanks also for the news and photos on Loutro.
Hopefully it doesn't get too chic and smart and lose its simple atmosphere.
Enjoy your stay on Crete.

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 05 Sep 2021, 09:19
by langsten
KV & All.

Of course we all have our preferred places to visit and stay in Sfakia.

I have been to Loutro almost all years since 1986. This past summer (2021) I was talking with someone who is the 3rd generation (during my time) running one of the restaurants in Loutro. I have known him since he was a child. He commented that there has been a lot of change since I first visited Loutro. I agreed, but remarked that not all of the change has been for the better. That can probably be said for almost every place in Sfakia.

Back in the 1980s I liked Loutro precisely because it truly was simple. I used to tell people that the village shut down at 8:00PM. The restaurants were closed. There was no place to go and nothing to do, except sit on the veranda and watch the stars. Alas, Loutro has long since stopped being simple. In many ways it has gotten to be too "chic", too many cafes, too much nightlife. Still I like it because, for the most part, I can ignore all that. My time in Loutro can still be relatively simple. I have a pleasant room. It's easy to go down to the restaurant. I can still spend evenings, peacefully, on the veranda. And when I go walking (my main reason for going to Sfakia) I don't have to deal with any roads - at least for the first hour or two. Even though roads have started to come too close, you still won't ever hear a noisy motorcycle at 2:00AM.

I don’t know anything about privatization of the Samaria Gorge. When I was in Aghia Roumeli, the gorge had been closed for about 10 days, and the restaurants in Roumeli were suffering from lack of customers. The closure went on for another week or 10 days after my visit to Roumeli. I imagine that by the time the gorge reopened, the restauranteurs were truly desperate.


Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 05 Sep 2021, 17:07
by deadeggs
Thanks for the information.
As long as there is not a road to Loutro, it will retain its charm and simplicity. Even though an atmosphere of "chic" may be gradually creeping in.

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 08 Sep 2021, 18:32
by mike
Of course we all have our preferred places to visit and stay in Sfakia.

Interesting, Ray, what you wrote following this. After I read your first post I drifted off into my own reminiscences covering 40 or so years. I write down the number and can hardly believe it myself.

Like you, I spend most of my time out hiking and I've been relatively unaffected by tourism development on the coast. Loutro has probably seen the most change/development. O Platanos in Anopoli has been transformed (incremental upgrades) from a traditional village plateia restaurant/basic rooms to let place, (also running an impromptu 'mini market' from their own supplies) to a hotel/restaurant. I don't complain about the soundproofing upgrade. But the rest of the Anopoli area has remained largely unchanged.

And, also like you, I have developed my own routine over the years, which provides a private bubble that I can settle into. Some of it is timing, being at certain places at certain times of the day. In a way, I have changed and adapted just as much as the location and residents have.

Further development is a debated local issue, as it always is whenever people throw in their lot with the tourism business (it's a debate that even takes place in larger population centers .. Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice). The challenge is always how and where to draw the line between concessions made for business reasons, and the compromises made to a local way of life, and to the landscape itself.

An ongoing issue in Ag. Roumeli is whether or not a road should be built down to Roumeli, via Sellouda. If Samaria gorge was to be privatized ...

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 09 Sep 2021, 06:34
by kokkinos vrachos
"An ongoing issue in Ag. Roumeli is whether or not a road should be built down to Roumeli, via Sellouda. If Samaria gorge was to be privatized ..."

Kalimera Mike, is there what concrete because of the privatization of the Samaria gorge, or are the rumors?

I have not read anything in the media.

Greetings from Hamburg, kv

Re: News from Loutro

Posted: 09 Sep 2021, 19:56
by mike
I have not heard anything about Samaria privatization. Discussions about a road has been a strictly local matter (how to increase tourist business), nothing to do with the gorge.

What I meant by my comment was that IF Samaria were to be privatized then larger commercial interests might swing the debate about a road.

The problem with privatization of anything is the risk that certain values and goals would be changed. Samaria, being a national park, decisions are (presumably) made in the interests of the park itself. That said, Samaria hasn't exactly been well-managed. At least, the income that the park generates is apparently disproportionately funnelled off to a general budget. Every year there have been problems with hiring temporary (seasonal) staff, payment and so on. Privatization might improve this situation, but if the compromise is to put emphasis on commercial interest rather than preservation/protection of natural environment ... well, that's the problem.