Menies Beach: The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide

Menies Beach: The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide
Published on: April 28, 2024

Introduction to Menies Beach

Menies Beach is a hidden gem located on the Rodopou Peninsula of Crete. It’s 26.5 km away from Kolymvari by car and 7.3 nautical miles north when traveling by sea. Although you might face a bumpy dirt road on the way, the destination is definitely worth the effort. Here’s why!

Firstly, Menies Beach is one of the less crowded beaches, offering a peaceful escape. The crystal-clear water, with shades of blue and green, makes it perfect for relaxing swims. Small marble stones line the beach, adding to its unique charm. For underwater enthusiasts, the vibrant marine life makes it an ideal spot for snorkeling or spearfishing.

Additionally, you can explore the rich history of the area with ancient ruins nearby. Adventurous visitors will love discovering hidden spots ideal for cliff jumping. If you enjoy wildlife, you might also spot wild goats roaming freely. Moreover, Menies Beach is a favorite spot among naturists due to its natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking to dive into history, explore underwater, or simply enjoy the serene environment, Menies Beach offers an unforgettable experience.

Where to stay

Kolymvari and the surrounding areas of Maleme, Tavronitis, Platanias, Agia Marina and Nopigia offer a variety of hotels. For a different type of accommodation, you can also find villas or houses to rent in smaller villages like Rodopos and Afrata.

Chania Town is relatively close to the beach. Given Crete’s large size, travel times of 1 to 1.5 hours are considered average on the island.

Here’s a quick guide to some reliable places you might consider:

Kolymvari Area

  • Avra Imperial Hotel: Enjoy luxury with spa services and a beachfront view. A great option for families with kids and adults.
  • Grand Bay Beach Resort: Ideal for families, this resort offers a relaxed atmosphere with multiple pools.
  • Euphoria ResortA family-friendly resort known for its exceptional amenities and vibrant atmosphere, perfect for an enjoyable stay.


Chania Town

  • Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa: Nestled in the heart of Chania, this hotel is perfect for those who enjoy historical surroundings with contemporary comfort.
  • Samaria Hotel: A sleek, modern hotel located centrally, perfect for exploring local shops and cuisine.
  • Domus Renier Boutique Hoter: Nestled in the heart of Chania’s old harbor, Domus Renier Boutique Hotel offers a blend of historical elegance and modern luxury.
  • Domus Noruz: This adults-only resort is a stylish sanctuary on the edge of Chania, offering serene beachfront luxury. The resort combines unique, modern design with traditional Cretan hospitality. With amenities like wellness facilities, private pools, and thematic events, it’s perfect for couples seeking a sophisticated and relaxing getaway.

For a Local Experience in Smaller Villages

  • Villa Afrata: Located in the quaint village of Afrata, this villa provides a peaceful retreat with stunning views.
  • Rodopos Retreat: Experience traditional Cretan hospitality in this charming villa, ideal for families or groups.

These options provide a good mix of luxury and budget accommodations, with a focus on enhancing your stay near Menies Beach. Remember to book early, especially during peak travel seasons!


Things to do at Menies Beach

Menies Beach, also known as Diktina, is a perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and escape civilization. Here, you can appreciate the rare Cretan environment, meditate, or simply enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Swim in the crystal-clear, blue-green waters or bask in the sun on the pristine marble stones. Observe wild goats as they approach for a feed or watch them skillfully navigate the rocky terrain.

Menies is also an excellent spot for snorkeling and spearfishing, thanks to the incredible water visibility that sometimes exceeds 30 meters. For safety, when engaging in these activities, stay close to shore, as boats frequently visit the area. Use a buoy to be visible when spearfishing or diving. Snorkeling enthusiasts might spot saddled seabreams, typically fed from the boats, and groupers, which are found at depths beyond 15 meters.

Adding to the adventure, on the north side of the beach, a rocky path leads to a cliff ideal for diving into the sea. The cliff, approximately 2-3 meters high, is perfect for everyone, including children, to enjoy some exhilarating cliff jumps. The water beneath is about 3-4 meters deep, ensuring a safe diving experience.

Menies Beach is also popular among naturists and locals who sometimes camp overnight. If the weather permits, the view of the stars, unspoiled by nearby lights, is truly breathtaking.

Exploring the Historical Charm of Menies Beach

Menies Beach is  a portal to Crete’s ancient past. Just a short walk, about 200 meters east of the beach, you’ll find the ruins of the Diktynna Sanctuary (open google maps location), one of the most significant temples in ancient Crete. This historic site was dedicated to Vritomartis, known as the ‘sweet maiden’ in ancient Greek, a goddess revered by the locals and equated with Artemis, the Olympian deity.

The sanctuary of Diktynna was a major spiritual center, attracting worshippers from across the island, who traveled along a road connecting the sanctuary to the town of Polirinia. Today, as you explore the area, you can enjoy not only the pristine beauty of Menies Beach but also delve into the island’s rich mythological and historical heritage by visiting these captivating ruins.

Ancient Diktynna ruins image sourced from “Cretan

What to Expect

Menies Beach is a secluded natural haven, far removed from the conveniences of civilization. Here, you will be surrounded by the pure Cretan landscape, with no facilities such as bars, umbrellas, or snack stands. There is no access to fresh water, so it’s essential to bring your own supplies. That includes water, snacks, and a cooler with ice to keep your drinks chilled.

If you plan to explore the area or visit the ancient ruins and chapels nearby, trekking shoes are advisable. The beach itself, while moderately sized at about 75 meters in width and 25 meters in depth, is composed of small marble stones. The seabed varies between areas of similar marble stones and more rocky sections.

During the peak summer months of July and August, the beach can attract up to 30-40 visitors on its busiest days, with a couple of private boats typically anchored in the bay. Occasionally, a semi-private boat arrives for swimming, briefly increasing the beach’s population. However, in the quieter months of June, September, and October, you might find yourself completely alone.

Shade is scarce directly on the beach. However, some trees offer respite near a small chapel and ancient ruins about 80-100 meters from the shoreline. Additional shaded areas can be found close to the high cliffs on the southern or northern ends of the beach. This setting makes Menies Beach ideal for those seeking a peaceful retreat into nature.

How to Get to Menies Beach

There are two different ways to reach Menies Beach: by car or by boat. In this section, we will provide all the necessary details on how to get there. Additionally, we’ll offer useful links and information to help you tailor your visit to Menies according to your personal needs.

Getting to Menies by Car

Getting to Menies by car can be quite challenging due to a bumpy dirt road on the final stretch, but it’s definitely worth the effort. You will need a vehicle with high ground clearance—like a Jeep—to navigate this route comfortably. It’s best undertaken in a sturdy off-road vehicle.

To clearly understand the route, we will divide it into two parts: the bumpy dirt road and the asphalt road, starting near Chania. Along the way, we will highlight some interesting stops to make on your journey to or from the beach.

The Asphalt Part of the Route

The asphalt part of the road to Menies Beach offers two different routes. One is the old road that runs close to the sea, where you can enjoy views of villages and small towns along the coast. This scenic route is slightly longer than the alternative, taking approximately 35-45 minutes depending on traffic. It’s also convenient for picking up supplies, with several minimarkets, bakeries, and cafes along the way. Additionally, there are great spots to stop for a meal on your return journey. This route is also ideal for those staying in nearby areas like Platanias, Agia Marina, and Maleme. (open google maps route)

The second and faster route involves taking the EO Kissamou Chanion, which is part of the main road connecting the eastern and western parts of Crete. After traveling approximately 21 km, you will see signs for Epar.Od. Aspron Neron-Rodopou. Take a right turn here and continue until you reach Rodopos Village. (open google maps route)

The Dirt Road Section of the Route

The second section of the route begins in the village of Rodopos, a charming, traditional village located in the southern part of the Rodopou Peninsula. Rodopos offers basic amenities such as bakeries, cafes, grocery stores, a few taverns, and limited accommodation options. While it remains relatively untouched by tourism, don’t expect a wide range of services.

The road from Rodopos to Menies presents a challenge; it’s bumpy and not well-maintained. Covering 19.7 km to Menies Beach, you can expect the journey to take around 40-45 minutes. Despite the rough conditions, the drive offers scenic views and a true sense of adventure. (open google maps route)

Getting to Menies by Boat

One of the most enjoyable and straightforward ways to visit Menies Beach is by boat. If you’re considering hiring a boat, you have several port options to start your journey. The closest and most convenient port is Kolymvari, located on the southern part of the Rodopou peninsula.

From Kolymvari to Menies by Boat

Kolymvari (google maps location) is a tranquil fishing village featuring a well-equipped and modern port, making it an ideal starting point for your sea voyage. It’s especially favorable for those looking to avoid the traffic of downtown Chania, as it offers easier access and is generally less crowded. Additionally, its location provides a natural shield from the prevailing westerly winds, ensuring a smoother boat ride.

The journey from Kolymvari to Menies Beach takes approximately 25 minutes, covering a distance of about 8 nautical miles. Along the way, seize the opportunity to explore several other secluded bays and beaches such as Chironisia, Sfakos Beach, Limnionari, and some hidden caves, enhancing your adventure to Menies Beach with breathtaking views and stops at untouched natural havens.

Your Options

  1. Private Boat Charter: Hire a RIB, motorboat, or yacht for a luxury experience. It’s pricier, but with a group, the cost per person drops. Plus, you get a local skipper who knows all the secret spots — perfect for a tailored and exclusive adventure.
  2. License Free Boat Rental: Fancy steering your own ship? Rent a motorboat for total freedom on the water. It’s ideal for those who like a bit of solitude and are up for managing the boat themselves. Just keep an eye on the weather, as it can be unpredictable.
  3. Shared Boat Tour: If you’re watching your budget, jump on a shared boat tour. It’s the cheapest way to go, and while you’ll be with other travelers, it’s a fun way to meet people and still enjoy the sea route to Menies.


Our Suggested private boat tours & boat rentals from Kolymvari to Menies

From Kolymvari to Menies: A Secret Coastal Gems Boat Exploration: duration: 4h, boat options: RIBs, Motorboats, Yachts, price range:300 – 850e (per group), capacity: 1-9 persons

Secret Beaches & Caves Private Boat Trip from Kolymvari: duration: 6h, boat options: RIBs, Motorboats, Yachts, price range:420 – 1250e (per group), capacity: 1-9 persons

License-Free Self-Drive Boat Rentalduration: 4h-8h, boat options: motorboats 4-5m, price range: 200 – 270e, capacity: 1-4 persons

From Chania to Menies by Boat

If you’re staying close to Chania Town, consider starting your trip to Menies Beach from the Chania Old Port (google maps location). This spot is especially convenient for those who can easily walk there or are staying nearby. From Chania, your only option is a private boat charter, but you can choose between a RIB, a motorboat, or a yacht. The journey to Menies will take you about 35-45 minutes, covering 15 nautical miles.

While on your boat trip, why not make the most of it? You can explore the hidden beaches along the Rodopou Peninsula or go for a longer cruise to Balos Beach and Gramvousa. The longer cruise is highly recommended—it’s one of the best trips available. You’ll get to enjoy a variety of sceneries, from sandy beaches and rocky shores to mysterious caves. It’s a fantastic way to see different landscapes and really broaden your horizons.


Our Suggested private boat trips to Menies beach from Chania

Chania’s Hidden Beaches and Caves Private Exploration: duration: 4h, boat options: RIBs, Lux. Motorboats, price range:680 – 900e (per group), capacity: 1-9 persons

Chania to Rodopou: Hidden Beaches and Caves Cruise: duration: 6h, boat options: RIBs, Lux. Motorboats, price range:850 – 1250e (per group), capacity: 1-9 persons

All Day Private Boat Trip to Balos Beach & Gramvousa Island from Chania: duration: 7-8h, boat options: RIBs, Lux. Motorboats, price range:1200 – 1650e (per group), capacity: 1-9 persons