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21/04/2015

Beaches & Bays of the Messara Bay

The Bay of Messara is home to the longest beach in Crete, stretching from Kokkinos Pyrgos through Afrathias and Kalamaki to Komos Beach. Each stand section offers something special.

Unfortunately, it is separated by an inactive military area between Kokkinos Pyrgos and Afrathias, although from 2024 it will also be allowed to walk through this section. 

The different sections of the beach also offer different conditions, so Kokkinos Pyrgos and Kalamaki are holiday resorts with a promenade where you can find taverns and cafes. There is always something going on here and families especially feel at home here. The locals also meet in Kokkinos Pyrgos and the beach is lively until the evening. This is probably due to the gently sloping sandy beach, protected by the harbor wall, and certainly also to the Beach Club Makao.
Kokkinos Pyrgos also offers a quiet beach, which is located behind the harbor. The Red Castle Taverna is a wonderful place to relax, especially since there is no road between the tavern and the sea, only sand, and only a handful of parasols. The further west you go, the quieter it becomes and there is a path along the sea to Agia Galini.

To the east, the beach of Kokkinos Pyrgos, called Kataliki, is quickly becoming empty and with a bit of luck you will be able to pass the military area along the beach this summer and continue to the beach of Afrathias – Pachiammos.

For me, this beautiful and natural section of the stand is one of the highlights of the region. But you have to know that it is only possible to easily get into the water in a few places, as stone slabs dominate the first few meters of the coast. On wavy days, all you can do is sit on the sand or the stones in the sea and let the waves refresh you, which is also great.
It is precisely because of this peculiarity that the beach of Afrathias is never overcrowded. There are also only a few umbrellas, maybe 10, so it’s better to bring your own to escape the sun. On the beach, there is a taverna run by Eleni and Ioannis. If you’re looking for something typical of the area with simple, good food, away from the touristy places, you’ve come to the right place. The tavern is slightly set back, so it’s also a good tip for windy days. Pachiammos is a small section west of Afrathias and from there, a bumpy path leads over a hill to Kalamaki.

Kalamaki is very popular with families and there are also small playgrounds in the village and even a swimming pool if it is too windy on the beach. The fine sand and the various beach taverns and cafés invite you to linger. Here you can spend a wonderful time on the beach with parasols and loungers, and further east there are also shady spots under the tamarisk trees. One reason why Kalamki is so popular with holidaymakers is its proximity to Komos Beach, arguably the most beautiful section of this bay. It connects directly to Kalamki Beach, but at least in the first part, it is undeveloped and natural.
This is also one of the few places where nudism is allowed, but not MUST.
The sandy beach of Komos is lined with a dune with some beech trees and tamarisk trees under which you can find sun protection. In midsummer, the beach often seems empty, but that is deceptive because many people are lying under the trees in the shade or hanging out in the Karibu Bar.

A few years ago the Karibu Bar was still an insider tip, but now many people have noticed that Karibu is simply great. The standing bar is built almost entirely from flotsam and jetsam, there is soft music from the sixties to today, and there are seating areas, hammocks, and a bar. Caroline and Ioannis have created a little paradise here and serve small dishes, coffee, juices, beer, and cocktails. On some evenings there is also live music from local musicians, who often bring guest musicians with them. It’s worth looking at the posters.
Since 2023 there has also been a tree house where you can book for 1-2 nights.

It is also difficult to get into the water in this section of the beach, but a little further west it is much easier. Above the beach is the archaeological excavation Komos, which is closed to visitors, but you can see the ruins from the fence.

A road also leads here, there are parking spaces and a cantina with snacks, coffee, etc.
This section of Komos Beach is organized with loungers and sunshades, but you have to pay for them. In 2023 it was 8.00 per set (2 loungers, 1 umbrella). The money is collected by the municipality, which also looks after the region, so that’s completely ok for me.

From here to the end of the bay you can easily get into the water and it’s a nice walk to the end, where there is the Tavena Komos and the Bunga Bunga (you can also go here by car, there is a parking lot)

The Bunga Bunga is one of the highlights of the Komos stand, the cozy stand bar opens at lunchtime and offers space for eating and drinking on 3 small floors. It’s often fun, especially at the bar, and you quickly come into contact with other holidaymakers. There are also parasols and loungers for rent here and it’s a lot of fun jumping into the waves that often form at the end of the beach. It’s also great for snorkeling along the rocks, of course on the less wavy days.

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