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The whole topic of the “best beach in Crete” goes bust by the time you hit your second or third beach. My wife Oksana and I have a lot more than that under our belts, but we just keep discovering more and more, and the more we explore, the more spectacular they seem to become. Kedrodasos (kedroDAsos) beach in the southern part of the Chania prefecture hit us like a ton of bricks. First there is that spectacular view of the Libyan Sea and the shoreline cedar wood that you encounter as you walk about half a kilometer down a mountain path from the parking lot above. The word breathtaking was invented for moments like this. Then there is the water – at one point as we swam Oksana sighed and said, “This is just what it was like on the Maldives.” All I could say in response was that maybe it’s the other way around, maybe the Maldives are like the Cretan waters of the Libyan Sea… The beaches at Kedrasos – for there is a string of four or five that go under that name – are mostly sandy (the last one going east is covered in smooth stones). There is a lot of what I would call sheet sandstone right at the shore, but it’s easy to walk across and there are plenty of entries into the water that are pure sand. Most of that underwater sand is bright white, which lends the water a dazzling light blue color. The main beach is a long, beautiful stretch of sand and azure/turquoise waters that has plenty of room for campers and day-trippers alike. The second one going east – you get to it by a short walk over a sandy/rocky hill – was one of the most extraordinary sites I have ever encountered. Oksana and I both gasped as we came upon it. Nestled into a tiny cove with streaks of pink sand and cedar trees offering tons of shade, it looks very much like a temple. The blissed-out tranquility of the bathers had a whiff of reverence to it (and whiffs of nothing else, I should add, other than bracingly fresh air). Throughout the tiny bay past travelers have made freestanding stone statues on all the rocks that protrude from the water and line the beach. There is something so otherworldly about the place that Oksana and I actually felt like intruders into someone else’s worship ceremony. People moved slowly, if at all, spoke in hushed tones, and seemed to touch the sand and water as lightly and respectfully as possible. There is another tiny sand beach a few hundred meters along, and then a fairly large stone beach stretches on beyond a short trek over another sandy and rocky protrusion into the sea. The biggest drawback (or plus, depending on your point of view) to Kedrodasos is the approach – a fairly long dirt road that is not easy to find. But if you go to Google maps and look for the road that turns off the final approach to Elafonisi, then cuts through a multitude of greenhouses, that’s what you want. Do NOT take the road that cuts off at the Innachorion tavern and store near Elafonisi – that’s how we went in and we nearly left half the innards of our car on the rocky road. The drive from Chania takes approximately 90 minutes, but allow for some stops and turn-backs on the way. [Photos restored Dec. 10, 2019]

All text and photos © 2019 John Freedman. If you wish to reproduce, repost or use any of the text or any photo, please ask for permission.