Plakias is a growing village located in an attractive bay on the south coast of Crete. It has grown considerably in recent years, mainly on the back of tourism. A large number of apartments and small hotels have been built around Plakias.
It's about 40 kilometres over the mountain from Rethymnon (there is a regular bus service) and not far from Hora Sfakia.
Plakias village follows the single straight road that runs along the back of the beach. Plakias has plenty of restaurants and bars, with a few shops and a couple of disco clubs try to cash in on the annual tourist influx.
The main attraction of Plakias is the large, curving bay with a one kilometre long beach of sand and pebble. It is more pebble near the resort and sandier as you head east, with decent to be had in the shallow waters beneath the cliffs — but watch for sea urchins.
Plakias beach has showers and sunbeds and the beach rarely gets crowded. It's safe for swimming and, being south facing, well sheltered, although winds whip up some big waves occasionally.
To the east of Plakias are beaches at Paligremnos and, further still, Damnoni, now quite a popular tourist resort in its own right. About two kilometres to the west is another small sandy beach called Souda Bay, noted for its palm trees, and before that a small cove at Gavdolimano.
The village of Plakias is quite a drab affair, without much character and the bout of recent building hasn't helped but it still has the pleasant atmosphere of a traditional Greek village.
Many visitors use Plakias as a base to explore the coastal plain and hills behind , dotted with much prettier villages, notably Mirthios and Sellia, both of them framed by the majestic mountains.
Plakias is also an excellent base for walkers and cyclists with lots of paths and tracks through quiet villages both on the coastal plan and in the hills beyond.
Most of the coastline in this area is easily accessible and dotted with secluded hidden coves.
The city of Rethymnon on the north coast of Crete is packed with colourful parades and impromptu street parties in a celebration that has been running more than 100 years.
An intricate mosaic of pebble and stone cover a complex of buildings at Koumos, including a taverna and even a chapel, in an architectural extravaganza that will take your breath away.
Also, among the weapons on display at the Arkadi Monastery are some of those used in the famous siege, including flintlock rifles and long-barrelled pistols as well muskets.
Crete may be a holiday hotspot today but the islands was once the scene of a ferocious firefight between Allied troops and German paratroopers now buried in war cemeteries.