The Ancient City Lissos

The Ancient City Lissos, Sougia

The Ancient City Lissos
Ancient Ruins
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120 reviews
Very good

Florence, Italy10,989 contributions
Sep 2021
The walk to Lissos is one of the most classic, and probably the easiest, of those possible from Sougia.
The overland route at least one way (instead of the one by sea) is highly recommended. It's only a small part of the entire trail from Sougia to Paleochora (or back), which is instead challenging (it's a stretch of the E4 European path).
We traveled the Sougia-Lissos overland section both on the outward and return journeys. I obviously found the first part of the trail through the Lissos Gorge magnificent; but perhaps I appreciated even more the central part of the route, the one crossing (by an almost flat path) a lonely, sunny, rocky plateau with sparse bushes, except for a few beautiful shady trees here and there.
The descent to Lissos offers other magnificent views, after which you enter the area of ​​the ancient city.
The heart of the archaeological area, the sanctuary of Asclepius for which Lissos was famous in ancient times, is one of the first sites encountered after the descent. You can clearly see how it was destroyed by the rocks falling from above following an earthquake; although a large hall with a mosaic floor and other architectural structures are still clearly visible.
Apart from the historical value of the ancient sanctuary, I really enjoyed the pleasant spot of the Agios Kyrikos chapel, shaded by a beautiful carob and other trees. In addition, the nearby (and also shaded) area surrounding a source (the only one in the area). is nice This source is useful to tourists, but also to archaeologists who still excavate the ancient city; as well as to.... the goats.
Towards the sea, the area of ​​the ancient dwellings didn't seem very interesting to us; while we enjoyed the nearby Panagia chapel, which reuses marble (including some carved blocks) from the ancient city.
Overall, both the overland route and the destination itself are not to be missed, if you are in Sougia.
Written November 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kartsios V
Chania Prefecture, Greece71 contributions
Jul 2019 • Family
We planned to go to ancient Lissos this year and its something I did not regret. At first we were a bit skeptic because its a company of 3 with one very young. And wasn't very sure the little one would have a good time. We went on mid july on a fair that they do annually for the saint Ai kirikos (or Ai kirkos). A lot of people gathered playing music drinking wine and eating food that was cooked there. The energy was very good. Lovely people the ones who organised the fair!

At night time, after the moon had gone down, enjoyed a swim at the sea and saw for the first time glowing seaweeds! The oracles place and the old church was very beautiful as well .
I think it was a unique experience and might try to do it again :)

Strongly advise it to anyone who hasn't done it
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Norwich, UK3 contributions
May 2018 • Couples
The E4 path winds from Palaiochora to Sougia along the coast. From Palaiochora the walk is 13k. On a scale 1 to 4 with 1 easiest, it is 2 for both the going underfoot and how strenuous it is. Overall the path includes some easy walking sections, but there are many sections where you are walking on loose stones and fixed rocks and some clambering is needed. There are a few steep ascents/descents. Good shoes are essential. The ferry leaves at 8.30 and returns departing from Sougia at 18.10. We decided to walk there and sail back, so avoiding rising early! We left about 10.30, stopped for lunch and deliberately slowed down for the last 3k; and we still had an hour for a beer in Sougia village. We walked on 31st May. The breeze kept the temperature down, but it was already a little hot for comfort in some sections.
From the harbour follow the seaside road. Near the end of the town it bends left a little away from the sea and shortly after that follow a bend to the right. Take the road on the right singed for Anidri. This leads out of the town and eventually past the camping site. When the tarmac road bends left and heads uphill and inland, take a right turning onto a rougher road that continues on in much the same direction towards Gialiskari. This road follows the coast closely and is a mixture of concrete and unmade sections. It passes a pebbly beach with a sheltered swimming bay and shortly afterwards is a sandy beach (Anidri and Gialiskari beaches). Head for the top left corner of the car park. There are now lots of helpful E4 signs to guide you. Walk along the back of the beach to the far end. Here there are elderly nudists sunbathing so you can choose eyes left or right! You come to an information board about the walk, which reminds you to take lots of water. The walk is 9k to Sougia from here. The walk starts off with a bit of a climb over flat rocks and is marked all the way with black and yellow stripes, yellow blobs and black and yellow poles. This signage is extensive and very useful. The paint splodges are only a few metres apart and are essential on some stretches through rocky terrain.
The first section wanders near the sea with great views in both directions. Ascents and descents are small. It dips down to a small cove, where a half dozen people were taking a dip. Thereafter there is a long hard ascent to cross the back of the crocodile cape, with the path zigzagging through rocks. Eventually it passes through a gap and becomes a flatter, wider path across flat lands with goats around. It then descends through shrubs and then turns right with a short section of a small ravine on the right. It winds down towards Lissos beach. The path doesn’t go to the beach but bends left. It passes the tallest building of ancient Lissos (originally two storeys), and very soon after into a small valley full of trees and oleander to emerge at a picnic spot. There are three large, shaded picnic table in good order. The spring (channelled through a stone water spout) was running well on 31st May, but I don’t know if it is an all year spring. There is an information board about ancient Lissos. To go to the beach take the path that continues on the same direction. To continue on the E4 for Sougia turn left uphill into a small valley. You can visit the temple of Asclepius – it is surrounded by a high fence but the gate is open. The path is a small right turn before the temple – not too easy to spot, but marked with yellow paint when you look closely. It winds up steeply though rocks and bushes. It is easy to take the occasional wrong turn, so keep your eyes peeled for the paint splodges. The path emerges onto a plateau and goes straight across amongst strange low volcanic rocks. It then goes down through the pines and emerges at the bottom of a gorge. Turn right and follow the gorge through the bushes and past a wonder concave yellowish cliff full of martins. This section through the bushes is quite long. It emerges eventually behind the harbour. Turn left over a patch of rough ground. In the fence is a section that opens – it isn’t a hinged gate. Pass through and follow the coast road to Sougia.
The road passes the white kiosk where tickets for the ferry back can be purchased. The kiosk opens about 30 minutes before the ferry is due. In 2018 a single coast 11.20 euros. It arrive about 50 minutes late and it passed the wonderful mountainous coast as the shadows lengthened and the views and opportunities for photos were fantastic. A great day.
Written June 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter H
Winchester, UK159 contributions
Sep 2013 • Couples
We did this walk in late September when it was a little cooler. The air temp was still +28C though so we took plenty of water. I won't describe the route as the details are well documented. I recommend where there is a very accurate description of the walk and route to be followed.

My advice to any traveller finding themselves in amazing Sougia, is that they should make the effort and do this walk. The distance to Lissos is around 3.5km. The way is very clearly marked and it would be very difficult to get lost. The terrain is pretty easy through the gorge and up the ascent to the plateau that divides the
Sougia and Lissos bays. The descent down into the beautiful Lissos bay is a little more tricky but still very doable by most people I would have thought. Once down into the ancient ruins any tiredness soon lifts as this is a serene and beautiful place that will lift your spirits.
I have seen some posts suggesting that the beach is sometimes polluted with tar washed in from unscrupulous tankers that ply up and down the Med and I have no reason to doubt them. One the day we went, the beach was spotless ( like most Crete beaches) and I was able to enjoy a refreshing swim in crystal clear waters.
Having stayed for a few hours and had a small snack of fruit, we headed back the way we came having first topped up our water from the fresh spring that you will see as you enter the valley from the descent. The return trip is actually easier in our view as it's less wearing on the knees ( at least ours!) going up rather than down. It was very hot but we were back on the plateau in no time at all.
It is possible to arrange for a taxi boat to pick you up from the bay and take you back to Sougia but this would seem to be an expensive way of doing the round trip unless you want to see the coast from the boat that is.

Having walked the Imbros Gorge a few days earlier I have to say that this walk and the beauty of the trial is much more rewarding.

The obvious advice goes with this post. Take lots of water, a hat as it can get very warm and make sure you have good trainers or hiking boots.

Written September 25, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dawlish, UK77 contributions
Oct 2019
Ancient Lissos is worth visiting. You can get the local speedboat from Sougia and the journey is under 10 minutes or you can walk over which will take an hour or so. Note that there are no signs to this ancient place so you just wander along the stone paths and explore. There are what looks like little terraced houses on the cliff on the left looking up, but in fact they were tombs. Explore it and see what you find. Swimming too if you want on a pebbley beach...wear water shoes for best enjoyment, and get the boat back to Sougia.
Written October 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Portsmouth UK132 contributions
May 2014 • Couples
Lovely walk. not too challenging and an amazing ancient site with no entrance fees and all just there for you to see. Was surprisingly busy for early May, but nonetheless a good place to visit.
Written June 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

massimo v
Lucca, Italy24 contributions
Aug 2013 • Family
The first time we got there by boat somebody was playing buzouki in the woods,the beach was deserted and the antique remains of many different ages were like a dream.
We went back many times .
Written September 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brian G
Eynsford, UK15 contributions
Sep 2013 • Couples
If you are walking to Lissos, it's better to start early as the walk over the hill is open to the sun, with no shade. Lissos is interesting, with plenty to see and explore. Probably best to do a little research into the place first
Written September 11, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maidstone, UK85 contributions
Apr 2013 • Couples
A lovely 1.5hour hike through a little gorge from Sougia harbour, and then over a rocky plateau to a great aerial view of Lissos Bay. Just a couple of people camping on the beach overnight, and a few walkers on the E4 footpath. Ruins are generally self-explanatory but take the guidebook (and binoculars)
Written May 15, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jemma S
Southampton, UK140 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
We had read about the gorge walks across Crete but were put off from the Samaria walk due to needing to really do it as part of a tour as it seemed to be difficult to drive yourself to it. After a bit of research we decided to do the Lissos gorge due to its shorter length, location to Sougia and the opportunity to see some ancient ruins in Lissos.

We were staying near Stavros right in the north of Chania and it took about 2 hours to drive down to Sougia but was very easy to find and we enjoyed the drive through the mountain, orange groves and olive trees. Sougia itself is lovely with leafy tavernas all along the beach.

Before the start of our walk we called the water taxi to arrange a lift back. The number to call is on posters all the way through Sougia and located at the start of the wak so you can't miss it! Even when you get to Lissos beach there's more posters so you can call up at the end of your walk. There are 2 scheduled trips to and from Lissos - one going there at 10am and one returning at 3pm so if you wanted you could do the walk, spend the rest of the day having lunch/sun lounging on the beach and know you can definitely get a taxi back without having to ring.

The route of the walk itself is clearly signposted all the way along with little yellow and black markers and the left turn to go up the hill towards Lissos is clearly marked with a signpost so you'd have a really difficult job missing it.
The shade from the pine trees along the gorge was lovely and actually more of the walk was shady than we thought it would be which was really good.
The gorge and ascent itself are fine and easy to do - there is a boulder you have to climb over right at the start which is a bit slippery (purely because of how many people have walked on it) but this wasn't too bad.
The descent was a bit of a scramble at points but taking it slowly and concentrating on your steps it was fine.
You cannot do it in sandals!! We were in trainers rather than hiking boots though and that was fine so don't worry you have to have the full hiking gear. Do take plenty of water with you though.

The beach at the end is a lovely reward of clear blue water! If you take the taxi back to Sougia just know that it doesn't leave from the beach itself but from a rock (you'll see a tire tied to a big rock) and you need to go towards the little house with the bell and the path to the boat is from there. The chap who runs the taxi I think is used to people not realising this so he will wait for you if you wave to him you want to get on like we did!

The walk itself takes about 90 minutes and I would leave another 40 minutes to enjoy the ancient Lissos ruins and the beach before heading back or getting the boat taxi.
Written June 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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