Among all beaches in West Crete, Menies beach was a nice surprise. Located on Rodopos Peninsula (or Rodopou), Menies beach sits in a small bay by the end of a very long and dusty road that passes though olive groves and rocky mountains. It is a beach as you can rarely find today, a quiet, clean and relaxing patch of sand in front of a beautiful bay with clear, blue water. There are no umbrellas, no sunbeds, no restaurants, and barely any visitors.
Menies beach is pure heaven, but it’s nothing like the low hanging fruit.
Where Is Menies Beach?
Menies beach is located close to the Rodopos cape, on the site of Diktinna, one of the most important temples in ancient times. Diktinna was a Minoan goddess who jumped off the cliffs to escape King Minos (who fell in love with her). While the former Diktinna sanctuary is almost to the northernmost coast of the Rodopos Peninsula, Menies beach is a little lower, on the northeastern coast.
The sandy beach is small and it is surrounded by rocks. The bay is also flanked by massive rocks, being therefore calm and not exposed to strong currents or waves. The water is clear and it has a deep blue color, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
How To Get to Menies Beach from Chania Town
Also known as Dyktinna Beach, Menies Beach is at 45km northwest from Chania Town.
Although it doesn’t seem much, you’ll need one hour and a half to get there from the west side of Chania Town (Kato Stalos, Agia Marina or Platanias). Follow the PEO Kissamou Chanion road for about 20km, then turn right to take the road to Rodopou (Rodopos). You’ll pass just under the Northern Crete Highway (also known as VOAK). Soon you’ll kiss the asphalt goodbye.
The last 20 km are on a bumpy dirt road, so expect to slow down big time. The moment you speed up, dust will take over and you’ll find yourself covered in a fine layer of red dirt.
We drove a Suzuki Jimny, so the dust was free to circulate. I was even afraid to take my camera out of the bag.
There’s no bus going to Menies beach. Driving is your only option, unless you want to catch a boat from Platanias..
What Is the Last Inhabited Village Before Menies Beach?
The last inhabited village before Menies beach is Rodopos. After that, you’ll be alone in the wilderness for more than 20km.
I’d say that you should even make sure you have everything you need before you reach Rodopos. Stop in Kolymbari to shop for everything you still need. If you can’t be bothered with all that driving to Menies, you can even stop here and go to the Kolymbari beach (although you’d miss the beautiful scenery up North).
How To Prepare for the Trip to Menies Beach
Although a four-wheel drive would be the ideal vehicle to drive to Menies beach, you can also get by with a normal car, if you drive slowly and carefully.
I can’t stress enough that you need to make sure you do have enough fuel in your tank before heading over to Menies Beach. There’s nothing on that dirt road after Rodopos – no villages, no houses, no gas stations, nothing. You’ll see only brown rocks and goats, so don’t expect anyone to rescue you, should you run out of fuel. I don’t even think there was mobile signal on that road.
Nothing grows naturally on this rocky soil of Rodopos Peninsula. Olive groves get their water through a complex irrigation network. Here’s a water pipes junction – how cool is this?
As you’ll be driving to the beach, bring everything you may need: water, food, towels, umbrella, snorkeling gear, and sunscreen.
There’s no natural shade on the beach. If you want to protect your skin from the sun, consider wearing an UV protection long sleeved, fast drying t-shirt.
Is Menies Bay Good for Snorkeling?
Yes, the calm and clear waters of Menies Bay are perfect for snorkeling.
The sea floor is made from fine pebbles and sand, so you won’t need water shoes.
Is Menies Beach a Good Day Trip from Chania Town?
Yes, Menies Beach can make a perfect day trip from Chania Town. However, you’ll need to wake up early, as you’ll have to count three hours for the driving.
If you’re also interested in visiting the Rodopos Peninsula rather than spending the whole day on the beach sunbathing and snorkeling, you’ll probably need to count a couple of hours for these activities. Here’s an article on the ancient Dyktinnaion and the Rodopos Peninsula archeological site.
Is Menies Beach Good for Camping?
I’ve seen a family camping on Menies beach in an RV. They had almost the whole beach to themselves. It was August, high-season. My group and another couple were the only visitors on Menies beach, apart from the family with the campervan.
If you want peace and tranquility, silence, a lovely bay almost all to yourself, and no humans around, Menies beach is the place to go. I’d camp there for the whole summer.
Later edit: I’ve just found out from the author of this informative website about Greece that camping on beaches in Greece is forbidden, so you may want to refrain from it.
Goats will be your best neighbors and companions on Menies beach.
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