Seitan Limania: My Descent Into Hania’s Devil’s Harbors


I was never allowed to visit the Seitan Limania as a kid, even though I the beach was less than a half hours’ drive from my grandparents’ house where I spent my summers.

Maybe it was the devilish name that scared off my superstitious family. A leftover chapter from Crete’s Ottoman Turkish past, Seitan means satanic and Limania, harbors.

Years had passed and into adulthood, I had forgotten about this place.

This summer Facebook changed all that. I saw numerous posts and pics of family and friends visiting this unique place, tucked in the corner of the Akrotiri peninsula not far from Hania’s international airport and a few minutes’ drive from my grand-paternal village of Sternes.

You need a car– and athletic shoes to get here, although we did encounter a public KTEL minivan on the road, which tells me that the beach is becoming more mainstream (See below for Google Maps location).

Seitan Limania-- the Satanic Harbors, view from the top.

Seitan Limania– the Satanic Harbors, view from the top.

It’s a long, windy (read: scary) road up the side of one mountain and down the other side. Once you park, you’re welcomed by a creepy shrine– the kind you see everywhere in Greece along the side of treacherous mountain roads where people died in accidents, left as memorials by families.

This one was a memorial to a young man named Dimitris Bobolakis, who according to the memorial, died because of his love for the sea. From the memorial, you walk down a dangerous path that at some points actually requires some cliff-clinging.

Memorial to a young man who died here in the 1990s-- the first thing you see when you start your descent down the cliffs.

Memorial to a young man who died here in the 1990s– the first thing you see when you start your descent down the cliffs.

A word to the wise… If you have any mobility issues or a fear of dangling off the sides of steep cliffs… Stick to the regular beach.

If you insist… Make sure you don’t make the mistake of these not in the know American tourists and wear flip-flops. At one point during my ascent down the hill (cliff) the unfortunate girl’s flip-flops actually snapped and dropped into the rocks below leaving her barefoot for the rest of the descent into the devil’s harbors.

Once you make it to the beach, it’s stunning.

The tiny white pebbles shine and sparkle and the water alternates in different shades of blue in the serpentine-shaped harbor.

There are no canteens or tavernas here– not even a makeshift kiosk for water or survival supplies so you should carry some in a bag or nap sack.

There are also no sun beds or umbrellas here but the rocks and cliffs do provide some corners of shade.

Thrill seekers take to the cliffs surrounding the thin bay that opens up into the vast Cretan Sea and what’s fascinating is how warm the waters are in the lagoon, and how cold they become just a few meters out.

My entire time on the beach, I could only think about the kid who died here… Was he killed during a cliff jump? Did he die while making his way down, or up?

My deep thought about him was periodically interrupted by a splash or a scream of joy as young people jumped into the blue abyss.

I also couldn’t get my mind off the ascent back up the cliffs to the safety of my car.

It was a magical day… And I did make it up the mountain in one piece.

We rewarded ourselves on the ride home by stopping and picking some wild prickly pears– called “papoutsosika” or “fragosika” by the locals.

If you want to give this place a try, click here for the exact location on Google Maps.