Perched on the south end of Akoumiani Gialia’s sweeping seafront, Melissa Cape Sandhills is a must-visit destination for any traveler to central Crete. Located approximately 55km south of the city of Rethymnon, the beach is home to breathtaking views and plenty of seclusion. Bordered by the Cape Melissa to the south and the Akoumianos River and Triopetra beach to the north, the deep sea is inviting for a swim, and it is quite common to see people of all states of dress enjoying the area’s privacy. Locals also call it Alatsogremi (salt cliffs).
The Melissa Cape Sandhills offer visitors a truly unique experience. With its large size, the beach never seems busy and allows for plenty of naturist activities. The seabed is also rich, making it ideal for snorkeling. Although the water temperature rarely drops below 15 degrees Celsius, the beach can occasionally be affected by strong west winds and large waves.
A truly awe-inspiring sunset can be viewed from the peak of Thronos, a short distance above the beach. To get there, visitors can follow the dirt track that starts just next to the junction of Agios Pavlos – Sactouria and Triopetra-Agios Pavlos roads and then walk to the edge of the cliff. From the peak, visitors will be able to take in the beauty of Paximadia islets, Gavdos island, and the White Mountains.
Reaching the Sandhills is simple. Drivers can park their cars in Agios Pavlos and then follow the path behind the western edge of the beach. Alternatively, they can take the road leading west from Triopetra harbor (Stomio), parking 500m away and then descending to the small valley near the river.