Fragokastello is a coastal village located in the prefecture of Chania on the south coast of Crete, about 12 km east from the town of Sfakia. The Venetians built the castle at period of 1371-1374 and they had called Agios Nikitas,
but prevailed name Fragokastello as they used to call the local people (Castle of the Franks). Fragokastello apart from the wonderful beaches and the purity of landscapes, became known by the famous phenomenon DROSOULITES, who observed around the castle in the end of spring.
To get to Fragokastello you can follow two routes : From Heraklion drive on the National Road Heraklion-Chania and heading towards to Rethymno. Passing through the town of Rethymno driving towards to Plakias. Before arriving in the village of Plakias, follow the signs to Rodakino and then the signs to Fragokastello. This route is easier and takes about 1 hour by car. The second choice, is for those who’re already in Chania and you can tour inside the wild nature. Leave behind the town of Chania and drive on the highway Chania-Heraklion, to the way to Rethymnon, turn at the intersection for Brisses and driving uphill to the plateau Askifou. Then go down to Chora Sfakion, driving next to the impressive gorge of Imbros and then we can see the view of the Libyan sea. The road has many tight turns needed attention but it is Asphalt road. A little bit before arriving in Chora Sfakion, turn left and follow the signs to Fragokastello. The route is great, takes about 1.5 hours, but the beauty of wild nature will reward you. If you are lucky you can meet the famous wild goats of the area, are called as Kri-Kri.
In 1340, the feudal lords of Chania have asked from Venice to build a fortress near the church of Agios Nikitas, in Sfakia, to protect themselves from pirates and rebels of local people. In 1371 began the construction of the fort, which lasted three years. Sfakians with Heads of 6 brothers, the Patsous, they demolished the night what the Venetians people have made at day. The conquerors were guarding the castle, day and night, and they achieved to complete the construction and they capture the six brothers. The legend says, that they hung them at the 4 towers of the castle and the others two hung them at the entrance of the fortress. In the years of Ottoman rule, the castle passed into the hands of Turks. In 1770 the chieftain Daskaloyiannis captured the castle from the Ottomans and fortified inside the castle with 700 men. In May 1828 a fierce battle took place between the Turks and the Greeks who are inside the castle, by the Greeks to lose the battle, with a large number of dead soldiers. After the battle, the Nailis Pasas destroyed the fortress in order not to be used again by Sfakian people. This battle is associate with the phenomenon Drosoulites, that we notice every year between May and June early in the morning. Testimonials from local people said, that shadows appear around the castle, who look like riders or soldiers with glittering armor. Tradition say, that are the ghosts of soldiers who lost their lives in deadly battle. The scientific explanation of this phenomenon indicates that it is a mirage or illusion. In our days, a large part of the fortress is fully restored and renovated. Above the main gate of the castle survives the embossed with the Lion of St. Mark, that is emblem of the Republic of Venice. When you enter the castle you will meet a traditional musician, who plays endlessly Cretan music, that echoing around the castle, tapping his foot incessantly, looks like that you are hearing the footsteps of the lost soldiers. Touring through the gates and the embrasures of the fortress, explore all three levels of the castle, with the last one will reward you from the view. The summer the Castle often hosts exhibitions, performances and concerts.
Fragokastello is one of the most popular destinations of Crete. The main beach is just down the Venetian fortress, is organized beach with clear turquoise waters, ideal for children as the depth of the sea comes gradually. A few meters away, you will find the beach called ” Good Sand ”, fairly secluded and quiet, known for the sand dunes, and a part of the beach the nudism is allowed. The area has small hotels, tavernas with fresh fish, and small traditional shops with local and traditional products. Those who love nature, will have the opportunity to walk through the gorge Kalikratis and Imbros Gorge.
Visit St. Mark’s Basilica and the monastery of St. Charalambos southern of the region of Fragokastello. The monastery has a unique architecture, the Catholic surrounded by a wall with turrets while interest is the wood carved iconostasis and the icons. Driving 10 minutes west from the area, visiting the Chora Sfakion. It’s a small village, quiet, full of small restaurants and hotels, while maintaining the purity of the area. From the Chora Sfakion you can take the boat and visit the Loutro. Loutro is an area, which is accessible only by the sea, with beautiful beaches and taverns. The cruise to Loutro will amaze you, the landscapes that you will discover are unique.