The Akrotiri (ak-roh-tee-ree) Peninsula, to the northeast of Hania, is a barren, hilly stretch of rock covered with scrub. It has a few coastal resorts, Hania’s airport, a massive NATO naval base on Souda Bay and two interesting monasteries. There are few buses and the poorly signposted roads make it difficult to explore, but if you have a car you can make a day trip combining a swim and lunch with a visit to the monasteries. If you want to stay at the beach near Hania, Akrotiri’s Kalathas and Stavros are much quieter than the overblown package-tour strip west of Hania, but overall, southwest Crete has much better beaches than Akrotiri.
The beach settlement of Kalathas, 10km north of Hania, has two sandy beaches lined by pine trees. It is the preferred weekend haunt of Haniots, many of whom own summer and weekend houses nearby.
Three kilometres north of Kalathas is the small beach settlement of Tersanas, signposted off the main Kalathas–Stavros road.
Stavros, 6km north of Kalathas, is little more than a dilapidated scattering of houses and an array of restaurants and hotels, plus a famous cove.