With its sawtooth walls and square crenellated towers at each corner, the well-preserved Venetian castle of Frangokastello is straight from the pages of a medieval fairytale. The Venetians built the castle fort in the 1370s, when their empire ruled the seas and the island of Crete. You can still make out the carving of the winged lion of the Venetian Republic, above the entrance to the castle.
The imposing structure lies on the coastal plain, strategically positioned to ward off pirates and protect the Venetian nobles who called the island home. It was originally called the Castle of St. Nikitas, but eventually took on the name given to it by unhappy locals: Castle of the Franks (as in foreigners). The battlements and buildings within the wall date from the island’s Ottoman occupation.
Nearby, Frangokastello’s beaches are a modern-day draw and the small town offers remote seaside accommodation
Frangokastello is in the Chania prefecture, on Crete’s south coast. The
town of Hora Sfakion is around 12km (7.5 miles) to the west.