This is a small gorge that runs about a kilometer south of Martsalo: it takes its name from the 300 hermits reported to have practiced here.
The gorge leads to a beach surrounded by imposingly high cliffs: of an unusual loveliness, the isolated strand has small pebbles and deep, crystal-clear water. Getting there by foot is only possible through the gorge (an easy trek of less than an hour), though a caique from Kaloi Limenes. Matala or Aghia Galini can drop you directly there.
The beach is much favoured by campers, but especially those with a boat, as otherwise the gear has to be carried there through the gorge.
About 200 m before the beach is the church of Aghios Antonios, built in the 14th century with a well by it for water. High up on a cliff-face to the left of the church is a huge cavern – the Goumenospilios: lit from within by a hole in its roof, it served as a meeting place of all the hermits – once a year.
Again, because of the church and the past sanctity of the area, nudism is not acceptable on this beach.
When at the beach, be sure to climb up to the top of the cliffs on the east side and so get pleasure from the breathtaking views over the Libyan sea. Beyond the beach to the southeast is Vourvoulitis, a sink-hole filled with saltish water: it communicates with the sea by underground passages. With its imposing cliffs all around, it almost looks like a sea-loch. To take a dip in its icy waters (a good 10 m deep in places), you must follow a dangerous and rough footpath. Should you survive this, the experience will reward you well!
The next beach you meet is that of Stena, unknown to most, but worth a call if you are in the neighbourhood.
- Tips, Suggestions, Iseful info
- History, Culture
- What to do (Activities)
- What to see (Culture, Nature)
- location Aghiofarago, Phaistos, Heraklio
- free camping Yes
- nudism No
- beach type Thin Pebble
- accommodation No
- dinning No
- other facilities
relevant routes & paths:
Distance: 80 km from Heraklion.
By sea: By boat from Agia Galini, Kali Limenes and Matala.
From the Northwest: Take the main road leading from Rethymnon in Tymbaki. By-pass Tymbaki and the military airport until you reach the junction to Kamilari. After passing Kamilari, follow the road that leads to the Monastery of Odigitria, passing through the village of Sivas. Up to the Monastery Odigitrias the road is asphalted. Turn left here and follow the rough dirt road that leads to Kaloi Limenes. Continue for 4 km, turn right and continue until you reach a dead end; here you leave your vehicle. From there continue on foot for about half an hour, through the gorge, to reach the beach.
From the Northeast: Take the main road south from Heraklion to Tymbaki, passing through Moires. After Moires, follow the road that leads to the Monastery of Odigitria, passing through the village of Sivas. Up to the Monastery Odigitrias the road is surfaced. Turn left here and follow the rough dirt road that leads to Kaloi Limenes. Continue for 4 km, turn right and continue until you reach a dead end; here you leave your vehicle. From there continue on foot for about half an hour, through the gorge, to reach the beach.