In the east are some of the best known and most photographed locations – Vai, Chrysi (Gold, aka Gaidoronisi or the Isle of Donkeys) and Zakros.
The opportunities do not end there: Makrigialos has many small coves, each with its own character – some developed, some not. Xerokampos boasts sandy strands of stunning natural attractiveness in an environment that has not been sullied by tourism.
The beach (the Bramble) and its associated village lie on the borders of the two prefectures of Heraklion and Lasithi. It is a large deserted stretch with small pebbles and blue waters.
A quiet seaside community, built at the mouth of the Kryos River (the Cold River) and the Gorge of Sarakina, its beach is extensive, with dark-coloured sands, small pebbles and crystal-clear waters. It is not affected by the meltemi and the strong winds that blow in this area.
A large, but not developed strand with coarse sand and small pebbles. With no infrastructure at all, its tranquility makes it a good choice for those wanting to relax and take it easy.
This seaside resort has a beautiful beach, just right for relaxing on. As with much of the land around Ierapetra, the locals are much involved with greenhouse cultivation and tourism.
The town of Ierapetra, with its Venetian fortress – the Kale, is known for its cultivation of greenhouse crops, as is the whole region. The southernmost town on the island, it also enjoys a warm climate that prolongs the bathing season. Four beaches are associated: West Beach, Kato/Lower Beach, that of Aghios Antonios and finally Peristeras.
This (Golden or the Isle of Donkeys) is some 5 km long by 1 wide: its highest point (Kefala) is but 31 m above sea-level.
A beach with crystal-clear, deep water, coarse sand and plenty of flat and smooth rocks on the sea bed: be wary of these last as they are often highly slippery underfoot!
Here is a large beautiful strand, with small pebbles and blue waters, with tamarisks aplenty. Behind it is the village with the same name: both south of the picturesque village of Aghios Ioannis. Also known correctly as the Long Beach, it runs for 5 km.
This and the similarly named village are in an area full of pines. It has small pebbles and deep clear water. The setting is impressive because of the large rocks and sheer cliffs that hem the beach in.
It is quiet and sheltered, with high cliffs, small pebbles and sand, as well as crystal-clear waters that drop away suddenly. Around it are many tall pines, tamarisks and olive trees.
By the small settlement and the beach are on every side numerous small coves with pebbles: one is larger, with the same sorts of pebbles and plenty of rocks in the crystal-clear water.
The village beach (Black Swimming) is a quiet one, with small grayish pebbles, a rocky seabed with blue, clear and deep waters. It is not developed, but has enough tamarisks around it to give shade to bathers, as well as several tavernas with fresh fish and rooms to rent.
The village of Koutsouras is very close to the seaside settlement of Makrigialos. West of the village is a most attractive strand: with dark-coloured pebbles and blue crystal-clear waters, and a number of tamarisk trees.
This is on the west side of the Makrigialos area. Its odd name comes from a migratory bird, known as the Stilt (kalamokanas in Greek): black and white plumage, a thin curved black beak and long long pink legs (the avocet is a member of this family). On their migration, they call in at the mouth of a stream in this area.
It is a particularly beautiful beach and quiet, lacking organization – large with very crystal-clear waters, and plentiful tamarisks growing about the place: its sand is white and there are quite a few flat expanses on the sea-bed, which need care as they can be very slippery.
Here is the village (Good Water – from some springs here) and the beach of the same name. In essence, it is one of three conjoined strands – Koustounari, Staousa and Anaskelou. A lovely, secluded beach with crystal-clear waters. There is no infrastructure. Despite this (or because of it …) it is worth a visit – beauty, peace and relaxation: an attractive cocktail!
The quiet beach in front of the monastery has pebbles and blue waters, and plenty of tamarisks. There is no organization here nor anywhere nearby. But is, thus, a perfect place for peace and quiet.
A quiet, secluded beach (the Reed) with pebbles and clear waters, it is surrounded by high cliffs. On the beach is a huge cave, most needful to the visitor, as there are no trees to lend one their shade.
The beaches of Koufonisi (all 36 of them!) are, however, quite wonderful – the blue-green crystal-clear water, the white rocks and cliffs and sand-dunes, and fine white beach-sand .. all lend it a ‘tropical’ feel.