Beaches in Lassithi

Beaches in Lassithi

The region of Lassithi stretches from Malia on the northern coast to the far eastern coast of the island and Myrtos to the south. The capital of Lassithi is the charming coastal town of Agios Nikolaos with its picturesque harbour and small lake. Other major towns in the area are Sitia on the north side and Ierapetra to the south. This region of Crete has been steadily growing in popularity, and you can find plenty of modern and luxury resorts. Elounda and Plaka, close to Agios Nikolaos have also seen a rise in popularity after the success of the novel and Greek TV-series “The Island“, written by author Victoria Hislop.

Very close to Agios Nikolaos, the beaches of Havania, Almiros and Ammoudara provide beautiful crystalline bays but are some of the most popular and crowded options due to their location. Here you will find well-organized beaches, with nearby access to seaside tavernas, mini-markets, bars and other amenities.

On the far eastern side, the beach of Vai, one of the most photographed locations on the island, is an experience not to be missed. Also known as “Palm Forest Beach” and located 94 km from Agios Nikolaos, this is one of the most impressive beaches in all of the Mediterranean. It is the only indigenous natural palm forest in Greece, and the largest in Europe, sprawling over an area of 250 square kilometres and with more than 5000 palm trees of wild Cretan date palm. Expect it to get busy during the peak summer season and make sure you get here early, cause the entrance closes after sunset. Camping is not allowed but you can rent umbrellas and sunbeds if you wish.

On the east coast, you will also find Zakros, and Xerokampos which boast sandy strands of stunning natural attractiveness in an environment that has not been sullied by tourism. The opportunities do not end there: Makrigialos to the south has many small coves, each with their own character – some developed, some not.

You may also consider hopping on a ferry to Chrissi Beach (Golden Beach, aka Gaidoronisi or the Isle of Donkeys) from Ierapetra.

Makrigialos Beach – Kalamokanias – Katovigli – Lagoufas

Makrigialos Beach – Kalamokanias – Katovigli – Lagoufas

The bay of Makry Gialos is a popular tourist resort with two charming settlements of Makrigialos and Analipsi and plenty of swimming spots for visitors to enjoy. Makrigialos Beach is a lovely spot, with sand and shallow crystal-clear waters and a top choice for those visiting the area. The locals call it Hani or Long Beach. This is an organized beach, where in addition to the expected sunbeds and showers, you will have close access to hotel rooms, shops and…

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Lagkada Beach – Diaskari – Lagkada

Lagkada Beach – Diaskari – Lagkada

On the southern coast of Crete island, east of Ierapetra, we find a plethora of stunning beaches. One of the best but still relatively quiet spots is that of Makry Gialos and the nearby settlements of Analipsis and Lagkada. Here we find two stunning beaches named Diaskari and Lagkada that are worth visitors’ attention! Diaskari Beach Diaskari is a particularly beautiful and quiet beach. Most parts are not organized, but you will find a few sunbeds and umbrellas for hire…

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Kapsa Monastery Beach

Kapsa Monastery Beach

Kapsa Beach has taken its name from the nearby monastery. It is built high on a hill, overlooking the water below, very close to the entrance of the Gorge of Pervolakia. It is an impressive spot, fronting the Libyan Sea and the islet of Koufonisi to the east. A dependency of Moni Toplou found further north next to Vai, its main church was dedicated to Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St John the Baptist). Its date of foundation is not known –…

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Kalo Nero Beach

Kalo Nero Beach

The village of Kalo Nero, which translates to “Good Water” from the presence of underground springs, has given its name to the nearby beach. It is located on the southeastern region of Crete, an area known for its rugged and wild beauty and one of the least visited places on the island. In essence, Kalo Nero comprises three small bays that from west to east, are known as Koutsounari, Staousa and Anaskelou. All of the above, offer a secluded and…

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Xerokambos Beach

Xerokambos Beach

Xerokampos Beach This is a long, sandy beach with shallow, turquoise waters and a few small sand-dunes. The beach offers a peaceful and relaxing spot, yet the cave formations that surround the beach are also suitable for underwater exploration or a bit of spearfishing. The village of Xerokampos and the surrounding area provide a range of options when it comes to tavernas and rooms to rent. However, more shops can be found at Zakros as well. To get here from…

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Vatos Beach

Vatos Beach

The beach of Vatos is located on the southern coast of a particularly remote and secluded part of Crete island. On the borders of the two prefectures of Heraklion and Lassithi, south of the forest of Selakano and framed by the mountain range of Dikti to the north, the closest settlement to Vatos is the village of Myrtos to the east. If you were to drive west from the beach of Vatos on the coastal road, you would come across…

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Ierapetra Beach

Ierapetra Beach

The town of Ierapetra, with its stunning Venetian fortress – the Kale, is known for its cultivation of greenhouse crops, as is the whole region. The southernmost town on the island also enjoys a warm climate that prolongs the bathing season. There are four beaches around Ierapetra: West Beach, Kato/Lower Beach, Agios Antonios and finally Peristeras. West Beach This beach, not surprisingly, gets its name from its location on the west end of the seaside front of the town. It…

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Myrtos Beach

Myrtos Beach

The quiet seaside community of Myrtos is built at the mouth of the Kryos River (the Cold River) and the Gorge of Sarakina and is one of the most popular options on the southeastern coast of Crete in the prefecture of Lassithi. While it has recently started to develop its tourism industry, it retains a traditional and laid back aesthetic that is what attracts visitors to the area. The beach of Myrtos is extensive, with dark-coloured sands, small pebbles and…

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Chrissi Beach (Gaidouronisi)

Chrissi Beach (Gaidouronisi)

This Golden Beach, also called the Isle of Donkeys, is 5 km long and 1 wide; its highest point is Kefali and is only 31 m above sea-level. Chrissi is an uninhabited island, with beaches that have rightfully given it the name “Paradise“. From the moment you step foot on it, you feel as though you are on an exotic island. The beaches have white and golden sand, at parts coloured pink from crushed seashells that are scattered far and…

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Gra Lygia Beach

Gra Lygia Beach

The vast and stunning beach of Gra Lygia is located on the southern side of Crete island and looks out towards the South Cretan Sea. The beach has coarse sand, small darkish pebbles, crystal-clear water and is framed by tamarisk trees. It is well equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds and showers as well as opportunities for water-sports. It is also family friendly and easily accessible. Watching a sunset here comes heavily recommended; slowing down and embracing the local pace of life….

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Ammoudares & Kalamaki Beach

Ammoudares & Kalamaki Beach

Another two beautiful beaches found on the southern coast of Crete west of Ierapetra are Ammoudares and Kapelas. This is a long and vast stretch of coastline that opens up towards the Libyan Sea. On a good day, you may even be able to spot the island of Chrissi in the distance. If time allows, you can always hop on a ferry from Ierapetra and explore the turquoise colored beaches on offer. To reach the area from the north you…

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Mavros Kolymbos Beach

Mavros Kolymbos Beach

The beach of Mavros Kolimpos is located on the southern coast of Crete island, in the prefecture of Lassithi. Driving from Ierapetra, you will reach it after passing through the villages of Agia Fotia and Achlia that also feature beautiful beaches. The distance from Ierapetra is only 20 km, and 40 km from Sitia; the latter will take you through the eastern route and the area of Makry Gialos. It is a quiet beach, with small greyish pebbles and a…

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Galini & Achlia Beach

Galini & Achlia Beach

East of Ierapetra on the southern coast of Crete island, we find beaches of unparalleled beauty, wild and rugged, mostly secluded and ideal for those that want to avoid the crowds and unwind. Two of these beaches, in between the coastal villages of Agia Fotia and Koutsouras, are Galini and Achlia. The distance from Ierapetra is only 18 km and will take approximately 25 minutes. On the way there, you will also pass by the beach of Agia Fotia, which…

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Skinias Beach

Skinias Beach

Skinias beach is located on the eastern coast of Crete in one of the most remote and seldom visited parts of the island. In essence, the small bay forms two beaches, with crystal-clear waters that are surrounded by commanding cliffs. The southern side is pebbly, but the northern has coarse sand. Both are ideal swimming spots for those that prefer a peaceful and relaxing place to unwind. The area in between is framed by rocks, which makes for excellent underwater…

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Psili Ammos Beach

Psili Ammos Beach

Psili Ammos beach translates to “Fine Sand” and is located very close to the world-famous Palm Forest Beach or “Vai”. It is a small delightful beach with soft golden sand and crystal clear waters, offering a much more secluded experience. In previous decades, just like Vai, this spot was popular with naturists and freedom campers. Nowadays, the beach is still very much geared towards those that prefer to swim without their clothes on, while Vai has become a more cosmopolitan…

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Vai Beach

Vai Beach

Vai is one of the most well-known and unique beaches on Crete island, famous around the world for its pine forest and secluded location. Each year it attracts a huge number of visitors and was once the favorite hang-out spot of hippies and freedom campers before stricter regulations came into place. The palm forest of Vai, the largest on the island and all of Europe, hosts some five thousand specimens of the Theophrastus’s palm and covers about 70 acres. This…

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Maridati Beach

Maridati Beach

Maridati beach is a relatively unknown and quiet spot on the eastern coast of Crete island. This small and secluded beach is located south of Vai, and not far from the coastal settlement of Kouremenos – a popular windsurfing area. The beach has soft sand and small pebbles as well as crystal clear waters. Due to its location and secluded nature, it is not organized, however, the tamarisk trees that frame the beach will be able to provide some shade…

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Kouremenos Beach

Kouremenos Beach

Kouremenos beach is a quiet spot, located in the village of the same name on the northeastern coast of Crete island. It attracts a laid back crowd and offers a sandy coast and crystal clear waters to swim in. There are plenty of tamarisk trees that offer natural shade, and it stretches for more than 1.5 km, guaranteeing you will find a spot even during peak season. In some parts, it is organized with a few umbrellas and sunbeds. By…

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Karoumes Beach

Karoumes Beach

The beach of Karoumes is found at the exit of Chochlakies Gorge, on the eastern coast of Crete island. It is a lovely and calm spot, with sand, small stones and crystal clear waters. The beach is suitable for swimming and underwater exploration with various small coves found in the area. Limestone rock formations surround the beach on both sides. On the north side, you will find a few tamarisk trees that can provide a bit of shade during the…

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Sissi Beach

Sissi Beach

The coastal settlement of Sissi is located 26 km west of Agios Nikolaos and 41 km east of Heraklion on the northern coast of the island. It is a picturesque fishing village with many taverns and relatively little touristic development. The waterfront of the village is quite rocky, so the only option for swimming in the village is in the small harbour. You may also find it referred to as “Limani Beach“. It is a very narrow and scenic harbour,…

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Plaka Beach – Spinalonga

Plaka Beach – Spinalonga

Opposite the famous island of Spinalonga lies Plaka, a small fishing village which is 16 km from Agios Nikolaos and approximately 5 km from Elounda. In front of the village, there is a small beach sheltered from the winds, with white pebbles, clear waters and several tamarisk trees for shade – it is ideal for swimming and fishing. Plaka is a picturesque spot, with the cobblestoned alleys and excellent tavernas, where you can sample Cretan cuisine, as well as plenty…

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Mochlos Beach

Mochlos Beach

The beach of Mochlos is found approximately 38 km from Agios Nikolaos and 35 from Sitia just off the main road near the village of Agios Andreas. It is a traditional fishing village by the sea, on the side of a small cove and with a very small rocky beach. While in the area, you will also want to visit the rugged island of Agios Nikolaos that is visible from the village, right opposite the beach, and is a mere…

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Kolokitha beach

Kolokitha beach

Kolokitha beach is found on the eastern side of the Spinalonga peninsula, very close to the popular area of Elounda, and only 12 km north of Agios Nikolaos. This beautiful beach, whose name translates to “pumpkin”, is relatively small, with white sand, turquoise waters and a few tamarisk trees providing the necessary shade. During the summer, the boats that ply to and fro Spinalonga island make a quick stop here for people to swim. Due to this, the beach can…

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Beaches in Istron

Beaches in Istron

The settlement of Istron is located at a distance of 12 km south of Agios Nikolaos. You will discover this community as you pass along the main national road east from Agios Nikolaos towards Ierapetra or Sitia. Here three beautiful beaches hide in three sheltered bays, unknown to most visitors. The first is to the northwest side of the village is Karovostasi. It is the quietest and most secluded, with sand and pebbles and very clear crystalline waters. Reasonably organized,…

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Havania Beach

Havania Beach

Very close to Agios Nikolaos, on the road to Elounda, we find the charming bay that is known as Chavania beach. This is a fully organized municipal beach, with plenty of parking spaces, a canteen for food and refreshing beverages and a lifeguard station. It is a popular area for families with children and relaxing holidays, close enough to the city with all the amenities you will require to make your stay comfortable. Agios Nikolaos is also easy to reach…

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Almiros Beach

Almiros Beach

Almiros Beach is located only a few minutes from the center of Agios Nikolaos (2 km) and 12 km from Elounda. It is a gorgeous beach, highly regarded by all visitors and one of the best options in the area, especially for visitors staying in Agios Nikolaos that don’t wish to travel far. With Mount Thrypti as the backdrop, this sandy beach lies at the mouth of the Almyros river. The river flows through high reed-beds forming a wetland where…

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Agia Fotia Beach

Agia Fotia Beach

On the northern coast of the island of Crete, after leaving Sitia following the east road towards Vai and Zakros, after approximately 7 km you will come across the beach of Agia Fotia. Here we also find a settlement of the same name. It is small, not organized, and relatively deserted and it has taken its name after the small church of Agia Fotini. While not one of the popular swimming spots in the area, it is sandy and ideal…

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