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. Fishing boats come in and out of the harbour and on a clear day you might even be able to spot the island of Chrissi in the distance.
The area around Gra Lygia has brought to light significant historical artefacts that date back 4000 years. History lovers should check out the Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra (The museum is closed for renovation and expected to reopen in 2021). In recent times, Gra Lygia has witnessed developments in the tourism industry as more accommodation options and amenities attract an international crowd of tourists. Authentic, tranquil and with a sprawling beachfront, Gra Lygia is a great summer getaway spot for travellers looking to relax and recharge.
Things to do in the area
As with much of the land around Ierapetra, the locals are much involved with greenhouse cultivation and tourism. In the village, there are plenty of options for rooms to rent, tavernas and some bars. Expect a laid back and local feel and excellent seafood and fresh fish. There is also an annual tomato fight festival that takes place in Gra Lygia every June.
From nearby Ierapetra, there are daily cruises to the island of Chrissi (or Gaidouronisi, which translates to “donkey island”). This remote paradise is a protected ecosystem, with stunning sandy beaches and azure waters that captivates everyone that steps foot on it.
The south side of Crete island is in general known for its remote and authentic character and at such a short distance away from the main hubs, there is no excuse not to venture further down.
The closest well-known city is Ierapetra, at a distance of less than 5km going east. From the northern part of the island, it is a 35 km drive from Agios Nikolaos or a 45 km drive from Elounda. There are also bus routes from the local KTEL service that travel between Agios Nikolaos and Gra Lygia or Ierapetra. The population is less than 2000 people during the winter months.