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 day. The beach is not organized and you will find no amenities; make sure to bring all you need with you including food and drink for the hike back. Its isolation ensures it is a haven for unsupervised camping and nudism.
To get here from Sitia, follow the Sitia – Zakros road, passing through Palaikastro. After that, at the village of Karoumes, you can leave your vehicle by the small village church and continue on foot for about 1 kilometre. This will take you into the gorge, which takes approximately 1 hour to cross, and leads you to the beach. The path from the village to the beach is part of the E4 European long-distance trail, and this section is often considered the unofficial endpoint. You cannot reach the beach by car, but there is another hiking route option that starts at the village of Kato Zakros to the south. This is a harder and longer route that will take visitors through Pelekita Cave and a Minoan quarry. The gorge of Chochlakies is 1,5 km in total and its vertical cliffs provide a nesting place for various birds. It most likely will have no water during the summertime. North of Karoumes, we find more beaches like Mafromouri and Skinias. The latter is best visited with a 4×4 vehicle due to the road conditions. Both beaches are ideal for snorkelling and quiet, relaxing moments. While in the area, you don’t want to miss a visit to Vai, also known as Palm Forest Beach, the largest palm forest in Europe and a magnificent, protected ecosystem. Near Vai, you will find Moni Toplou, a historic monastery with its own organic winery.