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 rocky seabed with blue, and crystal clear deep waters. It is not organized but has enough tamarisk trees around it to provide natural shade to bathers, as well as several tavernas with fresh fish and rooms to rent. The whole area is considered an alternative holiday destination and caters to those that wish to disconnect and avoid the crowds as much as possible. Popular with hippies in previous decades, and freedom campers, the southeastern coast of Crete island, is all about nature, and rugged beauty. Due to the various coves found in the area, it is also an excellent spot for fishing, snorkelling and of course, diving!
Even though soaking up the sun at the beach and feasting on Cretan delicacies is all you need, there are various hiking trails and other short excursions to choose from. To the east, you will find Kokkines Petaloudes Gorge (the Gorge of the Red Butterflies), also called Oreino; the gorge links the inland village of Oreino with the south coast and is one of the loveliest in Crete. The lush vegetation and the magnificent butterflies, which can be found mostly in the springtime complete the scenery. Next to the beach, we find the small chapel of Agios Panteleimon that has its feast day on the 27th of July. If you are feeling adventurous it is worth driving further east towards Moni Kapsa. The monastery of Kapsa is carved on the side of the mountain, right by the entrance of Pervolakia Gorge and is open to visitors. It is a magical and quiet place that once provided shelter to rebels during the Cretan resistance. The beach is the perfect spot to relax after the hike.