Treis Ekklisies beaches
Treis Ekklisies (i.e. three churches) is a secluded seaside village located 64km south of Heraklion, amid the wild and inhospitable landscape of Asterousia Mountains. The surrounding area, one of the most isolated in Crete, is difficult to access, but has some amazing beaches. To get to Treis Ekklisies you have to drive through a rough dirt road, about 10km long, from the village Paranymfi.
This road crosses the mountains of Asterousia and descends through the rugged, yet beautiful, scenery. In Paranymfi, you can visit the Byzantine Church of St. Paul with the old frescoes (14th century). Half a kilometer after Paranimfi, you can admire the stunning views of the Libyan Sea and Treis Ekklisies. In the middle of this dry place, you’ll also see the amazing waterfall of Ambas Gorge with 145m height!
The settlement of Treis Ekklisies is built in a cove formed at the exit of the gorge of Ambas. The walls of the gorge are home to the largest colony of vultures in Greece and Southern Europe, including the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), the rarest species of vulture in Europe.
The village took its name (Three Churches) after the three local Byzantine churches, dedicated to Transfiguration, St. Anthony and Annunciation. In front of the hamlet, there is a long sandy beach with crystal clear deep water. The beach is not organized, but there are some rooms for rent, a coffee shops and taverns nearby. If you head to the east (along the seaside dirt road) you will reach the small beach of Kolovrehtis, very popular to locals and campers.
Behind the big hill west of the dorp, there is a second stunning beach with fine sand, which is completely isolated and surrounded by the largest carob wood in Europe. The beach is called Pahia Ammos and is shaped at the exit of Agia Paraskevi Gorge, which also houses an unknown 105m high waterfall (only in winter). There is a short dirt track heading to Pahia Ammos from the village. Moreover, sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nest on the beach. West of Pahia Ammos, in position Ornios, there are several caves near the coast, with amazing vivid water colors. There are also some cottages with 2-3 small coves around. The place is surrounded by the locust trees. If you follow the dirt road heading to the west, you'll soon find the long bay of Glyky Kolimbos (i.e. Sweet Beach) at Platanias bay, named after the fresh water (sweet water in Greek means fresh water) that comes out of a local spring. The area is surrounded by imposing cliffs with huge caves where birds of prey nest. You cannot access the beach on foot, but you have to get a boat. The seabed is rocky and very ideal for fishing.
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