Driving on dusty dirt roads across rocky pastures and hiking in the canyons usually end up in a refreshing swim at a splendid secluded beach. The hues of the sea play their color game with the stones and the sun. Some of the most popular beaches are Agiofarago, while there are still impressive beaches at Vathy, Trafoulas near Lendas, Aspes and Agios Nikitas. Those preferring to stay close to “civilization” can swim below the legendary caves of Listis by Kastri and the dunes of Komos by Matala. Οn the north coast, in the coves of Sarandaris at Hersonisos, Potamos by Malia, as well as on Dia island one comes across heavenly beaches, where the water is azure blue.
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Pantanassa is located 12km west of Heraklion and takes its name after the homonym monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary. The beach is next to the port of Pantanassa, which was built a few years ago. Before the port, Pantanassa was a fantastic beach, hidden by a small pine forest and with crystal clear waters. Now, the port has “cut” the beach in half and Pantanasa has lost its old charm.
Linoperamata (or Ellinoperamata) is a long sandy beach, that is located 8km west of Heraklion, west of Almiros river. This is actually the west part of the 7km long beach starting at Linoperamata and ending at Pancretan Stadium, 1km west of Heraklion.
The beach, which is in one of the most isolated areas of the island, has beautiful pebbles and is surrounded by tall vertical cliffs. The beach is mainly accessed by boat, but you could also trek from Agios Nikitas. The surrounding area is ideal for fishing. Moreover, if you come by boat, do not forget to walk in the gorge and admire the rugged landscape, till the dead end with falls that get dry in summer.
Voidomatis or Vouidomatos (i.e. ox’s eye) is located 62km south of Heraklion and 2.5km east of the hamlet Treis Ekklisies. The area is situated on the southern slopes of Asterousia Mounts. The impressive gorge of Mesosfini with towering walls and wild cliffs, a very common landscape for Asterousia, stops in Voidomatis.
The beach of Lassea in front of the village Chrysostomos is very beautiful, with coarse sand and well protected from the west winds. It is unorganised, but still it's close to the settlement. On the west end of the beach there is a "line" of rocks, that heads towards the small islet of Trafos. This is the old dock of the ancient city Lassea.
East of the village Platia Peramata you will firstly meet the longest beach of Platia Peramata, called Psili Ammos, which is totally isolated and very beautiful. The beach is not very suitable for camping, as there is no shade from trees. However, at the eastern end there are large white rocks, called Asproharaki, which offer shade to their lucky “occupiers”.
The bay of Fraskia of Panagia (i.e. Virgin Mary) is located 24km northwest of Heraklion, on the western side of the Gulf of Heraklion. It is located at the exit of a small valley next to the current private settlement of Theseus. The name Fraskia is taken after the Cretan word fraski, that was a type of jar that was used by Cretans as beehive. Indeed, the area is full of thyme, herbs and shrubs, which are ideal for producing honey.
At the exit of Aposelemis, a beautiful sandy beach with shallow cool waters is formed. Although it is very close to big hotels and tourist areas, the beach is not very well organized, compared to the rest beaches of the area. There are a few umbrellas and sunbeds on the beach.