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 by Lendas, Aspes and Agios Nikitas. Those preferring to stay close to “civilization” can swim below the legendary caves of Listis by Keratokambos 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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Kastri is located 72km southeast of Heraklion, in the sheltered bay of Keratokambos. It is the biggest of the two settlements of the region (the second is Keratokambos), which are now united. In recent years Kastri has faced a considerable development, mainly because the surrounding beaches are a magnet for visitors.
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”.
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.
Faflagos is located 89km southeast of Iraklion, near the village Arvi. It is a small seaside settlement at the exit of a small valley, which is crossed by the river Blavaris or Blavopotamos, which has no water in summer and starts from Kato Symi. In front of the village, stretches a very long shore with beautiful and tranquil beaches. Nearby, there are many greenhouses with crops of bananas and fresh vegetables.
Katarti is a tiny beach that is formed in the exit of a small gorge, 73km south of Heraklion city, at the base of Oxa Cape. This secluded beach is located amidst the wild and majestic landscape of Asterousia Mountains, southwest of the summit of Kofinas.
Dermatos is located 64km southeast of Heraklion and 4km east of Tsoutsouras. It is formed in a small valley on the western banks of the river Anapodaris. Traces of a Minoan settlement have been found in the area.
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.
Dyskos is located 75km southwest of Heraklion, just 1-2km west of Lendas. It is a small settlement, known also as Dytikos, which is separated from the village of Lendas by the famous Cape Lion. Lion is said that was one of the lions carrying the chariot of the goddess Rhea and was petrified here.