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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Stena is located 75km southwest of Heraklion, just 500m west of Kali Limenes harbor. It is situated in a secluded bay, which is hidden beyond the hill with the church and the cave of St. Paul. According to the legend, the Apostle lived inside this cave for 2 years. Stena can be accessed via a downhill dirt road, 400m long, starting in Kali Limenes. The route, of course, can be easily walked.
Behind the big hill west of the settlement Tris Ekklisies, 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).
West of Platia Peramata village, there is another smaller settlement called Krigioi. In front of Krigi, there is a small cove with fine pebble and crystal clear water. Krigi beach is ideal for seclusion, snorkeling and fishing. West of Krigi, you'll reach another pebbly remote beach. Some more meters on the west you'll find the three consecutive beaches of Kokkines Plakes (i.e. Red Rocks), named after the reddish rocks around and accessed mainly through sea.
The very quiet beach of East Tsigounas, mostly known as Petrakis, is located 1km east of Lendas and 76km south of Heraklion. it is located on the foots of the steep and inhospitable slopes of Asterousia Mountains.
Helidoni or Porto Helidoni beach starts immediately after the south side Paliokastro and is under new highway. A staircase with wooden steps leads down to the sea level. What is striking is the cleanliness of the beach and water clarity reminiscent of the best beaches of southern Crete. The beach has easterly direction and, therefore, it almost always calm, like all beaches from Ellinoperamata to Theseus. It is a tiny beach with fine pebbles and sand in some places.
The small pebble beach Vourlidia is formed at the exit of Flomias gorge, at the west part of Salamias bay and at the base of Oxa cape. This incredible beach can be accessed after strenuous hiking from Agios Ioannis (east) or Tripiti beach (west). The place above the beach can be approached through very bad dirt track from Koumasa or Kapetaniana.
Leprias or Lepries is a small pebbly beach located at Kalokambos area, about 73km south of Heraklion city, amidst the wild and majestic landscape of Asterousia Range, southwest of the summit of Kofinas. The beach is formed in front of a steep dirt slope, which crumbles and collapses like the leper's skin, therefore it is called Leprias, after the Greek word for leper.
Vourdolakos or Chlia is a remote beautiful beach with coarse gray sand formed behind the rock of Psaroharako and stretching west to Sidonia. Actually, Vourdolakos consists of several consecutive bays, separated by short rocky parts, where one could snorkel.