The eastern part of Crete hides some of the nicest surprises. The exotic beaches of the islands Chrissi and Lefki can be explored by taking a sea trip on excursion boats from Ierapetra and Makrigialos. The protected palm forest at Vai and Itanos strongly reminds of an African landscape, while the secluded beaches of Karoumes and Xerokambos are a must-see for nature lovers. The dry rocky landscape changes dramatically a few miles to the west, on the serene strands formed below the slopes of Thripti range. The capital of Lassithi, Agios Nikolaos, hosts the lovely beaches of Gargadoros, Istron and Ammoudara.
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In Xerokampos the landscape is arid and truly eerie, characterized by bare rocks and steep mountains. The vegetation is limited to bushes and there are some places with a few olive groves. A small tourist destination has started developing during the last years, especially after the roads were paved with asphalt.
Galini is located 47km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 13km east of Ierapetra, by the beach of Achlia, located 500m on the east. Galini is a small village, slightly developed, which is built in a lush landscape with pine trees. The coast around the village is full of hidden coves with pebbly beaches, where access is tricky, since only some well-hidden paths lead there.
Chiona means carob storehouse in the Cretan dialect and is taken after the storehouses that were usually built next to the shore in order to transfer carobs with ships. Indeed the area was known for trading carobs. Here you can have a perfect day, especially if you combine your visit in Chiona with eating at the famous local fish taverns of Batis and Amanakis.
In front of the touristic settlement, there is a nice sandy beach with turquoise waters. The sea surface is mainly flat, because the beach has easterly orientation. while winds in Crete come mainly from west. The beach is organised with umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports.
The area of Asprougas could easily be described as an open-air geological museum, full of fossils (one slope of the area is fully covered with fossils from a extinct species of snail). Besides the rich fossils, the morphology of the whole area with the white and stripped rocks scattered everywhere is amazing.
Gorge Katsounaki is located in the dry Eastern Crete, east of Xirokambos settlement. The river passing through the gorge leads to the beach of Xerokampos River, next to the beautiful sand beach of Alona. Hiking in the canyon is easy and the landscape with tall walls is very wild. You can walk upside down from Alona.
The beach is the longest in the area with a length exceeding 1.5km, bounded on the north by the Cape Tenta and on the south by the Cape Plaka. It has fine brown sand, shallow turquoise waters and several tamarisk trees around. It slightly organized in some areas with umbrellas, showers and beach bars.
To get there you should follow the dirt road that crosses the green meadows west of Kavoussi, known as Lakos Ambelion position, till the entrance to the gorge. From here begins a short path, not particularly difficult, leading after 10 minutes on the beach of Agriomandra. Just before you reach the beach you will see several small caves in the rocks.