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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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 an extinct species of snail). Besides the rich fossils, the morphology of the whole area with the white and stripped rocks scattered everywhere is amazing.
The area is famous for the cave located close to the village, where in 1823 a large number of locals moved in the cave to escape from the Turks, but they massacred many of them after 15 days. Today, Milatos is touristically developed and hosts an important fishing harbor. The surrounding area is full with large olive groves and the coast is full of small rocky coves. Among them there are several beaches where you can swim.
Ammos Beach is located 500m south of the center of Agios Nikolaos. It is a long beach which starts near the city's marina, at Nearchos Street. It runs near the stadium of the town and extends to the south, to the Municipal Beach. The part near the marina is a beautiful beach with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, water sports, restaurants, and hotels around it. It is located near the city center and its stores. The water is shallow, ideal for little kids and the sea is usually flat.
Ferma is located 10km east of Ierapetra and 45km southeast of Agios Nikolaos. It is a small seaside settlement that is built next to the steep shores, 4km south of the village of Agios Ioannis. The surrounding area is covered with dense pine woods and lush vegetation, being a green oasis inside the dry landscape of Eastern Crete.
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.
The first beach you come across, next to the tavern Gargadoros is the main beach of the area. It is pebbly and well organized, a really good choice for those staying in Agios Nikolaos and wanting to escape from the ordinary things. From the main beach, if you walk till the small pier on the north, you will find the second beach from the other side (of the pier).
500m west of settlement Xerokambos you will meet the first hotels in the area and the long beach of Mazida Ammos, the largest beach of Xerokambos. Mazida Ammos, falsely known as Amatos, is a beautiful un organized beach with white sand and turquoise swallow waters. It is well protected on the east by Cape Trachilos, on the edge of which there is a sealcave.
The place is known as Maheridia and is one of the favorite beaches of locals, which is quite unknown to everybody else. The beaches are not visible from the main road running next to them, thus you have to walk till you meet them. They are surrounded by vertical cliffs, however there are some primitive trails to the beach.