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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Lagoufa is located right after the east end of Makrigialos main beach, around 59km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 24km east of Ierapetra. It consists of two adjacent protected coves, which are formed near the big hotels of Makrigialos.
Vlychadia is located 31km north of Agios Nikolaos, on the north shores of the area of Mirabello. It is a small seaside settlement, where you can get after driving from Neapolis, through the villages Skinias and Agios Georgios. Around the dorp there are several small bays with secluded beaches, which are mainly rocky and pebbly.
Votsalaki (or Botzalaki) is located 71km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 36km east of Ierapetra, on the west end of Goudouras, at the position of Aspra Chomata (White Soil). It is situated amid the arid and rugged landscape of East Crete, close to the exit of the wild Gorge Asprolithos.
In front of the cove lies a beautiful beach with coarse sand and vivid blue water. The beach is slightly developed with some umbrellas, water sports and some rooms, mini markets and taverns closeby. There are many tamarisk trees around offering shade to the visitors and the sea is almost always flat. The area is ideal for peaceful holidays and for families.
In front of the big tamarisk trees of the square Kitroplatia there is a small beach with sand and pebbles in places. Here you will find umbrellas and showers. Next to it there are many options for accommodation, food and drink. It is a perfect choice for children and anyone looking for a beautiful and clean beach, close to all amenities of a city.
Istro(n) is located 12km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, very close to Kalo Chorio. It is a quiet village, situated in a lush valley full with olive groves and springs, which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays.
The sandy beach is formed in a small bay in front of the hotel Hellenic Palace. Opposite the bay there is an islet where you can go swimming, but beware for the strong currents. The beach is well organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, and there are several tamarisk trees nearby. Like most beaches in northern Crete, Santa Barbara is vulnerable to winds.
Maridati is beautiful unknown pebbly beach at a remote green valley in the area of Palekastro (6km from Palekastro). This is located 90km east of Agios Nikolaos, 21km east of Sitia and 5km north of the famous Kouremenos beach.