The eastern part of the island 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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Skinias is a remote area located 94km east of Agios Nikolaos and 20km east of Sitia, in one of the most remote places on Crete. The wild area hosts three nice small coves, ideal for isolation at the exit of Katsara gorge. There are no amenities and trees around, thus you should have water and umbrella with you.
Vatos is located 18km west of Ierapetra and 3km east of Myrtos. It is a small settlement that can accessed through the asphalted road from Mirtos. The locals work with banana and vegetable crops in the greenhouses of the area. The village is situated at the exit of a fertile valley, which begins northern, at village Gdohia.
Lagada is located 29km east of Ierapetra and 62km southeast of Agios Nikolaos, near Makrigialos (6km). It is situated in a large fertile valley with many olive groves, which is surrounded by the tall mountains of Makrigialos. During the last years, some hotels and rooms to let have been built, but the beach still retains its remoteness.
Ammoudares is located 8km west of Ierapetra and 45km south of Agios Nikolaos. It close to the settlement of Nea Anatoli and Stomio, which all share actually the same beachfront. Ammoudares beachfront consists of sequential long beaches with coarse gray sand. All beaches are unorganized and secluded. They are not popular, mainly because the area is surrounded by thousands of greenhouses. The locals avoid swimming in the area due to pesticides and drugs, but still the water is clean.
Mavros Kolimbos or Agios Panteleimon is located 51km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 16km east of Ierapetra. It is a small settlement near the shore, that has faced a mild development during the last decades. There are some rooms to rent around and some small taverns.
1km east of settlement Istron we meet a well hidden beach in a steep bay. The beach is called Pilos, but is widely known as Istron Bay, after the homonym hotel that is built on the steep slopes of the bay. While it seems as private, there is a path leading to the beach starting from the west of the hotel.
The last beach north of Agios Nikolaos, on the way to Elounda, is the beach of Katsikia (i.e. goats). The area is named after the many goat pens in the past. Similarly, Agios Nikolaos town was called Mantraki that means goat pen. Katsikia host a nice sandy beach with stones in a places, well hidden in front of the hotel Candia Park. To get there you should walk either across the hotel or around it.
It is a small and secluded pebbly beach within a rocky bay. It is totally unorganized without any facilities. There is a nice cave in the sea, however the sea streams gather a lot of rubbish at the wider area. The next beach you'll meet is the beach with the abandoned camping site of Gournia. It is very secluded, but rubbish is very often due to the currents.