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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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.
Here are some sandy bays away from prying eyes, while generally the rocky bottom is maybe the richest in the island, attracting many fishermen from all over Crete. It generally very windy and you will almost always see windsurfers. The west bay is called Tenda and is open to west winds and wavy, while the east is called Eligas and sea surface is usually flat.
The first beach you meet is called Kalami and is named after the reeds (kalami in greek) that are next to it. It is a nice pebbly beach, perfect for seclusion with a spring with fresh water on the beach! There are no tall trees on the beach, but there is a big cave offering natural shade to its visitors, all day round.
In the southeastern part of the magic island is formed Chiliaderfia bay with 4 beaches and 2-3 islets colored by the characteristic white color of the rocks of the area, which in ancient times gave the island its name Lefki (i.e. white). All beaches have shallow water, as clear as anywhere in Crete, and fine golden sand.
Saint Isidore is located at the northeasternmost tip of Crete, 32km east of Sitia and 99km east of Agios Nikolaos. It is situated at the northernmost point of Cape Sidero, near the Military Naval Station in Kyriamadi. The surrounding area is characterized by a unique landscape of wild beauty, which was shaped by the effect of salt and winds.
Gra Ligia is a seaside village located just 5km west of Ierapetra and 39km south of Agios Nikolaos. It is situated at the exit of a large fertile valley, which is full with greenhouses with early vegetables. Locals were the first to grow vegetables in greenhouses and this was later extended throughout the area of Ierapetra. There are so many greenhouses, that locals call Gra Ligia as “Silicon Valley of Greece”.
The beach has fine pebbles and calm clear waters, while around you can find a lot of shade under tamarisk trees. There are no umbrellas there, but hotels and restaurants are within walking distance. Kakia Skala is located 46km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 9km east of Ierapetra. It's a pretty beach, not developed at all, although it is adjacent to the main road connecting Ierapetra with Makrigialos.
Ammoudi is located 66km southeast of Agios Nikolaos and 29km east of Ierapetra, just next to the road connecting Makrigialos and Goudouras. It's main beach is also called Dragon's Cave, due to a large cave 500m north of the beach and the homonym tavern next to it. There are 2 more secluded coves west of Dragon's Cave beach, both accessed on foot or dirt track.