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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Next to the port of Agios Nikolaos you’ll find the tiny pebble beach of Akti Themistokleous street, next to the sculpture of Nikos Koundouros named "The Rape of Europe".
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.
Along the peninsula Kavo Sidero (starting from Analoukas), there are several small secluded beaches. One of them is Mavros Kavos (or Hohlakia) which is accessed by dirt road. It is generally wavy and you will almost be alone.
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.
2km north of Agios Nikolaos you will meet the historic Hotel Mirabello. In front of the hotel there are the two bays of Mirabello with two beautiful sandy beaches. The first beach is protected by docks and a small marina. Both of them are very well-organized, with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers and bar. They are separated by a short artificial peninsula with tamarisk trees.
There are several small and rocky bays in the area of Anogia at province Mirabelo. This area is also accessible by car though a wild landscape. One of these beaches is Vlychada Tzavlidon, which has large pebbles. There are impressive layers of conglomerate rocks on the walls of the beach, while on the west end there is a small arch at the base of which there is little spring with fresh water.
Richtis is located around 20km west of Sitia and 45 east of Agios Nikolaos, in the exit of the homonym Gorge of Richtis that starts from the village Exo Mouliana. In order to reach the beach you can follow the paved road starting from Exo Mouliana. Alternatively, you can trek in the lush gorge.
Kamarelles beach, opposite the small islet of Marmaro and next to the ancient Roman Theatre, is an amazing sandy beach. It is very interesting to watch ancient pillars while snorkeling! On the south end of the beach, we meet two impressive natural arches, called Kamarelles.