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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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”.
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".
Shortly after the suburb Peristeras of Ierapetra starts the area of Katharades. This is a series of small beaches just before the famous shores of the village Koutsounari. This is a rugged place with strong winds, ranked among the 2-3 places with strongest wind blasts on Crete.
The bay of Chomatistra is located 24km north of Agios Nikolaos and 9km north of Plaka, near the village Vrouchas and the Cape of Agios Ioannis - Aforesmenos. The wild landscape of the area is characterized by bare mountains, steep cliffs and strong winds.
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.
Agios Antonios (Saint Anthony) is located 30km northwest of Agios Nikolaos, in the well hidden and unexplored northern shores of Mirabello area, 3km north of the village Selles. The area has several small beaches where you can go by driving north from the village Selles mainly in a passable dirt road. In the region you will not find anything else, but some cottages and farms.
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.