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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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.
Kamini is an area with 5 pebble beaches in a series close to the famous Minoan settlement Gournia by Pahia Ammos. The area is located north of the site and was the access point of Gournia people to the sea. Therefore we still meet Minoan buildings in the area with the most important almost on the sea level.
Starting from Elounda, if you follow the road to Plaka, which passes right next to the shore, you will soon meet several small beaches with pebbles and stones at settlements Mavrikiano and Agia Paraskevi. In some places the olive trees are planted on the beach because the salty water of the lagoon is always calm and does not destroy them. In some places you will find beach bars on platforms.
If you head 1km to the east of Myrtos you will meet the long beach of Sarikambos, that is more secluded, but the seabed becomes coarser. 2 more km on the east, you'll find a small bay next to the greenhouses of Nea Myrtos settlement. This is avoided for swimming due to the greenhouses that might pollute the water.
The first beaches of Elounda that you meet after Lenika, as you come from Agios Nikolaos, are the beaches in front of the famous hotels of Elounda at position Pigaidakia. Every hotel that respects itself here has its own harbor, where yachts can stop. Next to the piers there are small sandy beaches which offer all kinds of opulence and luxury services.
Agia Fotia is located 7km east of Sitia and 76km east of Agios Nikolaos, on the road to Vai. It takes its name after the church of Agia Fotini. In front of the village of the region stretches a long beach with rocks and sand that has attracted several hotels recently. The secluded beaches of Agia Fotia is prone to north winds and you’ll rarely find it peaceful.
Papadiokambos is located 12km west of Sitia and 59km east of Agios Nikolaos, west of Cape Trahilos and near the Monastery of Faneromeni (in Skopi area). It can be accessed via a good dirt road. In Papadiokambos you’ll meet a long beach with large stones and rocks. In some places a few bays with pebbles are formed, where you can swim.
A few yards south of Ammoudi beach, next to the coastal street of Akti Koundourou leading to Lake Voulismeni you will find a small artificial beach with sand. The beach of Akti Koundourou Street is formed between two concrete piers. It is well organized with umbrellas and water sports, while it hosts a diving school.