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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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.
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.
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.
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.
After leaving the sheltered beach of Amoudi behind you and taking the road leading to Elounda, you will soon meet one bay 1km north of the center of Agios Nikolaos, next to Hotel Minos Palace. It is a small pebbly and sandy cove, called Katholiko shaped in a very well protected narrow bay, which is mainly used as a harbor for boats (and thus is not organized).
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.
500m east to Xerokambos you will find one of the weirdest landscapes on Crete. Here you will see a large dry lake next to the sea. You may not get very excited on summer, but if you come here in spring or in winter, you will understand why this is so important. In the winter Alatsolimni (Salt Lake), as it is called, is flooded with water, forming a small lagoon.