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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Kapsas Monastery is located 37km southwest of Sitia and 32km east of Ierapetra, between Makrigialos and Goudouras. It is a very old monastery built on the cliffs near the exit of the arid Pervolakia Gorge. To get here you can follow the paved road that links Makrigialos to Goudouras, but there are also (rare) bus services from Ierapetra.
To reach the beach you can walk into the small canyon, until you meet the sea. From Finokalias follow the short path that leads northwards, until you see the bed of the gorge. While walking along this, you will cross one beautiful and wild landscape with bare rocks, low vegetation and numerous spices and herbs.
The longest beach at Koufonissi lies at the southeast part of the islet, overlooking Africa! Amazing clean water, rocky seabed ideal for snorkeling and smooth sand ideal for playing beach tennis. The only problem is the lack of shade.
The beach is mainly rocky and with sand in parts, and a smaller nicer beach is formed north of the main beach. In recent years a large hotel unit in the region has made great interventions to the beach and has unfortunately altered completely the rocky character of the coast. A pier has been built to keep sand and to cover the rocks.
Gela (or Tigania) is located at a rocky and pebbly coast of north Crete, quite protected by westerly winds. It is located around 58km east of Agios Nikolaos and 26km west of Sitia, close to Mesa Mouliana village.
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).
Psalidia means scissors in Greek and this name is taken after the shape of the bay. The surrounding area is very dry and is cover by low sand dunes and shrubs, but in September it turns to a paradise by thousands of white sand lilies. Moreover, if you walk to Lagada, you’ll meet many amazing rocks that are ideal for shooting photos.
The first beach of Xerokambos (on the west) is the harbor of Amatos. A natural harbor with calm waters is formed there with several boats. The remote beach is pebbly and is ideal for fishing. There are 2-3 tamarisk trees and a ramp for launching boats. The road leading to the harbor from the settlement of Xerokambos is an accessible dirt road. From here starts the path to the beach of Agia Irini.