Asterousia Range is the southernmost massif in Europe that stretches from Matala to Anapodaris River. The wild beauty and the remoteness of most places are the basic reasons to attract many visitors that believe that this is the place with the best beaches in Crete.
Between the monastery of Panagia Koudoumas and the Cape Martelos there are imposing vertical cliffs with beautiful striped formations, known as Aspes (don't confuse with the popular Aspes beach). At the base of the cliffs three small beaches with crystal blue waters and pebbles are formed, which are only accessible by boat, as there is no access by any trail.
Dermatos is located 64km southeast of Heraklion and 4km east of Tsoutsouras. It is formed in a small valley on the western banks of the river Anapodaris. Traces of a Minoan settlement have been found in the area.
Pourgonero beach is located at Krassas area, just 500m east of the port of Tsoutsouras, in the area where the houses of the settlement stop. It is actually the eastern part of Tsoutsouras bay, located in front of the hill Sarakinos. According to the legend, the eternal sarcophagus of King Minos, the mythical king of Crete, is burried below this place.
Tsoutsouras or Tsoutsouros (deriving from the Venetian word Zuzzuro) is located 63km south of Heraklion, at the exit of the imposing Gorge of Mindris. It is built on the site of the ancient city Inatos, which was the port of Priansos (located near Kasteliana village).
Maridaki is a seaside hamlet on the eastern side of Asterousia Mount, 65km south of Heraklion and in the west side of Tsoutsouras Bay. Despite the short distance from Tsoutsouras (2-3km), there is no direct road linking the two settlements (except a footpath). The only thing that separates Tsoutsouras and Maridaki is a very steep mountain with numerous caves and karstic formations.
The most common way to get there is to drive in the rugged dirt road that starts from the village Ahendrias and ends at the Monastery of St. Nikitas after 15km. The fascinating route runs along steep cliffs and wild sharp rocks, a characteristic landscape of the Asterousia Mountains.
The beach, which is in one of the most isolated areas of the island, has beautiful pebbles and is surrounded by tall vertical cliffs. The beach is mainly accessed by boat, but you could also trek from Agios Nikitas. The surrounding area is ideal for fishing. Moreover, if you come by boat, do not forget to walk in the gorge and admire the rugged landscape, till the dead end with falls that get dry in summer.
The majestic black beach of Aspes is located about 58km south of Heraklion, in one of the most remote and inaccessible areas of Asteroussia Mountains. It is situated 4km east of the hamlet of Treis Ekklisies.