Agios Ioannis (St. John) is a small coastal village located 73km south of Heraklion, south of the village Kapetaniana. Kapetaniana is very close to the highest peak of Asterousia Mountains, Kofinas Peak. In Kapetaniana, you can visit the Byzantine Church of the Panagia and the Church of the Holy Cross, or climb in the local climbing track.
From Kapetaniana you can get the dirt road, 8km long, which starts at an altitude of 750m and ends in Agios Ioannis settlement. The trip is adventurous, with incredible views to the vast South Cretan Sea and crosses the rugged landscape of Asterousia. After a lot of car “trembling” and dust, you reach the settlement, where the residents, mainly coming from Kapetaniana, spend their summers. Unfortunately, illegal building is a dissonance in this wonderful landscape of southern Crete. Agios Ioannis is named after the old cavernousl monastery of Saint John with the impressive frescoes.
Agios Ioannis is built on the base and along the small peninsula of Ponda. In front of the village, west of Ponda, there is the tranquil beach of Agios Ioannis, with small pebbles and turquoise waters. The rocky seabed makes it ideal for fishing. It is not organized, but still you wilI find some people from the village. There are a few taverns, a mini market and some rooms in the area. Moreover, camping at this peaceful place is a very good option.
If you are looking for more seclusion you should visit the beach of Eligia, which is formed east of the peninsula. It is a beautiful beach with fine pebbles, which a few people. Elygia is shaped at the exit of the Volahas gorge, which takes its name after the Cretan word volakas (rock). Next to the beach, there is a small cave that is said to have housed the treasure of a princess after her death, thus it is named Princess cave. Locals however call it Gourounospilios (i.e. Pig Cave), after the pigs that were stalled here. Lastly, on the beach there is an amazing small well, known as Kakopigado. A stair leads to its bottom where you can drink fresh water all year round. If you are looking for even more isolation, you can head east to Agios Antonios.