It is believed that all the picturesque beaches of Crete are located away from the major urban centers, in very remote areas only. This, for those who are well aware of Crete, is a myth because there are everywhere, in every corner of Crete, well hidden havens. One of these small paradises is Helidoni (Swallow) beach which is located a few meters south of the historical fort Paliokastro by Rogdia near Heraklion. To get there from Heraklion area, one has to drive no more than 5 minutes from Heraklion city boundaries.
Helidoni or Porto Helidoni beach starts immediately after the south side Paliokastro and is below the highway. A staircase with wooden steps leads down to the sea level. What is striking is the cleanliness of the beach and water clarity reminiscent of the best beaches of southern Crete. The beach has easterly direction and, therefore, it almost always calm, like all beaches from Ellinoperamata to Fraskia. It is a tiny beach with fine pebbles and sand in some places. The sea bottom is quite rocky being ideal for snorkelling. There is small canteen on the beach.
Helidoni takes its name after the many swallows that come each year in the region.
Text - Photos Christopher Chiladakis