Keratokambos is a small seaside resort situated 72km southeast of Heraklion, a few miles east of Tsoutsouras and Ano Viannos. Keratokambos, with the nearby seaside settlement of Kastri, have become a popular family destination during the last years. Indeed, in front of the village of Keratokambos a long sandy beach, several kilometers long, stretches to both directions.
The main beach of the village is located east of the local harbor and stretches to the east till river Keratokambitis. This part is quite organized, since it is adjacent to the village. There are big pebbles in places and it is a good choice for snorkeling. As you walk eastwards, the beach gets calmer and more secluded. The next part of the beach is called called Monobouka and is close to the settlement called Kapsali, with a few tourist facilities around. Monobouka beach has sand and shallow waters, ideal for children. There are many tamarisk trees offering shade.
A few words about the area of Keratokambos
Keratokambos (and Kastri) is the harbour of the residents of the mountainous village of Ano Viannos, located further north. In the 1950s the area hosted only warehouses for carob, citrus, oil, etc. The local harbor was used for transferring the products to the urban centers with cargo ships, as the road network was absent. Today, Kastri and Keratokambos consist one united village, which has enjoyed a strong tourism growth in the recent years. The village has a school, clinic and a remarkable gallery.
The name Keratokambos means Carob Fields, named after the locust trees that were grown here to produce carobs. There is a second version on the derivation of the name: Kerato means horn in Greek. Thus, the locals say that the name comes after the towering steep rock, called Kerato, that is located north of the village, in the area of Vigla, reminding of a huge horn. On the top of Vigla there are the ruins of a Venetian fortress, while on its base there is a large cave, where archaeological findings have been extracted. The cave Nychteridospilios has rich stalagmite decoration and there are many bats. It is believed that the horn was built on the ancient city Kerea. This city, according to a third version, gave its name to the Keratokambos.
The settlements of Keratokambos and Kastri are built in a valley, formed at the exit of several wild gorges. Keratokambitis river crosses the valley through the rugged gorge of Portela. In the region of Richtra you can see a beautiful waterfall with 10m height, which is worth visiting (in spring). Another impressive gorge of the area is that of Kavousi and this of “Piskopi Pidima” (i.e. Bishop’s Jump), which is an extension of Portela. Its name is taken after a myth according to which the Turks once chased a bishop, who reached with his horse the edge of the gorge. He wanted to avoid falling into the hands of the Turks and decided to jump from the cliff. However, the horse made a huge leap till the opposite side and they both survived. For this miracle, the Bishop built the church of St. George near the gorge.