Pantanassa is located 12km west of Heraklion and takes its name after the monastery of Panagia Pantanassa, dedicated to Virgin Mary. The beach is next to the small port of Pantanassa. Before the port construction, Pantanassa was a fantastic beach, hidden by a small pine wood and with crystal clear waters. Now, the port has “cut” the beach in half and Pantanasa beach has lost its old charm. However, it remains quite remarkable and beautiful beach with pebbles and clear sea.
The beach is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, and there are still some pine trees around, hanging from the surrounding cliffs. Access is very easy, since there is a path from the port. If you get hungry, there are taverns in the port of Pantanassa and the surrounding area. You can combine your bath with a visit to the monastery of Pantanassa, located on the top of the piney hill above the beach. It was built in the middle of the last century, with a vision to serve as a charity monastery. However its capable founder, Nikolaos Xenos, died and never had the chance to fulfill his dreams. The monastery operates today as a nunnery.
Helidoni beach at Lefkadia
Lefkadia area is located west of Pantanassa beach. There are two adjacent secluded bays, ideal for relaxing moments, which are completely unknown to most residents of Heraklion. Lately a small beach bar started its operation here and a trail to the beach has been opened; Helidoni beach is sandy and pebbly in places, while the bottom is mainly rocky and ideal for snorkeling. The view to the west is magic, as you can see the ruins of the old castle Paliokastro, on which you can climb after parking in the nearby small pine grove.