Agriomandra is located 24km east of Agios Nikolaos and 3km west of Kavousi village and Tholos beach. It is a genarally unknown beach, formed at the exit of the short gorge of Agriomandra. Crossing the canyon on foot is also the only way of access. To get there you should follow the dirt road that crosses the green meadows west of Kavoussi, known as Lakos Ambelion, till the entrance to the gorge. From here begins a short path, not particularly difficult, leading after 10 minutes on the beach of Agriomandra. Just before you reach the beach you will see several small caves in the rocks. One of them is built with stone and is used as a church. It was built in the Byzantine period by a hermit and was dedicated to St. John the Theologian. Walking a few more steps, you will find the beautiful pebbly beach with crystal clear green waters. It is very well protected in the hug of the gorge walls.
The beach is secluded, mainly because of difficult access. It is ideal for isolation, nudism and snorkeling. There are also some large tamarisk trees, ideal for finding shade. Agriomandra was originally used as a port by the Venetians. Venetian building ruins are still visible around. Until 1920, the sheltered harbor was used for transporting animals and other cargo to Agios Nikolaos, due to the absence of roads in the area. You will see remnants from the old tax office and one well, used for pumping water.
Agriomandra name is derived from agrios (wild, savage) and mandra (a pen for animals). The word mandra is sometimes used in Crete for unfenced locations where animals are gathered together to be loaded on board ships. The beach at Agriomandra has rock outcrops on both sides, and animals could be herded together here easily. An alternative name, Agiomandra (agios = saint) is linked to the cavernous church of St. John in the ravine.
The beaches of Spathi Homata and Sykies
If you ever come at the Agriomandra beach, it is definitely worth walking northwards along the steep shoreline to Tholos. After 400m you’ll cross the deserted beach of Sykies, named after fig trees (sykies) and will soon get stunned by the eerie landscape of vertical cliffs. The cliffs reach their maximum height (250m) at the tip of an imposing cape that locals call the Spathi (Sword) of Homatas (Homatas is the name of the area). Indeed, at the base of Spathi a stony beach with clear blue waters is formed, accessed only on boat. Spathi Cape can also be accessed from Tholos, as it is located close to Theriospilios Cave and Chryssokamino ancient site.