The monastery of Koudoumas is located 74km south of Heraklion, on the western side of Cape Martelos and south of Kofinas Peak (the highest peak of Asterousia Mountains). The whole area is full of cavities where hermits used to live. To reach the monastery, you have to drive in a passable dirt road of 20km, starting from the village Sternes, which descends from an altitude of 1000m to the sea level. The views during the descent are shocking and could cause vertigo! The route passes between pine and cypress trees, many of which are bent by the wind.
In front of the monastery, there is a wonderful beach with fine pebbles and crystal clear cool waters. It is ideal for swimming and quiet moments. If you are a fan of nudism, please note that it is not allowed near monasteries. Except from the monastery, there is absolutely no infrastructure within several kilometers, so make sure you have everything essential with you. Camping on the beach is permitted, provided that your presence is discreet and will not offend the monks. On the east side of the beach, there are several caves where you can stay overnight and find shade during the day.