Kolokytha is a small island just opposite the Peninsula of Spinalonga, 12km north of Agios Nikolaos and close to Elounda. Opposite the island, there is the fantastic beach of Agios Loukas, mostly known as Kolokytha. To access the beach you should first follow a scenic route: From the town of Elounda, follow the road leading to the east, along the shore. You will pass the old salt pans of Elounda on your right hand. The road at this point runs along a narrow strip of land and heads to the Peninsula of Spinalonga (some call the Spinalonga Peninsula falsely Kolokytha). On the route, you will meet the small canal built by the French army in 1897 to connect the lagoon of Elounda to Mirabelo Bay. There are a few windmills around, a picturesque bridge, and boats in the canal, creating a unique landscape. Then the road turns to a dirt track and after 200-300m you have to turn right. Drive on this track and cross the peninsula of Spinalonga vertically, having stunning views of its rocky shores and abandoned farms.
After 3-4 minutes, the road leads to the church of Saint Luke, where you should park. From there you can see the small island of Kolokytha, where thousands of gulls nest. Also, you can discern in the north, the Byzantine chapel of Saint Fokas, which was built in honor of the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus Phocas for liberating Crete from the Arabs in 961 AD.
From the chapel, you cannot see the beach, although being very close. After following one of the 2-3 foot downhill trails, you will shortly see one of the loveliest beaches in Crete. It is a secluded cove with white sand and crystal clear calm waters, surrounded by old olive groves and wheat crops. Unfortunately, it has become famous and attracts a lot of people. Especially if you come in August or when the excursion boats are here, you will probably get frustrated because the beach is very small. However, a visit early in the morning or late afternoon will convince you that the beach is truly unique.
Very close to the beach Kolokitha beach, on the north, we meet a lovely beach next to the ruins of the early Christian basilica of Kolokytha (5-6th century) that came to light in 1971 by the archaeologist Manolis Borboudakis. We see scattered pieces of marble capitals, the pulpit and the gates, and the mosaic floors that have been completely destroyed by the sea. On the base of the pulpit, there is a sign that says “ΥΠΕΡ ΕΥΧΗC ΘΩΜΑ ΔΙΑΚΟ(ΝΟΥ) CΥΝ ΤΩ ΟΙΚΩ ΑΥΤΟΥ ΑΝΕΝΕΩCΕΝ +” (God bless priest Thomas for renovating this House). Beside the church, there is a vaulted tank, partially collapsed. The scattered broken pieces and the status of the basilica reveal that it was violently destroyed after a raid by pirates or occupiers. According to local oral tradition, the church was dedicated to St. Catherine or St. Helena, without having been confirmed till now.
If you want to stay isolated, you can walk southwards (beyond the right edge of the beach), where you will find two secluded bays with sand, rocks, and several tamarisk trees. They cannot in any case reach the beauty of Kolokytha, but it is the right choice for nudists and those wanting to avoid crowded places, even during the tourist months. The area is called Vagi and is named after the Greek word vagia, which is the Cretan date palm. Next to the beach, you can still see the remains of a small query of limestone.
The wider area is full of abandoned farmlands and you will see an old farmhouse in close proximity to the beaches.