12 Hour trips in Lasithi

Crete, 260 km from east to west and just 12 to under 40 km north to south. It is Greece’s largest island, but relatively easy to navigate, and the drives are just beautiful.

The Secret Beaches of Eastern Crete

This region, being much less traveled than the western side of Crete, has some unusually unspoiled and tranquil beaches. Xerokampos – south of Kato Zakros – is one of the most remote sections of Crete, and is a great place to start exploring some beautiful wild beaches. You might start out with Argylos beach – the name means “clay” because the cliffs of the beach are made of natural clay. You break off a piece, soften it in the sea, cover your body, and baked a little under the Cretan sun before rubbing it off in the sea for a magnificent natural spa treatment and superb swim in one.

Ano Zakros

Get a true taste of Crete at charming Ano (“upper”) Zakros, a quiet village with a traditional “Kafeneio” where locals exchange the news of the day over a coffee. For a delicious taste of village life, visit the Ladies’ Cooperative, which safeguards culinary heritage and supplies weddings and baptisms with traditional “tsirotigana” and other labor-intensive delights.

Kato Zakros

Kato (“lower”) Zarkos is truly a magical place, charged with positive energy. A site of natural significance and a place of tremendous historic significance meet in this remote, quiet gorge at eastern Crete’s edge. The gorge – belonging to the Sitia Geopark – is part of the European E4 trail. It’s also the Valley of the Dead. It’s an alarming name, but it’s also a beautiful story. One of Crete’s Minoan Palace was here- the Palace of Zakros, which was excavated in the 1960’s. No cemetery was found. Then the archaeologist Platonas discovered that the Minoans of Zakros had laid their dead to rest in the caves high on the walls of the gorge, a place of honor and beauty.

Ierapetra

One of the main towns on the southern coast of Lasithi on the Libyan Sea, this is the market basket of Greece, with a temperate climate, rich soil, and tremendous greenhouses supplying much of the country’s produce. Sights of this lovely town include an Ottoman Mosque and school, and a Venetian fortress. There are wonderful beaches near Ierapetra. But the best beaches of all are a short boat ride away – on Chryssi.

Chryssi Island

These must be some of the dreamiest beaches in all Europe. The tiny, pristine, and uninhabited island Chryssi is covered with pure white silken sands, shaded by rare Lebanese Cedar trees, and surrounded by waters that glitter like jewels. The only signs of civilization are some friendly cantinas for a cold beer or a soft drink. This magical island, about 15 kilometers from the shores of Ierapetra, is reached by a short boat ride.

Koufonisi

These must be some of the dreamiest beaches in all Europe. The tiny, pristine, and uninhabited island Chryssi is covered with pure white silken sands, shaded by rare Lebanese Cedar trees, and surrounded by waters that glitter like jewels. The only signs of civilization are some friendly cantinas for a cold beer or a soft drink. This magical island, about 15 kilometers from the shores of Ierapetra, is reached by a short boat ride.

Vai 

At Crete’s northeastern tip is Europe’s largest palm forest. Thousands of date palms – an endemic species – edge a beach of golden sands. This is truly a wonderful destination, where you can simply relax, taking in the natural beauty, or enjoy a fully serviced beach with sun loungers, umbrellas, a cantina, and water sports facilities.

Xerokambos beach 

Ancient Minoan Palace at Kato Zakros

Chrissi Island