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Beaches near Neokhórion, in Heraklion region

Here is list of closest beaches to Neokhórion

  • 10.9 km
  • Maridaki beach
  • Pebbles
  • Deep
  • Deep blue

Maridaki, a coastal hamlet on the east side of Mount Asterousia, is located 65km south of Heraklion and on the west of Tsoutsouras Bay. A 2.5 km footpath is the only direct link between Maridaki and Tsoutsouras. However, a rough 15km dirt road starting near the village of Ahedrias (close to Mesohorio) gives access to the settlement. This road takes you through the towering cliffs and rugged rocks of Asterousia and leads to the monastery of Saint Nikitas. It’s advisable not to park your car under Maridaki’s trees, as the local goats may cause damage.

Maridaki, also known as Saint Panteleimon after its local church, is nestled in the arid, untamed landscape of southern Crete, at the mouth of the impressive Achendrias Gorge. A spring and a small stream provide drinking water to the beach all year around, creating an oasis with evergreen plane trees lining its banks. Near the springs, a large square with a 200-year-old plane tree and a small tavern can be found. Locals believe that fairies reside just beyond this spot. A 15-minute journey from the settlement reveals the striking Lichnistis waterfalls, visible until early spring.

In this modest village, you’ll mostly encounter locals enjoying the sun and sea, residing in their summer homes which are casually built. The village’s coastline boasts a lovely pebble beach surrounded by towering rocks. Along the shore, sandy coves provide shade, but beware of goats traversing cliff edges as they often trigger landslides. The sea is deep and cool due to the stream. Maridaki has showers, a small coffee shop, a tavern, and a few rooms for rent. Two additional beaches are situated to the north of the settlement, at the base of Cape Kerkelos in an area known as Nisakia (or islets), named after two small sea rocks.

While in Maridaki, it’s worth visiting the village springs to enjoy the cool water. Nearby, the church of Saint Panteleimon, formerly dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Mamas, patron of shepherds, stands. If you have a car, consider visiting Saint Nikitas (2km from Maridaki), the beautiful palm grove of Saint Anthony (3km), and the chapel of the Holy Cross (1km outside the village).

Maridaki – Tsoutsouras Trail: Maridaki is one of the few places on Crete where foot travel is quicker than by car. From Tsoutsouras, a 20-minute walk along a well-maintained footpath takes you through a breathtaking landscape of wild carob trees, caves, and dry grasslands, offering stunning sea views. One of the caves, Drakospilia (Dragon’s Cave), is shrouded in mystery and tales of metaphysical phenomena. It’s entrance is small and may go unnoticed. The cave expands after the entrance and is home to bats. A narrow passage leads to a point from where, locals claim, no one has returned, possibly due to volcanic fumes. Legends of treasure, the tomb of a great king, monsters, and dragons fill the air, adding to the cave’s mystery. Some locals believe it houses the tomb of Alexander the Great, while others believe it’s the final resting place of King Sarpedon of Lycia, whose body is said to be preserved in honey. The mystery deepens with tales of U.S. missions and helicopter patrols when someone enters the cave. As per local lore, a submerged church dome from the lost city of Queen Achendra becomes visible at sunset from the last point where Tsoutsouras can be seen from the sea.

  • 10.9 km
  • Tsoutsouras beach
  • Sand
  • Shallow
  • Blue

Tsoutsouras, derived from the Venetian word Zuzzuro, is situated 63km south of Heraklion, at the entrance of the formidable Mindris Gorge. It’s built on the location of the ancient city Inatos, which once served as the port for Priansos (located near Kasteliana village). More specifically, Tsoutsouras is the union of the two settlements, Pera Tsoutsouros and Tsoutsouros, that presently serve as the harbour for Arkalochori. Despite being well-organized and developed for tourism, it remains a peaceful holiday destination.

The village is home to the small harbour of Tsoutsouras, with two lengthy sheltered bays to its east and west, boasting a total length of 2km. These bays are characterized by beautiful coarse sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach is modestly organized with umbrellas and surrounded by several tamarisk trees, making it an ideal spot for family holidays as all necessary facilities for accommodation, entertainment, and food are nearby. For a more secluded experience, one can walk to the eastern end of the beach, where the sandhills and the easternmost part called Limniara, housing the sea cave Pourgonero, are located. Tsoutsouras can also serve as a base for exploring other nearby beaches.

Swimming in Tsoutsouras is traditionally viewed as therapeutic by many Cretans due to its high salt and iodine concentration, which aids in healing musculoskeletal and orthopedic issues.

Tsoutsouras is an area teeming with energy, myths, and folk narratives including tales about dragons, wild beasts, illegal excavations, and modern fantasy stories. In ancient Inatos, Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, was worshipped. Visitors can explore the cave where this goddess was worshipped for centuries, and where numerous offerings have been found, showcasing the sanctuary’s global influence. In recent years, this cave has garnered attention, making Tsoutsouras well-known throughout Greece. There have been reports of the American army confiscating objects of Minoan technological advancements from the cave and surrounding area for their own knowledge.

To the west of Tsoutsouras, two parallel mountains known as Zeus and Hera can be seen, which according to local tales, is where the king Asterion raised the sons of Zeus, Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon, who later ruled Knossos, Phaistos, and Malia respectively. West of the harbour, in the Kerkelos area, remnants of ancient Inatos have been discovered. South of Kerkelos, the coast boasts unique karstic cave formations, including Drakospilia, where locals claim to have found a dragon skeleton. Despite the incredulity of this tale, numerous eyewitness accounts have left researchers puzzled. A Minoan settlement was also excavated in the Aliori area, located at the eastern end of the beach.

  • 11.4 km
  • Agios Nikitas beach
  • Fine Pebbles
  • Normal
  • Deep blue

Situated 65km south of Heraklion on the eastern flank of the barren Asterousia Mountains is Agios Nikitas. The most common means of reaching this location is by navigating a rugged dirt road beginning from the village of Ahendrias, leading to the Monastery of St. Nikitas, 15km away. The captivating journey takes you past precipitous cliffs and jagged rocks, characteristic of the Asterousia landscape.

Overlooking the South Cretan Sea from a hill, the Agios Nikitas monastery was initially a retreat for monks from the Koudoumas monastery. The monastery’s church, dedicated to St. Nikitas, was constructed in a cave around 1640. Inside, you’ll find ancient frescoes and a smoke-stained roof, allegedly blackened during pirate attacks. A small indentation within the church produces water used as holy water. Despite the area’s dry climate, mango and avocado trees flourish in the monastery’s gardens.

A brief trail from the monastery leads to Agios Nikitas beach, accessible via 230 steps. This secluded pebble beach features crystal clear waters with a deep green hue, offering no typical tourist amenities. Nudism is considered disrespectful near monasteries, so it is not recommended here.

To the east of the main beach is a twin beach, Kalogerou Arolithos, primarily accessible by boat or swimming. A large smooth, steep rock separates the beaches, believed to bear the footprints of Saint Nikitas’ horse, according to legend.

Further east, a small cottage houses a secluded pebble beach, accessible via a small stairway originating from the cottage. Named Hiromili, this beach is typically empty.

Walking westward from the main beach, one would soon encounter the cape Gerani, home to a solitary palm tree overlooking the expansive Libyan Sea.

A brief 300m journey westward from St. Nikitas leads to the picturesque white-washed chapel of St. Anthony and a small carob wood. Adjacent to the chapel is a stream flanked by Theophrastus palm trees, constituting the third largest colony of the Cretan date palm in Crete, known as the small palm grove of Saint Anthony. Several small isolated coves in the area, known as Kalami, are ideal for swimming and fishing. The nearest place for water and food supplies, aside from the monastery, is the village of Maridaki, 2km to the east.

  • 11.6 km
  • Petrigiari beach
  • Pebbles
  • Deep
  • Deep blue

Skiadaki, a mesmerizingly tiny beach, is found at the exit of the wild Kakoperatos canyon. It’s nestled 66km south of Heraklion and 10km south of Achendrias village on the eastern flank of the Asterousia Mountains. This beach, one of the most secluded on Crete, boasts beautiful pebbles and is enveloped by steep rocks.

Access to the beach is primarily by boat, though adventurous souls could trek for an hour west from the Agios Nikitas Monastery, traversing two small gorges in the Petrigiari area. However, the boat remains the simplest method of travel. The surrounding region is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. If you arrive by boat, ensure you take the time to explore the gorge and marvel at the rugged landscape, culminating in a dead-end with waterfalls that dry up in the summer months.

The beach’s name, Skiadaki, translates to “small shade,” a homage to the shady, dark bottom of the gorge produced by the towering cliffs. Indeed, if you visit Skiadaki, there’s no need for an umbrella as you’ll find ample shade throughout the day.

  • 11.7 km