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Keratokambos beach

Beach description

Located 72km southeast of Heraklion, the small seaside resort of Keratokambos, along with the nearby coastal settlement of Kastri, has evolved into a sought-after family destination over recent years. The village of Keratokambos is fronted by a lengthy sandy beach, extending for several kilometers in both directions.

The village’s main beach is situated to the east of the local harbour, extending eastwards up to the Keratokambitis river. The beach is quite organized where it adjoins the village, and in some areas, it is strewn with large pebbles, making it a suitable spot for snorkelling. The beach becomes more peaceful and secluded as you move eastwards. Following this is Monobouka beach, located near the Kapsali settlement, and equipped with a few tourist facilities. Monobouka beach, with its sandy terrain and shallow waters, is perfect for children. The beach is dotted with many tamarisk trees, providing ample shade.

A brief overview of the Keratokambos area reveals that Keratokambos (and Kastri) function as the harbour for the inhabitants of the mountainous village of Ano Viannos, situated further north. In the 1950s, the area housed only warehouses for storage of products like carob, citrus, oil, etc. The local harbour was employed for transporting these products to urban centres via cargo ships, as there was no road network at that time. Today, Kastri and Keratokambos form a unified village, which has witnessed significant growth in tourism in recent years. The village boasts of a school, a clinic and a notable gallery.

The name Keratokambos translates to Carob Fields in Greek, a name derived from the locust trees grown in the region for producing carobs. Another interpretation suggests that the name comes from the Greek word ‘Kerato’, meaning horn, referring to the towering steep rock, called Kerato, located north of the village in the Vigla area. The top of Vigla houses the ruins of a Venetian fortress, while its base is home to a large cave with rich stalagmite decorations and numerous bats.

The villages of Keratokambos and Kastri are built in a valley formed by several wild gorges, with the Keratokambitis river cutting through the rugged Portela gorge. In the Richtra region, a beautiful 10m high waterfall can be found, which is worth a visit (especially in spring).

The Kavousi and Piskopi Pidima (Bishop’s Jump) gorges are other impressive natural formations of the area. The latter gets its name from a local legend of a bishop and his horse miraculously leaping across the gorge to escape from the Turks. As a tribute to this miracle, the bishop built the church of St. George near the gorge.