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Lendas beach

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Beach description

Situated 74km south of Heraklion, on the southern fringes of the grand Asterousia Mountains, is the isolated seaside village of Lendas. This modestly designed tourist resort promises a serene vacation. The journey to Lendas, from Agii Deka near Mires town, via the village of Miamou, is via a narrow paved road that winds through the rough mountains, descending from an elevation of about 1000m to sea level, offering an awe-inspiring view of the Lendas sea.

The vicinity is scattered with beaches, popular among naturists. The beach in the village of Lendas, shielded on the east by Cape Psamidomouri and on the west by the renowned Cape Lion, was once the old port of Lendas, which has since been relocated to Loutra. This beach is the busiest in the area with basic amenities such as umbrellas, showers, sunbeds, and water sports. Beyond the beach, numerous taverns and rental rooms are available. The beach’s trademark is its ducks that wander freely. Additionally, the endangered loggerhead sea turtle lays its eggs on Lendas beach between May and September. For those seeking solitude, the secluded beaches of Dyskos and Loutra are ideal.

Lendas is established on the site of the ancient city Levina, a name believed to be derived from the Phoenician “Lavi” meaning Lion. A lion-like cape located west of the village supports this belief. Legend says this lion was one of the lions pulling goddess Rhea’s chariot and was turned into stone at this location. Another theory suggests the name originates from the Phoenician word “levina”, meaning white, describing the whitish hue of the local rocks. The modern name Lendas is derived from the Greek word “Leondas” meaning lion. This cape, also known as Lion, is an archaeological site that can be visited by a short 15-minute walk to its peak, where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of early Minoan graves and a settlement, which had ties with Egypt. The ancient city of Levina prospered in the Hellenistic and Roman era, serving as a port for Gortys, the most powerful town in Crete at the time.

East of Lentas, a spring with supposed healing properties can be found. Even today, studies suggest the water aids in healing stomach, blood, and bleeding disorders. Consequently, a massive temple dedicated to the divine doctor Asclepius and Hygeia Sotira was built in the 4th century AC. This temple gained fame as a center for hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and psychiatry, attracting patients from distant places, such as Libya. Remnants of the temple, a Byzantine church dedicated to Agios Ioannis Theologos, and Roman baths can still be found in the area. Levina was presumably abandoned in the 7th-8th century due to frequent pirate attacks.

East of the village, opposite the Psamidomouri Cape, a rock resembling a crouching elephant can be seen, with another beach formed opposite the rock. Further on, Cape Trafoulas bears a resemblance to a crocodile from Lendas. According to a local legend, Cleopatra once visited Lendas with her favorite animals, namely a lion, a crocodile, and an elephant. She was so enchanted by the place that she left her animals behind when she returned to Egypt. To this day, these “animals” remain there, patiently waiting for Cleopatra’s return.