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.
Maridaki beach is located in Greece, on the island of Crete, in the region of Chania.
Yes, Maridaki beach is suitable for families with children as the water is shallow and calm.
No, there are no water sports activities available at Maridaki beach.
No, there is no natural shade available at Maridaki beach, so it is recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade.
No, there is no designated parking area at Maridaki beach, but visitors can park their cars along the road leading to the Maridaki beach.
No, Maridaki beach is not accessible for people with disabilities as there are stairs leading down to the Maridaki beach.
No, there are no restaurants or cafes available at Maridaki beach, so visitors are advised to bring their own food and drinks.
The water colour of the Maridaki beach is deep blue.
The Maridaki beach has pebbles as its sand type.
The water at the Maridaki beach is deep.
The surface of the sea at the Maridaki beach is usually calm.
The Maridaki beach has normal crowds.
The Maridaki beach has food and water nearby, as well as showers.
The Maridaki beach can be accessed through a dirt track, by boat, or by walking.
The Maridaki beach is ideal for snorkeling and spearfishing, and there are rock shades available.
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