Crete is known as an island of contrasts, with a variety of alpine and coastal landscapes and a large number of beaches for every taste. What is lesser known, however, is that there are also smaller islands around Crete that you can easily visit for a day trip, and some of them are as exotic as the Bahamas!
What would you say if we told you that just in just an hour drive from Malia you can take a boat to a small island covered with white sand, dunes, and shallow turquoise waters that pirates used as a hide-out? This is Chrissi Island, 8 miles away from the coast of Ierapetra, a must-see destination you will never forget!
Chrissi island is also known as Gaidouronisi (donkey island) to locals and attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to enjoy its tropical waters and the shade of the extraordinary juniper trees. In fact, the island is home to one of the most important juniper forests (sp. Juniperus macrocarpa) in Greece, covering an area of about 350 acres, as well as to a rare ecosystem of marine life, and for this reason it is a protected area of natural beauty. Collecting shells or sand is strictly prohibited, as well as walking outside the designated paths and camping, activities that greatly endanger the fragile juniper trees.
The island is 5km long and 1km wide, so it is quite easy to explore it, if you feel like it. Most visitors, however, head straight to the spectacular Golden Beach on the northern part of the island, characterized by the white-pinkish sand, formed mainly from shell debris. You can easily spend a whole day there swimming, resting and sunbathing in a landscape of extreme beauty with a view to the south coast of Crete!
On the island you can find a beach bar that serves food and drinks, and sunbeds and umbrellas in Golden Beach. Boats leave from the port of Ierapetra from mid-May to the end of October every morning at around 10 and return in the afternoon, so you can enjoy a full day at the island. Don’t miss an excursion to this little paradise on earth that will give you memorable experiences and an exotic holiday photoshoot!