Chrissi Island in Crete (Golden Island) or “Gaidouronisi” is located 8 miles south of Ierapetra, Lasithi, in the Libyan Sea. Chrissi gets its name from the golden sand that has covered the whole island. It was created mainly from the shivers of thousand shells. It’s second name, Gaidouronisi, comes from the fact that the locals of Ierapetra brought here the old donkeys until their death.
Chrissi is a flat island famous for its tropical blue and green waters, its protected forest with the large cedars and the thousands of broken shells that make the sand pink. The locals of Ierapetra love this place and call it ‘Island’. It is said that years ago Gianni Agnelli, the president of Ferrari, intended to buy the island and make it a tourist resort. Fortunately the locals rebelled and the island remained “free”.
The tropical beaches are drowned daily by many visitors who come by excursion boats that leave from Ierapetra in the morning and return in the afternoon. Chrissi island has been declared as a beach of great natural beauty and camping there is strictly prohibited. It is also prohibited to enter into the cedar forest, which has been delineated with rope, as well as to collect sand and shells.
The Popular Beaches of Chrissi Island
The boat from Ierapetra will leave you after 50 ‘journey to the south of the island in the port called Vougiou Mati. There is a tavern where you can enjoy your food. Next to it, there is the South Beach where you can swim and relax under the umbrellas. Along the shores of Chrissi island there are other bays with sand and stones, which you can discover on yourself.
Belegrina Beach in Chrissi Island
The most popular beach is in the north side of the island and can be reached by a short walk from the harbor, crossing the magnificent cedar forest. After 5 ‘you will find yourself on the main beach of the island, Belegrina or else, Chrissi Ammos (Golden Sand). Belegrina is full of broken shells and has crystal clear water, strongly reminiscent of the Caribbean beaches. It is organized with umbrellas and a canteen where you can get drinks. The water is shallow and with great clarity.
Chatzivolakas Beach in Chrissi Island
If you walk west from Belegrina The next beach you meet is Chatzivolakas. Here the waters get calmer, while the beach is rocky. You will have the chance to admire nature in all its glory, with large cedars over 200 years around you. West of Chatzivolakas were identified, traces of Minoan settlement. The settlement was prospered from the trade of purple, the precious red dye derived from shells and used to dye the clothes of the kings. Next to Chatzivolakas, there is the small church of St. Nicholas, an old salt lake and the lighthouse of the island.
If you walk east of Belegrina, then you will find yourself on the beach “Kataprosopo” (Face to Face), which is face to face to the islet “Mikronisi”. “Mikronisi” is located east of Chrissi island and is a shelter for thousands of birds. The beach is less impressive than those of the north side, but much more secluded. The waters are shallow and do not exceed 5 m, being ideal for mask.
If you want to enjoy as much as possible the heavenly scenery in Chrissi Island, you could find a nice traditional holiday villa in Ierapetra. Thus, you will have the time to visit again and again this small paradise of the Libyan Sea.
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