Just a tiny selection of Local beaches
The area around Istron
Istro(n) is located 12km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, very close to Kalo Chorio. It is a quiet village, situated in a lush valley full with olive groves and springs, which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays.
Istro is built on the site of the archaic city Istrona. Ruins of a Minoan city with unknown name have been revealed on the Vrokastro hill, south of Kalo Chorio. During the Venetian Era, the barren plain was turned to a vast olive grove and several water mills were built, ruins of which still exist. Today, locals organize cultural events and the local Folk Museum reminds of their glorious past.
The first beach on the west, 1km west of the village, is the most quiet beach of the area called Karavostasi. It's a great beach with sand, well organized. It is formed in the western part of the largest gulf of Istro and is ideal for relaxing moments. All around there are many tamarisk, carob and olive trees. In the same bay, east of Karavostasi you’ll see a big rock, behind which unfolds the second beach of Saint Panteleimon. Saint Panteleimon gets its name from the homonym picturesque church built on the beach. The beach is sandy and well organized with umbrellas, showers, water sports, etc. It is regarded as a good spot for windsurfing. The second bay of Istron is located 500m east of the village. Here is one of the most beautiful beaches of Greece, which is featured in many card postals of Crete. Voulisma or Golden Beach is a beautiful beach with white sand and amazing turquoise waters.
The area around Elounda
The main beach of Elounda is right next to the harbour and car park, in the centre of Elounda.
The beach is organised, with umbrellas, sun loungers and a lifeguard, while all around you will find cafeterias, restaurants and hotels.
The east beach of Elounda
This beach is at the east end of Elounda, near the isthmus leading to the Kolokytha Peninsula.
It’s an organised beach but smaller than the main one.
Other beaches near Elounda
A few kilometres north of Elounda is the wonderful Driros or Dreros Beach with pine trees going down to the sea.
There are loungers on the beach and a cafeteria with little tables on a wooden jetty.
It’s sheer bliss to drink your coffee here, gazing at the view of Elounda Bay and Spinalonga Island opposite.
There are also various watersports on offer on Driros Beach.
If you continue on a bit past Driros, you will come to Plaka and its two beaches.
Beaches In and around Agios Niklaos
Ammoudi Beach is a small beach cradled in a large cove inside Agios Nikolaos.
It is an organised beach with watersports facilities. It’s small, so it may be crowded on some days.
Its advantage is that it is sheltered from the strong north winds.
Continuing along the road past this beach, you will come to the small church of Agios Nikolaos, famous for its wall paintings.
Agios Nikolaos has many beaches to offer, both in the town itself or its environs, 3-4 kilometres from the centre.
A little further south is the Municipal Beach of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, better known as EOT.
Here is the Mini Golf for those who want a change from swimming and sunbathing.
Unlike the other beaches in Agios Nikolaos, this a pebble beach, but it is very well-looked-after, with a thick carpet of green lawn and many trees offering their cool shade in the hot summer sun of Crete.
Almyros Beach is the biggest and best beach in Agios Nikolaos.
It is on the south side of town, 2.5 kilometres from the centre.
It is named after the River Almyros ("Briny"), at whose mouth it lies. The river delta is a protected wetland.
Many decades ago, the women of Agios Nikolaos came here to wash their clothes in the river, among the reeds and tall eucalypts.
The beach is sandy, quite large and set in a closed cove. The water is very shallow and small children can swim here safely.
Another wonderful sandy beach only a short distance from Agios Nikolaos (4 kilometres).
Ammoudara Beach is south of Almyros. It is organised and very crowded on July and August weekends.
Around the beach you will find many tavernas and small hotels, should you decide to stay in the area.
Note. There is another Ammoudara Beach west of Heraklion.