Agios Georgios (Dia)
Dia is a small uninhabited island, 12 miles north of Heraklion, where every summer excursion boats approach it, giving the visitor the chance to admire the scenery and swim in the crystal clear waters. Following the path to the west, we meet the chapel of Ascension, with the blue dome where there are two wonderful and quiet beaches.
The beach of Agiofarago is 80 km south of the city of Heraklion at the exit of the homonymous gorge. To get here, you have to drive to Messara and after passing Siva, reach the Odigitria Monastery from where you take the left dirt road to Kali Limenes. After a four-kilometer course, turn right and continue through the valley until you find an impasse. Leave your car in the large parking lot, but not under the few trees, because the goats in the area, in their attempt to eat the leaves, will destroy it. Then cross the canyon for about half an hour until you get to the beach. Prefer the easy hiking between vertical rocks and impressive arches, beautiful caves and stony lakes with crystal clear sea salt, where you can gather for household chores. You can also climb the rocks to the east, in front of Vourbulitis, an incredibly beautiful sea-filled pond. The view from above will enchant you, and when you get to the beach and see the deep blue of the sea, on the one hand licking the pebble beaches and on the other breaking - usually calmly - into the mountains that sink sharply into it, you will justify this choice.
As a fairy tale, the black Aspees beach is located in one of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the Asterousia Mountains, about 58 km south of Heraklion and 4 km from the settlement of Treis Ekklisies. Its name is due to the landslides made by the light-colored rocks in square caves of smaller or larger size. This view, combined with the lush turquoise sea and the dark sand of the beach, creates unique images. Access is possible only by boat from the nearest port of Tsoutsoura or that in Treis Ekklisies.
At the entrance of the imposing gorge of Midris, 63 km south of Heraklion, a single seaside settlement is built, where the ancient Inatos, the port of Prianssus, was built. It has tourist infrastructure, but it is also a destination for a quiet family holiday, making it the summer resort of the locals in the Libyan Sea. Swimming in its crystal clear sea is considered a medicinal one because of its high iodine and salt content. It presents archaeological interest, since in the cave, north of the village, there were tributes dedicated to the goddess of childbirth, Ileithia, clay figures and Egyptian figurines of faience. But even in the whole area, Minoan objects of incredible technological evolution have come to light which the American army secretly took to enrich its know-how. In the Kerkelos area (meaning Zeus's foot), the coast is full of beautiful caves and karstic formations. Drakospilia is well known and east of the beach lies Aliori, a small Minoan settlement.
Beaches of Hersonissos
Just 28 km east of Heraklion, it is probably the most popular tourist resort on the island. With clear seas, certified with blue flags and sandy beaches, it is flooded by thousands of people who want comfortable holidays in organized places. On the east, we find beaches clearly quieter. It is worth a walk to the lighthouse and visit the chapel of Agia Paraskevi, part of which is built in the rock. On Kastri Hill there are remnants of mosaics of the Early Christian church.
Port of Sarandaris
Contemporary picturesque bays, just 27 km east of Heraklion, start from the cape of Sarandaris and reach the port of Hersonissos. The beautiful beaches, such as Sarandaris, with turquoise shallow waters and fine sand, inside and out of the sea, have organized beaches for water sports, beach volley, etc. Many believe that the beaches of nudists are the exclusive privilege of the remote coasts of southern Crete, but also in the bustling north, they do not cease to breathe such beaches, even in tourist places like Hersonissos.
Kali Limenes Beach
They are the largest seaside village of the Asterousia Mountains, just 75 km southwest of Heraklion, where you can reach via an asphalt road. From the village of Pompia in Messara, you pass Pigaidikia, with many turns and a dangerously narrow street, but it is worth the trouble. The second choice is from the Odigitria Monastery, for those who want to taste the Asterousia wildlife, but also for those who visited Agiofarago. Against the settlement, the Little Island emerges, which the locals call "Apostle Paul". There are oil tanks installed for refueling ships crossing the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. If you exclude this, surely the tranquility of the calm sea enchants you literally. In Kali Limenes, on the hill there is Mikri Spilia, where Apostle Paul lived for two years, before continuing his journey to Rome and to the west, the beautiful beach of Stena.
Beach of Agios Nikitas
To the east of the arid and barren Asterousia, 65 km south of Heraklion, is Agios Nikitas. The fascinating route next to steep and sharp cliffs starts from the village of Achendria, ends at the homonymous Monastery after 15 km. Built on a large hill in the rocks, it dates back to 1640, with old frescoes and a burned ceiling from the Ottomans. The view of the Libyan Sea is exciting. Recessed beside the sanctuary, water runs from stalactites, which is offered to the believers as a holy water. A path of 230 steps, which starts from the Monastery, leads to the totally secluded beach, from pebbles and green waters. To the east there is a huge rock, where you can see the hooves of the Saint's horse. At Gerani cape, there is a lonely palm tree and 300 meters west of the monastery, we meet the chapel of Agios Antonios, a small forest of carob trees and next to it a ravine overgrown by the Palm trees of Theophrastus.
Agia Pelagia Beach
It is located 21 km west of Heraklion, with many small coves and beautiful beaches. It was one of the most important ports of the Venetian occupation. Here was the legendary Arkadi boat, during the Cretan Revolution, feeding the rebels with munitions. North, is the cape of Souda (no connection with Souda Chania), where ruins of ancient Apollonia were found. Further on, the cave of Evresys and a small sanctum, to remind of the finding of the image of the saint, some centuries ago. A few meters further, the beautiful beach of Filakes and to the east Vlychada, an artificial pebble beach where you can only swim from Agia Pelagia.