Beautiful Coasts

The Sea at Sitia

In the Sitia district there are many beaches of dazzling beauty and crystal blue waters. Others are secluded and ideal for some time alone in peace and others are noisy and busy for those that love social life. Nevertheless there are also those beaches that combine the peacefulness with small scenic fish taverns where after a good swim you can enjoy the nonchalant sunset with snacks and a drink i.e.: with a sweet Greek coffee.

The municipality of Itanos offers some of the most picturesque and clean beaches in the world. Here, you can swim, fish, practice water sports or simply relax and enjoy nature and the delicious Cretan Food. Every day you can enjoy the sun and the crystal waters of a different beach. Some of them are busy, others stand solitary attracting you to trace them and discover their own beauty. The most important beaches of the municipality of Itanos from North to South are the following:


Beaches at Sitia County 



This  well-organized beach consists of a long stretch of fine golden sand right next to the town and provides every facility the visitor might need. The beach offers a variety of water sports including jet ski, surfing, water skiing and pedalo.
It has been awarded with two Blue Flags and is always busy, winter and summer. You can rent one of the fishing boats in the harbour for an unforgettable romantic evening boat ride.



You can enjoy a swim  in cool, clear waters on the beach in the small, picturesque fishing village of Mochlos or in any one of the small coves scattered to the east and to the west. The ruins of an important Minoan settlement can clearly be seen on the island of Agios Nikolaos 150 metres off the mainland opposite Mochlos. This settlement flowered in the mid Minoan period and was a major port in East Crete.



In the tiny cove of Platani, on the north coast, there is a little pebbly beach where you can enjoy a quiet swim.




We are not talking about the district with the same name at Ierapetra, here we find ourselves 7 kms east of Sitia in an area where the biggest cemetery of Minoan Crete was discovered.!



The beaches of Papadiokambos, northwest of Sitia are totally isolated. Be sure to take provisions with you in order to make the most of  nature in all its unspoilt glory.




Three to four hours walk through a gorge or a "nasty" dirt road will take you from Mouliana village to one of the most secluded beaches of the island.



The long fine sandy beach of Makrigialos is ideal for children and adults alike because you can find all the facilities you need. Makrigialos offers a range of accommodation from luxury hotels to villas, pensions and rooms on the beach.  To the west, the beaches of Koutsouras, Mavrou Kolimbou and Achlia also provide you with every comfort.



Koutsouras, one of the newest villages in the region,  is situated on the south road, a few kilometres from Makrigialos and 41 kms from Sitia. Increased tourism in the 80's  led to the sudden development of the area.  The visitor is entranced by the unique dark grey pebbles, turquoise waters and shady pine trees. This beach is the first long beach on the way from Ierapetra to Sitia and has been awarded with a European Blue Flag.



Small picturesque sandy beaches.



Visit the only palmforest in Europe with its clean waters and beautiful beach.  It is situated on the northern edge of the region on the headland of Sidero. Its beauty is unique in Crete. The palm trees grow naturally here and their fronds cover the banks of the small stream that leads to the sea, and its surrounding area.   Quite apart from its beauty, Vai is also of significant ecological worth.  The wetlands created between the edge of the palmforest and the beach are home to a wide variety of birdlife and the ocean is teaming with sea creatures.



The sandy beach of Erimoupolis is situated slightly to the north of the magnificent  palmforest of Vai. The visitor can combine a swim in the sea with a visit to the ruins of ancient Itanos, which used to be the one remaining Heteocretan city. This city was engaged for centuries in rivalry with the powerful city of Presos until it secured its destruction by turning the military might of Ierapetra on it.  The ruins of two early Christian churches prove that it remained an important trading centre up until the early Byzantine period  when it was overshadowed by the ever growing city of Sitia.



The remote beach of Karoumbes is on the east coast and can be reached either by boat or by a 40 minute walk through the gorge of Hoklakion.



The beach of Kato Zakros is an hour's drive from Sitia.  Here you can combine a swim with a visit to the ruins of the Palace of Zakro, the only Minoan Palace to have been excavated in Eastern Crete. The Palace was built about 1700BC only to be destroyed a few hundred years later by the eruption of the volcano in Santorini and was never reinhabited. The site remained undisturbed until excavations brought a wide range of valuable artefacts to light, most of which can now be seen in the Archaeological Museums of Sitia and Heraklion.



The sandy beaches of Kouremenos and Hiona ncan be found slightly to the south of Vai and provide ideal conditions for windsurfing.





Here is to be found  yet another Sitia beach sunning itself next to the crystal blue sea.  It is situated 2 kms from Palekastro.  Why not try the famous fish soup (kakavia)  found in the charming little fish restaurants next to the beach.

Around the Palekastro area, the "MeItemi" wind increases its strength through the local thermal and funneling effect that gives the surface wind an additional 2 Beaufort. This makes Kouremenos bay one of the most wind-certain spots in Europe with wind statistics of 20-28 wind days per month from April to October. Apart from the perfect swimming conditions for young and old and the "air conditioning effect" which has been enjoyed by many visitors to the area, the bay offers perfect, flat-water conditions close to the shore (due to the off shore wind) as well as clear blue waters and is the perfect spot for those wishing to learn how to windsurf but also for those who even though advanced, want to either practice or learn new surf moves.





Xerokambos is an untouched area of beautiful beaches, ideal for those in search of peace, calm and a relaxing holiday. Its shallow, crystal-clear blue waters make this the perfect destination for families with children. The wild beauty of the mountains and gorges combines with olive groves, fantastic deserted beaches and turquoise coves to form a fairytale landscape. In Xerokambos there is a small village with rent rooms and tavernas. 



Goudouras is a well-known  fishing village on the Libyan Sea.  It is situated to the east of Makrigialos in a unique setting with clean waters and beaches.  As well as earning money from fishing and tourism, the local inhabitants have increased their income from the cultivation of out-of-season produce and hot house fruit and vegetables.


Average Wind Statistics

Days per month








4 beaufort and over








For those interested, somewhere in the middle of Kouremenos beach, a Windsurf station, the only fully equipped one on Crete, and its teaching team, is there to teach, equip or just instruct on new freestyle moves. Being creative them selves, they also like to help their guests express their creativity by having materials available to paint, print, design etc

Quoting the owners: "four friendly freaks combine the perfect surfing conditions and lifestyle at Kouremenos beach with unspoilt Greek ambience in the small Cretan village of Palekastro..." just makes us agree!



The seas of Sitia are garlanded with many beautiful islands large and small which host a wide variety of rare sea-life and flora. Every island is a tribute to a land blessed by the gods ; the remains of  a Minoan settlement have recently been excavated on the island of "Psira",  the island of "Elasa" to the east was where the Minoans first set foot on Crete, the Dionisades and Ianisades stand guard over the bay of Sitia  and last but not least the island of Koufonisi  is renowned for its long history of trading in porphyry.  Apart from these larger islands, the seas abound with small rocky islands which are a winter home to a rare Mediterranean hawk - "Falco Eleonorae".



The locals call the islands opposite Sitia "Dionisades" and "Ianisades" and often make use of the fishing grounds there. It is worth taking a boat over there to pay a visit.  The rare Mediterranean hawk "Falco Eleonorae" can be found there on its isolated beaches. 
Many fishing boats spend the night there, lights dancing on the dark waters, their only company the dolphins that sport around them.



This is a small uninhabited island to the west of Mochlos where important artefacts from the pre-Minoan period have been found which provide evidence that Psira was an important sea port.  An amphitheatrically shaped settlement was unearthed here together with clay pots and vases - considered some of the finest examples of Minoan art - which can now be seen in the Archaeological Museum at Heraklion.



The island of Koufonisis can be found etched on to the horizon southeast of Xerokambos. The remains of Minoan and Roman dwellings have been discovered here and it would appear that the island was heavily populated from ancient times until the post Roman era. Proof of this is the large Grecoroman theatre, with seating for a 1000 people, which was  unearthed here. According to these finds, it would  seem that the island was a major centre for the harvesting and processing of the porphyry which was abundant in the seas of the region.


Sitia county

On the Eastern coasts of Crete the predominant Sun, too strong to be ignored will be revealed to you. The power of the sunlight magnifies the visitor's senses.


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