Xerokambos beach is located in an slowly developing region, 48 km from Sitia, 10 km from Zakros and 28 km from Palekastro.
Mountains, olive groves and magnificent isolated beaches make up the breathtaking scenery. Xerokambos boasts probably the finest beaches in the area and is ideal for those seeking peace, quiet and relaxation. There are few beds to rent on the most northern beach (there are few bays in Xerocambos, each of them has separate beach - we were staying on the most southern beach).
Public transport stops in Zakros, therefore anyone wanting to explore the area would need to hire a car.
The road from Zakros to Xerokambos is a brand new two line asphalt road. There are few tavernas, supermarket and several villas with rooms to tent. There are more and more villas being built.
If you pass Xerocambos the road will take you up to the mountain. It is the most beautiful drive on Crete.
We often drove to Xerocambos through Pskokefalo, Handras & Ziros just for the incredible views between Ziros and Xerocambos.
Kato Zakros beach
The settlement of Kato Zakros, only 8 km away from (upper) Zakros, 25from Palekastro and 44 from Sitia is a most impressive small fishing village, hidden away in the southeast corner of Crete, behind a beautiful tamarind-fringed beach.
There are several excellent fish tavernas on the beach, ideal for relaxed, long lunches or for romantic evening meals.
Anyone staying in Kato Zakros should walk down the 'Valley of the Dead', approximately a 2-hour walk, which leads down from Pano Zakros to the sea at Kato Zakros.
Beach is of large round stones which are really difficult to walk on, especially when you are trying to get into the water.
When were there we did not see many beach goers. People mostly get there to have lunch or dinner in fish tavernas.
Hiona (Chiona, Xiona) beach
Hiona beach is located 2 km east from Palekastro and 20 from Sitia. It is 300 m long and you can enjoy the rest under the shade of the tamarisks if you get there early enough, because there is not too much of those tamarisks anymore :-)
The sandy sea bottom slopes gently, making swimming safe even for the youngest holidaymakers.
On the southeastern side of the beach, there are many pristine and secluded, small bays, ideal for more privacy.
The 3 traditional fish taverns are well-known on the whole Crete. People come here from every part of the island to taste the famous "kakavia" and "buyabesa" (traditional cretan fish soup).
We had this soup in Xiona Tavern and it was delicious.
See my tips on my "Prefecture of Lasithi" page for details on the Taverna.
Kouremenos beach is the longest beach of Palekastro area (1.5 km length) is only 2 km far from Palekastro and 20 from Sitia. It is sandy and the bottom is ideal for divers.
The lovers of windsurfing are attracted by it, as it is famous all around Europe for this sport. There is also a windsurfing school there.
We didn't get out of the car, as the beach was overrun by windsurfers (with their big winds) and it was very windy that day. We were driving around looking for a beach with natural shading (trees) and sheltered from the wind.
Only 4.5 kms north from Palekastro you can find the lesser-known beach of Palekastro area. The reason people don't choose it, is the 1600m rough, dirt road that goes there. We were able to drive it with no problem with our junky Peugeot 307 in June 2009.
The bay is encircled by rocky hillrocks, but the beach has less sand and more pebbles. The blue waters are crystal-clear.
There is no chairs and umbrellas on that beach. It is really small and secluded.
It is an exotic, tropical beach with fine sand and pebbles and crystal-clear blue sea. 6 km far from House Margot, Palekastro and 25 from Sitia.
The combination of a magnificent beach with a rare grove of palm trees makes Vai one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete.
According to legend, Arab pirates who came to Crete threw out the pips of the dates they were eating while they were here and that from these came this grove of 5000 palms.
It is organized beach and quite expensive. In July 2009 parking was E3 and 2beds+1umbrella was E9.
Itanos (Ermoupolis) beach
Itanos beaches are located 2 km north from Vai, 8 from Palekastro and 26 from Sitia. The sandy beach of the ancient town of Itanos or Erimoupolis. There is another longer sandy beach that you can get to - on foot - over the low hill to your left, where the main road stops.
In fact, there are 3 beaches here: the first is the one at the end of the road, the second is reached walking to the north and the third is also reached walking south behind the small fortress. The third one is also suitable to spend time under the shade of the palm-trees.
However the best selection for swimming is the northern, sandy beach.
I tried to snorkel off this beach, but didn't see much. It was very windy day and the water was not that clear.
There is no umbrellas or beds to rent so you have to bring your own. There is no trees to hide from sun.