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Chrissi Island

Location

Chrissi (i.e. golden), or Gaidouronisi (i.e. donkey island) is an uninhabited islet in the Libyan sea, 8 miles south of Ierapetra town.
It is five kilometers long and about one kilometer wide.
It is nearly flat with its highest point, Kefala, just 31 meters above sea level.

Characteristics

Access By: Boat Beach Type: White sand
Depth: Shallow Temperature: Cool
Organised: Little Natural Shade: Yes
Crowded: Yes Windy: Yes
Family-friendly:Yes Nudism-friendly: Yes

Facilities

Umbrellas and sunbeds, no showers, snack, canteen, restaurant.

Notes

This pure alluring islet is renowned for its tropical beaches, the broken shells which grant the sand with a beautiful pinkish-white color, the sand dunes and the rare forests of pines and centenarian juniper trees.
Visitors who come to spend a few hours in Chrissi will have the unique opportunity to swim in the crystal clear turquoise waters which resemble the ones in the Caribbean Sea.

Belegrina or Golden Sand beach is located on the north side of Chrissi.
It is the most popular beach where visitors can see fossilized seashells of thousands years old.
The sand consists of broken and intact tiny shells and the seabed consists mostly of sand, although there are slabs when entering it.
To reach the beach from the south part of the island where the ferries moor, follow the trail through the sand dunes, an approximate 7-10 minute walk.
You will find swimming facilities with an average cost of 10 euros for 2 sunbeds and an umbrella.

The western tip of the island demonstrates ruins of buildings from the pre-historical and historical times.
You may visit the small 13th century church of Agios Nikolaos, (Saint Nicholas), remains of a past Minoan settlement, carved tombs of the Roman era, an old salt pan and the old lighthouse.
The island has been active since the Minoan era until the Byzantine times, after which it was abandoned.
The main sources of wealth were fishing, salt export, and the trading of porfira (Tyrian purple), a red dye made from shells.

To the east of Chrissi lies the rocky islet of Mikronisi (Small Island), a shelter to seagulls.
The shallow beach which faces Mikronisi is perfect for snorkeling.

Due to its unique and fragile ecosystem, the islet of Chrissi has been included in the NATURA 2000 Program, a European protection program for places of natural beauty and ecological interest.
As far as free camping is concerned, even though it’s prohibited, you will find quite a few campers there but it is imperative to respect the island’s unique ecosystem and therefore collecting sand and shells or build a fire is strictly forbidden.

Chrissi is among the most favorite destinations for those who respect pure nature and seek calmness and therefore all of us should help and sustain its impeccable beauty.

How to get to Chrissi

There are 2 ferries departing from Ierapetra to Chrissi and back every day.
The timetable is as follows:

10:30 Ierapetra – Chrissi
12:00 Ierapetra – Chrissi
17:00 Chrissi – Ierapetra
18:00 Chrissi Ierapetra

The ticket to Chrissi costs about 25 euros and is a return ticket.
The duration of the voyage is about 50 minutes.
It’s important not to miss the return ferry, since the island offers no accommodation options other than sleeping under the starlit sky!

Note:

Since there is no fresh water storage in the island, there are no showers available.

The white sand in Chrissi reflects sunlight and can prove to be extremely harmful especially during the hot hours when the ferries reach the island.

Wear sunscreen and a hat at all times and seek for shade as often as you can.

Belegrina beach is strongly affected by the winds, therefore a visit on a windy day is not recommended.

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