Chrissi Island

Chrissi Island: Paradise in the Cretan - Libyan Sea

Crete, the cradle of Minoan civilization, boasts countless treasures. Yet, tucked away south of its vibrant shores lies a secret paradise: Chrissi Island, also known by its lesser-known name Gaidouronisi, a car-free haven beckoning with golden sands and turquoise waters. It’s an island, 7km long with a maximum width of 2 km, located 8 nautical miles south of the most southern town in Europe, Ierapetra

A Jewel of Nature

Chrissi Island’s true magic lies in its breathtaking natural beauty.

From the minute a visitor arrives on Chrissi Island, they are drawn to the exotic natural landscape dominated by cedar, golden sand, and bright azure water.

The natural visuals and rhythms provide the visitor with an immediate sense of release.

Its cedar forest is centuries old, with many of the trees exceeding the 200-year mark and exuding a captivating fragrance, filling the air with a sense of serenity.

Beaches fit for a Dream

The island’s crown jewel is undoubtedly its collection of pristine beaches.

Fine, golden sand, a result of millions of crushed seashells, shimmers under the Mediterranean sun.

Belegrina Beach, with its shallow, crystal-clear waters, is a haven for relaxation and families.

For the adventurous soul, Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach) beckons with its long stretch of dramatic coastline and impressive cedar formations jutting out from the turquoise embrace of the sea.

Another beautiful beach is called Kataprosopo Beach. Kataprosopo (meaning: face to face) is located at the far east of the island, and you have a clear view of Mikronisi (meaning: small island).

A Haven for Nature Lovers

Chrissi Island isn’t just about sun and sand. Nature enthusiasts will find a paradise waiting to be explored.

The Belegrina & Vrises Trail offers a moderate hike through the fragrant cedar forest, rewarding you with panoramic views of the coastline.

Birdwatchers can keep an eye out for a variety of avian species, while the sheltered coves provide a haven for marine life.

One who doesn’t enjoy walking so much can relax by the blue sea, either on the jetty or on the northern beach, which is a 5-minute walk. Even on a relaxed, short stay like that, Chrissi remains very impressive.

An Island Cherished

Chrissi Island’s unique ecosystem and fragile beauty have earned it the status of a protected area under the European Union’s Natura 2000 program.

This ensures the island’s pristine state is preserved for generations to come.

For the reasons mentioned above, it is not permitted to: travel outside the approved paths and beaches, collect rocks, fossils, shells, or ancient artifacts, collect animals or plants, free camp, start fires, or smoke within the bushy or woodland areas.

Civilization traces

Chrissi has been uninhabited in recent centuries, yet it was once home to tiny communities.

Some Minoan-era activity can be seen on the island’s western and eastern sides.

On the northern side, there is a little church dedicated to St. Nicholas, which was most likely built in the thirteenth century.

To the northeast of the church is an old salt pan and the island’s solitary residence, constructed on ancient remains.

Wells and curving tombs can be seen on the north and northwest sides of St. Nicholas. The largest one dates from the Roman period.

Planning Your Chrissi Island Escape

Chrissi Island is best explored as a day trip.  For six months of the year, from mid-May to late October, small boats travel daily from the ports of Ierapetra and Makrigialos to the island.

After an hour’s journey around, the vessels approach the island’s southern side, which is typically calmer. The outlet is located in the “Vougiou Eye” beside a small dock.

Pack light clothes, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes, and plenty of water and snacks, as options on the island are limited.

Remember, Chrissi Island is a treasure to be cherished. Respect the environment, take nothing but memories, and leave only footprints.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN chrissi island

Explore the beaches
Go for a hike
Unwind with a book
Visit the Church of Agios Nikolaos
See the largest cluster of cedar trees
Have a picnic lunch


Chrissi Island is a captivating destination that offers something for everyone. From the golden sands of Belegrina Beach to the tranquil charm of the Cedar forest, Chrissi Island is a place where you can truly unwind and reconnect with nature. With its rich history, crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, and endless opportunities for relaxation and exploration, Chrissi Island is a must-visit for anyone seeking a quintessential Greek island experience. Remember, however, to respect the island’s natural beauty and leave no trace behind so that future generations can continue to enjoy this little slice of paradise.


Plan your trip during the off-season!
Chrissi Island can get crowded during the peak summer months, so if you're looking for a more relaxed experience, plan your trip for the shoulder seasons (May-June or September-October).
Book your ferry tickets in advance!
Especially during the peak season, ferry tickets to Chrissi Island can sell out quickly. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance, especially if you're traveling with a group.
Bring plenty of water and snacks!
There are no shops or restaurants on Chrissi Island, so be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.
Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses!
The Greek sun can be intense, so be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the rays.
Wear comfortable shoes!
You might be doing a lot of walking on Chrissi Island, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes that can handle the terrain. There are a few trails on Chrissi Island that offer stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea.
Explore the beaches!
Chrissi Island is known for its beautiful beaches, so be sure to spend some time swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the coastline.
Leave no trace!
When you leave Chrissi Island, be sure to take all of your trash with you so that you can help keep the island clean for future visitors.

Destinations near chrissi island

More options for nearby locations to plan your vacations better!


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