Measuring just 4.35 miles (7 kilometers) long and 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) at its widest point, Chrissi Island, also known as Gaidouronisi, is small but undoubtedly lovely. This protected nature reserve off Crete’s south coast is blessed with pristine beaches, shallow snorkel-friendly waters, and swaths of old cedar forest.
Chrissi Island is a popular day trip from Crete, with visitors coming here to relax amid unspoiled surroundings. Departing from Heraklion and Ierapetra, day tours typically include boat transport to and from Chrissi Island, and free time on the island to do as you wish. Lounge on the pink-tinged sands—the result of crushed shells—or explore the island’s scant Minoan ruins and a 13th-century chapel. The island’s calm shallow waters also lend themselves well to snorkeling.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Chrissi Island is a must for beach lovers.
- A small tavern is located on the island, but prices can be high so you may want to bring your own food and snacks.
- Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
How to Get There
Chrissi island is situated about 9 miles (14.50 kilometers) south of Ierapetra, on the Greek island of Crete. Boats run from the quay in Ierapetra.
When to Get There
Boats depart from around mid-May through October. If you’re coming here for beach time, the best weather is usually between June and September. The island sees the most tourists arrive in July and August. During these months, arrive early in the day to get in ahead of the crowds.
The Beaches of Chrissi Island
Most boats pull into a small harbor near Chrissi Island’s South Beach, where you’ll find umbrellas, cedars, and shallow waters for swimming. Just a short walk from the harbor is Belegrina Beach, where gorgeous pink-tinged sands (caused by the many shell fragments broken up into them), are met by translucent waters. Walking west from here, you’ll reach the secluded beach of Hatzivolakas; swim shoes are advised here as the seabed is rocky.