If you come to Crete, you must visit the captivating Chrissi Island!
Chrissi… The Greek Islands' best kept secret…
A chance to explore an almost intact paradise doesn’t come around every day.
Chrissi Island – lying 15 km south of Crete in the South Cretan Sea – is renowned for its brilliantly clear waters, stunning white beaches and a priceless serenity which entrances its visitors.
Chrissi is known as the «golden island» and it’s not hard to see why. It only takes a day to fall in love with the superb range of beaches, lush forestry and charming harbour. And while you may be chartering new territory, that doesn’t mean that you will have a complicated journey, thanks to the reliable cruises to the island which depart from the nearby Ierapetra port.
So let’s learn more about this wonderfully secluded spot on the Mediterranean Sea.
Welcome to «Gaidouronisi»...
In Greek, Chrissi Island is known as Gaidouronisi, which translates as “Donkey Island”.
This second name comes from the local people of Ierapetra. They used to bring their old donkeys here once they had completed their service.
Best for beaches...
Pristine beaches and glorious shallow light blue waters for beach lovers
Pristine beaches similar to the settings of a Caribbean island, and glorious shallow light blue water, make Chrissi a must-visit for beach lovers.
These are some of the best beaches on the Greek islands. Some of them with a unique pink and white sand which is the result of thousands upon thousands of small shells, while others offer sand of a much more golden color.
Let’s learn more about some of Chrissi’s beaches.
🏖️ South Beach
You will arrive at the south of the island to Vougiou Mati port. Here there is a tavern that offers food and beverages. Nearby the port is South Beach, which offers a very pleasant spot to sunbathe and swim, with umbrellas provided.
🏖️ Belegrina Beach
Belegrina Beach can be seen as the most popular beach on the island. It is situated on the north side of the island, looking across the sea at Crete.
But just because it is on the other side of the island to where you will disembark, that doesn’t mean it takes a long time to get there! In fact, the
short walk across is a splendid opportunity to take in the cedar forest which occupies the mainland of Chrissi, before you arrive on a superb beach with shallow water and a canteen for drinks.
Remember that there is no drinking water produced on Chrissi, so all the fluids you drink will be bottled!
🏖️ Chatzivolakas Beach
West from Belegrina lies Chatzivolakas Beach, which is a more rocky spot with calmer waters. Here you are placed right next to the large cedar trees – this has an altogether more rural feel than Belegrina which might appeal more to some. There are even traces of Minoan people who lived on the island many years ago – they were involved in the dye trade.
🏖️ Kataprosopo Beach
To the east of Belegrina lies Kataprosopo Beach, which looks directly at the neighbouring islet of Mikronisi. Another uninhabited speck on the South Cretan Sea that acts as a shelter for many birds. If maximum seclusion is your thing, then Mikronisi is ideal for you. It offers shallow water which has good snorkeling potential.
A trip to Crete might be incomplete without a visit to captivating Chrissi Island. If you are in search of a beautiful hideaway with that ‘off the beaten track’ feel, hop on a boat from Crete and submit yourself to the charms of this blissful Greek fantasy land!
The history of Chrissi Island
A deserted paradise, save for day trippers
Chrissi and the Minoan Civilization
For the past few centuries, Chrissi Island has been almost deserted, safe for day trippers.
Earlier, there were small human settlements on Chrissi. We know this because broken pottery parts have been discovered on the eastern and western sides, and this shows us that there was activity during the Minoan era.
The Minoan civilization was based on the island of Crete and dates back as far as 3000 BC. It is known as the first advanced civilization, building huge complexes and excelling in the use of tools and writing systems. However, it is safe to say that those Minoans who dwelled on Chrissi had a considerably less complex existence!
The chapel of Agios Nikolaos lies on the northwest of the island. It is thought to date from the 13th century, and in the same area there is also the only known house and a small port. Wells and some carved graves are other sights to see when spotting evidence of Chrissi’s former population.
The southernmost natural park in Europe
Chrissi Island is part of Natura 2000
Chrissi Island is covered by the European protection network Natura 2000. It’s 4,743 sq km area is the natural habitat of many animal species.
On the island you may find a snake species, which is not poisonous, lizards, worms and rabbits. The famous turtle Caretta-Caretta and the Monachus-Monachus Monk seal visit the island and have been observed on the northern coast.
This unique paradise took hundreds of years to evolve into what we visit and enjoy today. Staying overnight on the island is forbidden, so are lighting fires, collecting rocks, shells, and plants or walking outside the designated paths.
Show your respect to this little golden oasis and admire its nature!
What Travelers Say About Chrissi
Insta Moments from Chrissi
A trip to the Greek Islands might be incomplete without a visit to captivating Chrissi Island.
If you are in search of a beautiful hideaway with that ‘off the beaten track’ feel,
hop on a boat from Crete and submit yourself to the charms of this blissful Greek fantasy land!