- Region : Crete
- Prefecture: Heraklion
- Municipality: Vianos
- Population: 240
There are many places in Crete which require a love of winding, precipitously-edged roads and the driving of them, to reach. Keratokambos - in the last 12 kilometres approach, will not disappoint the visitor in this respect, but the road is perfectly well surfaced and manageable as it winds down to the beach.
This is a small place - popular with Greek visitors as well as those from further away. But small is the word. The place offers just a handful of buildings, two shops, five tavernas and two cafes when it is in full swing.
There are good places to stay, a long slender sand and pebble beach. It's an attractive location, the mountain backdrop and the stretch of taverna tables lining the water's edge in the partial shade of pine trees. The tavernas offer refreshingly good prices for fine, fresh fish
How to get there
A 73 km drive from Heraklion via Knossos, Arkalochori and Viannos - with a final long, scenic stretch of steep, tightly winding road. The stretch from Hondros follows the gorge - worthwhile viewing!
The journey should take around 2 1/2 hours excluding pleasurable stops on the way. By bus you can only go as far as Hondros, not all the way to Keratokambos, so hiring a car is highly advisable.
Where to stay
There is a special and unique experience at the country inn-like Komis Studios, on the small road along the sea front (turn left as you arrive in Keratokambos). The stone walled, wonderfully planted gardens and white building announce the place.
Apartments are furnished in a warm style, using many traditional materials - best views are from the first floor rooms. There is also a bar and restaurant, sit in this splendid garden and you'll enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
The place is the brainchild of Komis Deukalion ("Komis" in fact means Count!) who has put a priority on creating an ecologically efficient hospitality business. Wind and sun energies are harnessed and a biological waste treatment plant is used.
What to see & do
Eat fresh fish, swim, walk, hike, climb, read, paint, photograph, sunbathe (do people still ?!) - you know, it's somewhere to relax.
Take the road to Tsoutsouros and get a sample of noise and beach bustle if you need to! Tsoutsouras is truly a savage contrast to Keratokambos and probably only worth seeing if you want to know what can go wrong when the word "aesthetics" is totally unknown. Ghastly!
Explore the quiet and clearly rural villages in the mountains. See the Viannos statue memorial - it is one of a kind, impressive, moving and striking - great view also.
Slightly further - visit the Omalos Plateau (of eastern Crete - not to be confused with the one of the same name in western Crete). Ask for directions, while you have a plate of their small cheese pies "sfakian pies", at one of the cafes in Kato Simi.
A slow and extremely bumpy unmade road (take it easy in that rental car!) leads you up to this surreal landscape. Make sure you have plenty of daylight left, two hours leaves a good margin, this is not a road to try at night.
You can take a different (quite interesting, with breathtaking views) way down, heading towards Embaros (ask the old man who is often at the little church in the plateau for directions). Have a stop at the little kafeneio in Embaros (we had an excellent greek coffee - treated - and an interesting discussion about politics here!).
Where to eat & drink
The tavernas on the seafront. Taverna Nikitas about 200 metres to the left (east) as you walk out of Komis, did well, and gave us a bill that pleased at the same time. Excellent fresh fish, friendly service (maybe that was us??!!), lovely table under a tree at water's edge.
Komis studios welcome their guests and all others - menu looks good. (restaurant open in July & August).
Full in the summer, many Greek visitors choose to get away from the cities here. That really means August. But otherwise this is a good place to waft away some days beside a quiet beach, where there are choices of where to eat or drink and great walking, running and swimming for those so inclined.
It's quiet, but there is a hint of a village so after a day or too, you become one of the locals (well...almost!).