Keratokambos is a tiny resort or maybe better fishing village and the tranquility is its chief asset in southern of Heraklion, Crete.
If you like peace and quiet and have a few books to read this is your kind of place.
Keratokambos located 72km southeast of Heraklion, a few miles east of Tsoutsouras and Ano Viannos.
Keratokambos, with the nearby seaside settlement of Kastri, has become a popular family destination during the last years, especially due to the long sandy beach in front of the village, several kilometers long, stretches to both directions.
Keratokambos (and Kastri) is the harbor of the residents of the mountainous village of Ano Viannos, located further north.
There are many places in Crete that require a love of winding, precipitously-edged roads and the driving of them, to reach.
Keratokambos - in the last 12 kilometers 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, a few taverns, 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.
Keratokambos in the 1950s hosted only warehouses for carob, citrus, oil, etc. The small local harbor was used for transferring the products to the bigger towns with cargo ships, as there was not any road network.
The name Keratokambos means Carob Fields, named after the locust trees that were grown here to produce carobs. There is a second version on the derivation of the name: Kerato means horn in Greek. Thus, the locals say that the name comes after the towering steep rock, called Kerato, which is located north of the village, in the area of Vigla, reminding of a huge horn. On the top of Vigla there are the ruins of a Venetian fortress, while on its base there is a large cave, where archaeological findings have been extracted. The cave Nychteridospilios has rich stalagmite decoration and there are many bats. It is believed that the horn was built on the ancient city Kerea. This city, according to a third version, gave its name to the Keratokambos.
Source: Cretan Beaches
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.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Heraklion Airport. Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Heraklion Port. Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our partner website.
In case you would like to book a taxi transfer, then you could book it online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our website.
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.
- Visit the remarkable Viannos Art Gallery - Savvas Petrakis The dream of a man who everyone called him crazy when he confided his idea. The example of willpower and offer by Sava Petrakis!
- Keratokambos and Kastri are built in a valley, formed at the exit of several wild gorges. Keratokambitis river crosses the valley through the rugged gorge of Portela. In the region of Richtra you can see a beautiful waterfall of 10m height, which is worth visiting (in spring). Another impressive gorge of the area is that of Kavousi and this of “Piskopi Pidima” (i.e. Bishop’s Jump), which is an extension of Portela. Its name is taken after a myth according to which the Turks once chased a bishop, who reached with his horse the edge of the gorge. He wanted to avoid falling into the hands of the Turks and decided to jump from the cliff. However, the horse made a huge leap to the opposite side and they both survived. For this miracle, the Bishop built the church of St. George near the gorge.
- 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 - a great view also.
- Slightly further - visit the Omalos Plateau (of eastern Crete - not to be confused with one of the same names 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!).
- More exciting activities in Heraklion Region.
Where to eat & drink
- The tavernas on the seafront. Taverna Nikitas about 200 meters to the left (east) as you walk out of Komis, did well and gave us a bill that pleased us at the same time. Excellent fresh fish, friendly service (maybe that was us??!!), the lovely table under a tree at the water's edge.
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 two, you become one of the locals (well...almost!).
The reviews for the Keratokampos