Xerokambos, if you prefer isolation from the rest of the world, and a multitude of tiny coves lined with gold sand along the cool waters of the Mediterannean then you are at the right place.
A place to enjoy the sea and the mountain-scapes and peaceful surroundings - as close as you can get to experience the dream of quiet by the sea in Crete.
No nightlife (eating and a drink, the moon, the waves, the air provide that) - no mobiles! (very limited reception). The beaches of Xerokambo are considered as some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches of Eastern Crete.
Xerokambos is a quiet farming settlement on the far southeastern flank of Crete.
The extreme south-east coast of Crete offers a gem with a topography of sweeping cave-filled mountainsides, pausing briefly to house Xerokambos itself before two long sandy beaches and great swimming in beautiful waters.
Its isolation means that tourism is pretty much low key and the busiest period is July and August with a lot of locals visitors as well.
There are but a few places to stay, the same with tavernas. Without a car or motorcycle, there is a long walk if you want to eat at any but the nearest taverna to where you are staying – but you need a vehicle to get to Xerokambos anyway.
How to get there
Accessible from Zakros via 9 km of a narrow road or from Ziros on a spectacular, winding, and recently surfaced road. The road through Xerokambos itself is now surfaced.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Heraklion and Sitia 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.
If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.
If a taxi transfer makes sense, book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.
Where to stay
You will usually find a number of places available to stay, mostly simple rooms and apartments.
We would have suggested our Akti Rooms, a small family complex that is just a few meters away from the sandy beach of Ammatou and is an ideal place for those who seek a quiet and relaxing break next to the beach in a beautiful unspoiled area in this eastern edge of Crete.
Krinakia Villas, four self-catering residences, with stunning sea views of the shining Libyan Sea, private swimming pools, and just steps away from a long sandy beach! This complex is the modest princess of one of the most special places in Crete: Xerokambos.
What to see & do
- Xerokambos has many caves, the splendid neighboring bay making a magical picnic place. A better place to spend time right by the sea, in peaceful surroundings and dramatic mountain backdrop, is hard to imagine.
- Except for the two beautiful beaches at Xerokambos worth visit as well as the Salt Lake or Alatsolimni a large salt lake which is dry during the Summer months and in the Winter floods with water and forms a small lagoon. The lagoon is an ideal refuge for many migratory birds such as flamingos, herons, etc. In Alatsolimni forms and a beautiful beach.
- Flowers lover, then you have to visit the beautiful isolated beach of Katsounaki. To get there you have to park and walk for a few minutes. Between the dunes sprouts the rare and beautiful white sand lily.
- West of the main beach beneath the small church of St. Nikolas in a small bay is the well-known beach of Argilos or Clay because of the clay that exists in that area. Here you will see people covered with clay to make the natural spa a sand bath and massage. Next to Argilos Beach is another superb beach of Gerontolakos with crystal clear waters and fine sand.
- Visit the Toplou Monastery which is located about 11km east of Sitia, one of the wealthiest, most beautiful and most important monasteries in Crete. The historic monastery has a very special architecture with a square shape and it looks more like a castle.
- Small excursions should include the Kapsa Monastery above the gorge of Perivolakia (about 10 km east of Makrygialos) and the remains of the medieval village of Vóila.
- You can also make longer trips to the famous palm beach of Vaï (but don’t go in July or August when it gets sadly crowded), the lively seaside town of Agios Nicolaos on the northern coast, the Lasithi Plateau famous for its 7,000 (or so) windmills, or, closer to ‘home’, the island of Koufonisi, to see the remains of the ancient Roman theatre and to go for a swim from the wonderful sandy beaches.
- Sitia Town is an absorbing place to wander around, doing no more than enjoying atmosphere. The small narrow streets behind the seafront feature the everyday scenes of a Cretan provincial small town: villagers into stock up on news and necessities and stores which cater to their every conceivable need.
- Go to Kato Zakros which apart from having one of the largest archaeological sites just by the beach, has a far-away peaceful, end-of-the-road beach and small seafront, with a handful of tavernas serving all the food that you could wish to enjoy by the sea. Here you will find as well the excavations of the Minoan palace at Kato Zakros and the so-called Gorge of the Death a unique destination for hikers and the end of the European Path E4.
- The Cave of Pelekita is situated at a distance of 5km northeast from Kato Zakros, and is one of the biggest caves in Crete with a length of up to 310m and occupies an area approximately 500m2. The interior is unique as spectacular stone blocks alternate with the stalactites and the stalagmites that decorate it.
- Don't miss to enjoy the traditional, delicious cuisine at Platanakis Cretan Family Tavern at Kato Zakros.
- More exciting activities in lovely East Crete.
Where to eat & drink
Traditional taverna Kastri is excellent for grilled meat and especially fresh fish. You'll receive a warm welcome from the "clean-proud" family; open also in the morning for coffee, possibly breakfast, with relaxing view to the sea.
Another option for food is Liviko View, with a taverna right under their rooms. All tavernas offer many salads and vegetable dishes (vegetarians will have no problem enjoying good food).
There are 2 or 3 more tavernas, depending on the season, in the Xerokambos area.
If you don't mind driving for a half hour then Platanakis Cretan Family Tavern at Zakros is a delicious option.
The reviews for the Xerokambos