|The Greek Islands||Chrissi Island HOME||Ierapetra||Crete|
|The island of Chrissi or Gaidouronisi in Greece|
The island of Chrissi, formerly known as Gaidouronisi (meaning "donkey island") is a small island south of Crete. Chrissi is situated 10 kilometer south of Ierapetra (southeast Crete) and can be reached by small excursion boats that leave from this town during the high season. The excursion boats leave in the morning and return around 16.00 o'clock in the afternoon. The journey takes about an hour. The boats arrive in the new port Vougiou Mati, where there is also a taverna.
Visitors report me that the times that the island was a haven of peace and quiet are over during the summer months when lots of tourists go and visit the island, unless off course you walk for a while to find a more quiet spot. If you do so it is wise to bring sufficient drinking water and a good creme for sun protection.
Chrissi island is 6 km2 large and uninhabited. It is quite a flat island with colored rocks (red, brown, black and gray), sandy beaches and dunes. The highest point of the island is 31 meters. It is a nature reserve and also a beach island. This means that you are to respect the island and not litter it, or collect shells, fossils, ancient artifacts or plants. You also have to stay on the paths. There is 10 kilometer of paths that you can walk on. Camping or an overnight stay is not allowed on Chrissi island and only daytrips are possible.
Chrissi island is blessed with a number of good and clean sandy beaches that are backed by sand dunes and a small cedar forrest. Most of these trees are quite old, at about 200 years. The beaches can be reached on foot. From the old port and the new port tracks lead to the Agios Nikolaos church in the west and to several beaches in the north, south and east.
On the island Chrissi many fossils that are between 350,000 to 70,000 years old can be found, that have formed in volcanic soil. On the north side of the island and the east side are many shells. On the island 120 bird species have been counted and there are sometimes turtles on Chrissi island.
The Agios Nikolaos church dates from the 13th century and is well preserved. Also on the west side of the island are Byzantine salt pans, Minoan ruins, remains of Roman graves and a lighthouse.
South lies Anemomites Beach and Zarathustra Beach, north you find Golden Beach (5 minutes walk from the new harbor), and in the east oposite the islet of Mikronisi is Mikronisi Beach. The waters around these beaches are very shallow and very clear. There are also sunbeds and umbrellas for rent on the island.