Located south of Ierapetra, Chrysi (Gaidouronisi) Island is one of Crete’s 81 uninhabited islands. You can get to Chrysi mainly from Ierapetra by boat from mid May to late October. It is prohibited to take anything natural from Chrysi with you or stay overnight.
Chrysi Island is clearly visible during good weather from the south-western coast of Crete. The island is very flat (average altitude from sea level is 10 metres, the highest point is 30 metres) and it has been named after the colour of the sand and volcanic rock. The main island is five kilometres long and one kilometer wide. The above picture has been taken from a mountain behind of Ierapetra.
Crete is seen in the background in the photo above.
There is a dock for boats on the southern shore of the island. A tavern and local souvenirs are available close to the dock.
The main beach on the northern shore is called “The Golden Beach” for its fine sand, but when northern winds are blowing there are also good places for swimming and sun bathing along the southern shore. Therefore the island is a good place to visit regardless of wind direction, but there may be cancellations of boats due high winds and storms.
Crete appears huge and gorgeous from Chrysi In the picture are the mountains behind of Ierapetra. Crete seems to be very near. Mikronisi Island is 700 metres east of Chrysi is a nesting place for hundreds of seagulls. The boat route to Chrysi goes between the two islands.
The island is mostly covered by fine sand and full of low growing trees
Almost 200 hundred years old Lebanon cedar trees are growing on the island. There are signs of Minoan and Roman periods and a chapel which was built on the 14th century. Chrysi was a salt producing island in the past, from which there are visible remnants on the island.
For pirates Chrysi was a hiding place and there are numerous shipwrecks around the island. There are a lot of sea shells around the shores of the island, and plenty of fossils have been found from the surrounding sea.
The Libyan Sea opens up to the south of the island. The turquoise sea is clean and inviting.
Chrysi Island is here pictured from the eastern hill to the west. The Golden Beach is on the right. Panoramic picture of the island reveals an interesting wetland area on the left, which has been tried to protect by embankments, perhaps as a part of salt producing.
From Ierapetra to Chrysi
Departure from Ierapetra Harbour is at 10:00. The boat is relatively big and there is a small restaurant offering snack and food for passengers. The trip is quite pleasant either on upper deck or inside the boat. It takes about 50 minutes to get to Chrysi, and the return trip begins at 16:00. The boat fee was 25 Euros per person in 2009.