Gavdos, Crete, in the south of Chania prefecture, is the island where you can find some of the most pristine beaches in Greece.
Gavdos, Crete, is a small triangular island in the south of Chania prefecture. It is the southernmost part of Greece.
Gavdos, Crete, lies at a distance of about 50 kilometers from the coastal village of Chora Sfakion. The island is accessible by boat from Chora Sfakion and Paleochora.
The isolation of Gavdos is not the only thing that attracts nature lovers from all over the world. The great beaches of Gavdos are also among the best in Greece.
The unique nature of Gavdos, Crete
The dry land of Gavdos is characterised by its impressive rock formations, its dunes and its magnificent beaches. Among the sparse vegetation, however, you can find many centuries-old cedar trees.
One of the most especial places in Gavdos, Crete, is Tripiti beach. It is located on the southeast part of the island, upon a rocky peninsula. In Tripiti, a huge arch has been carved in the rock by the sea water through the centuries. Apart from a one-of-a-kind natural phenomenon, Tripiti beach is one of the best beaches in South Crete.
To the northwest of Gavdos Island, there is an islet called “Gavdopoula”, or “Little Gavdos” in Greek.
Gavdos, Crete, and its stunning beaches
Gavdos has some of the most pristine beaches in Crete and the Mediterranean. This is one of the reasons that the island is popular among nudists.
Apart from Tripiti beach and its impressive rocky formations, possibly the best known beach in Gavdos is Sarakiniko beach.
Sarakiniko beach lies on the northeast part of the island, in a distance of about 2 km from Gavdos harbour, where the ferry leaves you. You need about 20 minutes to walk from the harbour to Sarakiniko beach.
Sarakiniko is a stunning, large sandy beach, where you can find the best range of amenities in Gavdos, namely a couple of taverns and a mini market. The sea water is generally cooler than in Southern Crete beaches, as is the case with most beaches in Gavdos.
Many of the visitors in Gavdos prefer to camp instead of using one of the few rooms for rent in the island. This is especially true in the Sarakiniko beach area. Since there is no organised camping in Gavdos, free camping is the norm here.
The rich history of Gavdos, Crete
Although a small island, Gavdos has a large and varied history.
Gavdos is inhabited since the Neolithic age. The island was densely populated during the Roman and Byzantine years.
During the Venetian era of Crete, the Saracen pirates managed to occupy the island and turned it through the years into one of their most important bases in the Mediterranean. At those years, practically all of the permanent residents of Gavdos fled away. Today, Sarakiniko beach reminds with its name the long period of the occupation of the island from the Saracen pirates.
Gavdos, Crete, is also mentioned in history books as a key location during the fierce Battle of Crete in World War II. When the nazi troops were marching from the north towards the south of the island, the allied forces managed to evacuate Crete and get to North Africa using Gavdos as a transit station.