Vai is located 55km from Natura cottages, on the far North /East part of the island. It is the most famous beach in east Crete, as its main feature is the large palm grove with the Cretan Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti). Its name derives from the word vai, meaning palm in Greek. The palm grove is the largest in Europe with approximately 5000 trees, while there are smaller colonies in other parts of Crete and in Southwest Turkey. According to the legend, the trees have grown from discarded date stones thrown into the sea by Saracen pirates. However, the palm grove is more than 2000 years old and the pirates are more recent. Thus this hypothesis has changed and the Saracens have been replaced with Phoenicians, that governed the Mediterranean Sea 20 centuries ago.
The heavenly palm grove is planted in a wide valley watered by the local river for centuries. An exotic sandy beach with whitish sand is formed near the shore, backed by the edenic palm forest, reminding of African and Caribbean seascapes. The entire region is owned by the powerful Toplou Monastery, which is the largest landowner in eastern Crete. The 15th-century monastery is built like a fortress, and hosts a great collection of Byzantine icons.
Ammoudi is located 5 km of Natura cottages towards the east , just next to the road connecting Makrigialos to Goudouras. It's main beach is also called Spilia Drakou (Dragon's Cave), due to a large cave 500m north of the beach and the homonym tavern next to it (great choice for meat lovers). There are 2 more secluded coves west of Dragon's Cave beach, both accessed on foot or dirt track.
The last 2 years there is a beach bar there called Cavo Bianco… good music and lounge/ dance atmosphere :
The beaches are stunning with fine golden sand and are not easily seen from the road. The area is secluded and is ideal for families. You can also walk to the next small coves on the west, which are more secluded. The beaches are surrounded by high cliffs and smooth white rocks of limestone and the seabed is sandy.
There is healthful clay one can break of from the cliff, mix with water and apply to one's skin to dry as a natural spa.
Xerokambos is a place of natural beauty, 43km from Natura cottages. on the far end of South East Crete.
It is characterised with all kind of beaches with crystal clear waters. Xerokambos means actually ‘dry plain’. The name came from the fact that this region had been a dry place for a lot of years. The beaches of Xerokambos and the area around it are considered as some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches of Eastern Crete and the Mediterranean. It has beaches with golden sand, with white sand, with small pebbles and a beach with sandy clay for those who enjoy a natural spa.
It is an old settlement, recorded first in the 1583 Venetian census. The ancients were certainly aware of the beauty of this place and its important position, the area has been inhabited since Minoan times. The wild beauty of the steep mountains and canyons surrounding Xerokambos are combined with fantastic beaches, coastal bays, palm trees and olive groves in peaceful surroundings. This creates a fabulous scenery transforming the area of Xerokambos into a paradise of South East Crete. The place is also an ideal stop for vistors doing a tour from Makrigialos towards the other paradise close by, Kato Zakros.
Only 2 km from Natura cottages is the beach of Diaskari! Makrigialos’ highlights are its beaches and although most people head for the easy option – the sandy, Blue Flag Long Beach (Makrigialos main beach) that runs parallel to the town – there are better, less crowded options like the peaceful Diaskari beach, a five-minute drive away or 20 minutes walking to east.
The rewards on reaching Diaskari are a crowd-free slice of seaside heaven. It hosts a small taverna and fantastic beach cabanas with sun loungers that tempt you to stay a while longer in their relaxing sway.
The far end part of the beach is for nudist swimmers... On thee hill north of Diaskari and coming all the way down to the sand, archaeologists found in 1972 a late Minoan settlement with important buildings.
Itanos beaches are located 56 km from Natura cottages and 2 km north from Palm beach Vai. The sandy beach of the ancient town of Itanos or Erimoupolis. There is another longer sandy beach that you can get to – on foot – over the low hill to your left, where the main road stops.
In fact, there are 3 beaches here: the first is the one at the end of the road, the second is reached walking to the north and the third is also reached walking south behind the small fortress. The third one is also suitable to spend time under the shade of the palm-trees.
However the best selection for swimming is the northern, sandy beach. The bottom of the sea is rich. There is a whole ancient city down there giving home to a variety of fish. It is a paradise for the lovers of diving.