Keratokambos, Tsoutsouros, Arvi, Kastri and Tertsa
All towns have beaches which are not crowded even in summer. In each of the villages you will find a few accommodation agencies, a few smaller hotels and several taverns. The five villages are also inhabited in winter, according to my information there is an open tavern in each village also in winter.
The inhabitants mainly live from agriculture. Tomatoes, bananas and cucumbers are grown in thousands of greenhouses. These plantations, along with the beaches, cliffs, deep valleys and high mountains, characterise the landscape. Tourism and fishing play a rather subordinate role. In recent years, however, tourism has also become increasingly important here, while fishing has continued to decline. The villages are each reached by a paved road from the main road Heraklion - Ano Viannos - Ierapetra, which runs several hundred metres up. Since about 2009 the villages are connected with each other by a good road. However, the connections are not well signposted everywhere.
Accommodation can be booked in most of the small villages rather locally. Regular guests usually book by phone or email. But you can always check Booking.com to see if you can find something cheap in advance.
Keratokambos and Kastri
The two villages Keratokambos and Kastri on the south coast of Crete have grown together completely despite their small size. They are often called Keratokambos for simplicity's sake. It is with about 100 houses. It is the largest settlement in the area. In Keratokambos and Kastri there are several good beaches and some small shops. Good and cheap food can be found in the Souvlaki-Bude opposite the beach in Kastri. But on my last visit in 2014 it was closed. Keratokambos has a small harbour and some bigger hotels, which can also be booked from Germany on the internet. Recommended in Keratokambos is the tavern Nikitas (very cheap and tasty dishes). More and more regular guests come to Keratokambos and Kastri. They appreciated the peace and beauty of the area. Some of the tourists also come in camper vans and similar vehicles.
The village of Tsoutsouros is on the rise! In winter there is a lot of building going on, every season there are a few more accommodations, bars and taverns. Almost everything takes place on the promenade around the relatively large harbour, but in the last few years the slope behind the village has also been built. There is a well developed coastal road to Keratokambos (about 11 km down from the main road). Between the two places there are some small bays with beaches, where even in summer there is little activity. The area is also appreciated by camping bus owners and motor home vacationers.
Like the two villages described above, Arvi also has a harbour and several dozen houses. In Arvi there is less tourism, the area is characterized by greenhouses and other agriculture. Especially on the 12 km long road to Keratokambos you can see hundreds of greenhouses. There are some nice accommodations, taverns and beaches. Arvi is, like the other four villages, very cheap. The road to Keratokambos is signposted and paved up to a few meters. Also the road to Tertsa is passable all year round and since 2010 almost completely tarred. Unfortunately Tertsa is not signposted in Arvi. The best is to ask in a tavern for the way, it is not quite easy to find: Not the road directly at the coast is well passable, but the other one some hundred metres inland.
Tertsa is one of the smallest places on Crete directly at the sea. In about 10 houses you can rent simple rooms and go out for dinner. Tertsa was a hippie village. During my last visit in 2013, however, there was not much to see (this visit was in winter, though). The place has a good, long beach (sand with stones). Very nice and helpful for questions about the area is the host of the tavern a little outside the center of Tertsa towards Mirtos. The big fruits on the small trees on the terrace in front of the tavern are papayas. If you ask him about the fruits, you can try them for free.