Islands around Crete





Many of the small islands that you can see off the coast of Crete are protected National Parks or Kri-Kri reservations. To visit these, you’ll need a permit which you will only get for a good reason. You are allowed to visit Spinalonga, Gavdos and Chryssi normally, and all three islands are serviced by small ferries.

Here, I’ve compiled some information about some of these satellite islands:

Turkuru: Lying offshore from Chania, it has a castle, and is populated only by Kri-Kri (the wild, native goats of Crete).

Dhia: 12km off the coast from Iraklio, this island is now a Kri-Kri island. In Minoan times Dhia was inhabited.

Spinalonga: A few kilometres north of Elounda, Spinalonga was for a long time a leper colony.

Agia Pandes: a small Kri-Kri island to the west of Crete.

Kouponisi: Far to the south west, off Xerokambos, this island was inhabited in antiquity (Minoans and Romans), but is now uninhabited.

Chryssi: Also known as Donkey Island, Gaidoronisi, Krissi. Just offshore from Ierapetra, Chryssi has daily ferries in the summertime. In winter it is uninhibited. Good hikes, great beaches – well worth a day trip.

Gavdos: The biggest of all the satellite islands and the only one with a permanent population (approximately 45 people living on 50.4 km² of land). You can go to Gavdos on ferries and postal ships the whole year round. Gavdos has little tourism and enjoys a traditional life. There is a very basic shop, some tavernas and a few rooms to rent. Most tourists in Gavdos camp out at the beach. Ferries sail most frequently from Chora Sfakia, but you can also catch a ferry from Paleochora. Altogether, there are about four connections a week in summer and two in winter. When the weather is bad, the ferries will not run. So bear in mind that a short trip to Gavdos may turn out to be a longer one than you anticipated! The sea between Crete and Gavdos can be a little rough, and many tourists get seasick on the small boats.

Gavdopoula: Gavdopoula is Gavdos’ little sister island (2.7 km²), and is uninhabited. If you want to visit it, you can hire a fishing boat in Gavdos.

Pondikonisi, Imeri Grambousa, Agria Grambousa: These three islands are not too far from the deserted north west coast of Crete.  

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