If you’re lucky enough to cross these south beaches on a water canoe, you’ll be surprised to see a green belt of palm trees interrupting the reddish brown, rocky and barren terrain of the mountain. This important palm forest marks your arrival at the wonderful Agios Nikitas beach, below the monastery of the same name. The monastery is green with olives and other fruit-bearing trees and includes a cluster of cells where travellers can stay after contacting the monastery caretaker, who lives there permanently.

A small path of 230 steps starts at the monastery and leads to the beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches of the south coastline of Crete, featuring pebbles and visible markings of tectonic movement on a chasm that dives sharply into the sea. On Agios Nikitas beach in the springtime, stock-raisers lead their sheep to the sea, to clean and sanitise them.

If you walk a few meters west of the main beach, you’ll come across a solitary palm tree, an emblem of St. Nikitas. The easiest path to reach it (if you are not already on a canoe) is to drive through the most exciting route of the Municipality (a rough dirt road) that starts from Achentrias and leads to the Monastery of Agios Nikitas after 15km.