Chrysi is one of the 81th uninhabited islands of Crete, approximately 8 miles south of Ierapetra. It is 5 km in length and 1 km in width.
The highest point of the island named Kefala, it is 31 m of the ground. It’s a real paradise on earth with beaches of golden and white sand, which are changing to rose in many points thanks to shell fragments and to crystal clear waters. At Chrysi there is an enough big forest of cedar, an area of 350 acres, full of big, impressive, perennial cedars and 49 species of fossils had been found on the volcanic rock of the island. At the north beaches, namely Mpelegrina, Chatzivolaka and Kataprosopo beaches, there is a large number of small shells and those beaches are a little organized with sun beds and sun umbrellas. On the southeast side of the island, Vougiou Mati position, there is the cove for the little boats which transfer the visitors, a traditional restaurant and a very beautiful beach. The daily access at the island is guaranteed thanks to the small ship from Ierapetra and the trip lasts less than an hour. It’s good for the visitor to know that at the Gaidouronisi camp, changing the trail marking, the seashell and sand collection as well are –typically – forbidden. The place is suitable for relaxing and calm and gives the impression to visitor that he is in an exotic island.
On the western and eastern parts of the island, some activity from the Minoan era is visible. On the northwestern side there is a little church dedicated to St Nicholas, which was probably built in the 13th century. To the northeast of the church is an old saltern and the only house on the island, which is built over ancient ruins. To the northern and northwestern side of St Nicholas, there are wells and curved tombs. The largest one is from the Roman period. The prevailing plants are cedar, juniper, mastic tree, either in the form of shrubs or a trees, as well as anemophilous vegetation. The roots of the cedar are at least double in size of their hight. Apart from the long roots, they also have a lot of very thin ones which form a dense net holding the sand. Chrysi has a fantastic cedar forest which is unique in Europe. It is 350 hectares in size and has approximately 14 trees per hectare. The average age of the trees is 200-300 years and the forest covers about a quarter of the island. These trees are a rare variety of Lebanese cedar. They grow up to 10 metres high and the diameter of their trunk is up to 1 metre. Compared to its size, Chrysi has a very large number of plant species which correspond to one twentieth of the Cretan flora. There are more than 100 recorded species. 13 are endemic to Greece, five of them are endemic to Crete and one is endemic to Chrysi, which means that it cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a type of colchicum called Colchicum Costurieri.