Chrissi (Greek: Χρυσή or Chrisi, "golden", also Γαϊδουρονήσι - Gaidouronisi "donkey island") is an uninhabited Greek island approximately 15 kilometres (9 miles) south of Crete close to Ierapetra in the South Cretan Sea. Approximately 700 metres (2,300 feet) east of the island is the island of Mikronisi.Administratively these islands fall within the Ierapetra municipality in Lasithi.
From the moment a visitor comes to Chrissi, he gets magnetized by the exotic natural landscape dominated by cedar, the golden sand with the wonderful shells and the light aquamarine water.The Natural images and the rhythms of nature, immediately give the visitor a newfound sense of liberation.
A walk in the woods, swimming in crystal clear water combined with the soft smell of cedar and fresh oxygen, complete the holiday experience of the visitor, offering him a deep relaxation feeling that becomes unforgettable. This is the reason why chrissi island welcomes more and more visitors from around the world every summer.
On the western part of the island is the chapel of Saint Nicholas (estimated to date to the 13th century). There are also a salt pan, an old port, some Minoan ruins, a lighthouse and a Roman cemetery. Due to the shallow waters around Chrissi, snorkelling and diving is a popular pastime. The Belegrina, Hatzivolakas, and Kataprosopo bays have a wide diversity of shells.
The highest point on the island is called Kefala ("head") and it is 31 metres (102 feet) above sea level. From over there the visitor can enjoy an impressive view of the Libanon cedar forest, the last existing in Europe. The Cedar forest of Chrisi is very rare in its expanse and structure. It covers almost 35 hectares and its density is approximately 28 trees per hectare. Their average height is 3 to 7m tall and their average age is at least 300 years old. Cedars have a root system that spreads across an area which is more than double the height of the tree. Apart from the big roots, a huge amount of tiny roots forms a complex web that keeps the sand in place.
The number of plant species of Chrissi is relatively high compared to its size, comprising 1/20 of the Cretan flora. Many species are rare and endemic, therefore protected by international directives and laws.
For the last centuries Chrisi was practically deserted, while much earlier there were small settlements. On the western and eastern part, broken pieces of pottery have been found, which shows activity during the Minoan times. In the northwest there is a chapel of Agios Nikolaos, possibly built in the 13th century. Northeast of the chapel and near the shore there is an even older salt pan and the only house on the island, which is built on ancient ruins that include a small building and a small port. South and southwest of Agios Nikolaos there are some wells and a few carved graves. The largest one dates from the Roman times.
For all mentioned above, Chrissi poses the most favourite place of Ierapetra's visitors every year.If you are interested to live the dream, do not hesitate to book via our booking form.