The magnificent Chrisi or Gaidouronisi, with the wonderful beaches and the blue-green seawater, is a very popular destination for the locals and the tourists.
The small and flat Chrisi Island is about 8 nautical miles in the south of Ierpatetra. From the beginning of May until the end of September there are boats every day from Ierapetra to the jetty in the southern side of Chrisi, in Vougiou Mati, and the trip lasts about one hour.
A kiosk of the Ierapetra municipality and a tavern with food and drinks are only in Chrisi.
The island is about 5 kilometers long, 1 kilometer wide and its total area is about 5 square meters. The highest place of the island is about 31 meters, in the east of Kefala where the forest guard-house is. You can admire the view of the whole island from there. Following the path (about 10 kilometers), you will find the exotic beaches of the island.
There are many beaches in the island. There is a sandy beach with umbrellas in the south, next to the small port. After that there are also some small bays. The most famous beach is that of Chrisi Ammos. It is in the northern side of the village. Chrisi Ammos is full of shells. The Chatzivolakas beach is in the west. It is a rocky beach and surrounded by perennial cedar trees. The isolated Kataprosopo beach is in the north-east. The small island of “Mikronisi” is opposite of that beach.
The sea around the island is not deep. It is about 100 meters deep, 1 kilometer to the north and 500 meters to the south.
Almost the whole Chrisi Island is consisted of sand. Its sand is colorful and, in some areas, golden, brown-red, grey-green or black. There are fossils of 49 kinds of seashells, limpets, corals and sea urchins in the northern beaches and they replace the sand. The form of the island and the soil were created by a volcano explosion a thousand years ago when Chrisi was sunk in the Libyan Sea.
The flora of the island is also interesting. There are cedar and cypress trees and plants that grow on sand. The density of the cedars is estimated to 14 trees in an acre.
120 bird species have been recorded in the island and the Caretta- Caretta turtles hatch their eggs at the beaches of Chrisi. In the past the endangered species of the Mediterranean Monachus-Monachus seals visited the island but now they rarely appear.
Traces of an old settlement from the Minoan Era are in the east and west of Chrisi. It flourished due to the commerce of the red coloring substance that came from the shells and was used in the painting of royal clothes (i.e. “porfira” in Greek).
The only house in Chrisi was built on ancient facilities and is near the Agios Nikolaos church, in the north-east.
Wells and carved graves have been found in the island. The largest is from the Roman Era.
The Agios Nikolaos church is in Chrisi, in the west of the Chatzivolakas beach. It is possibly from the 13th century. An old salt pan and the lighthouse of the island are next to the church.