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The Exotic Islets of Crete

GavdosThe Greek island of Crete is surrounded by more than one hundred small and larger islets, with the majority of them located near the municipality of Lasithi. Most of them are uninhabited, while others are considered wildlife sanctuaries or archaeological sites of great cultural importance. Gavdos is the only inhabited islet but a lot of campers visit Koufonisi and Gaidouronisi as well.
Gavdos, called Ogygia during ancient times, is also known as Calypso’s island. If you ever wondered why Odysseus stayed with Calypso for so many years, forgetting all about his homeland, then you have to visit Gavdos and witness its beauty with your own eyes. There are several boats making the daily trip from Crete to Gavdos.
Gavdos is a place to meet interesting people and forget about all the anxiety and conformity of everyday life. The islet’s visitor will enjoy the small taverns and semi-hippie lifestyle, but above all, the beaches of Ai Giannis and Sarakiniko. Most tourists choose to stay in the beach of Sarakiniko because it is closer to the tavern and the mini-markets. On the other hand, Ai Giannis is a more secluded beach, where the nearest trace of civilization is just a 15 minute walk away.
Gaidouronisi can be easily accessed by boat through the port of Ierapetra. Even though the islet is not inhabited, it is a very famous tourist destination for campers. The sand is white or sometimes pink due to the crushed shells, the turquoise waters are crystal clear, the cedars look like natural sculptures and a sense of isolation always lingers in the air.
Gaidouronisi is the perfect spot for stargazing, away from the pesky lights of civilization. Even though camping is not technically legal on the island, a lot of people decide to take the risk and stay overnight so they can have a swim when the sun rises.
There are some taverns on the island but no one actually knows when they are going to open, so if you are planning on staying, it is a good idea to prepare some dry food for the trip.
koufonisi crete
Finally, the uninhabited islet of Koufonisi has a long history. It is located across from Makrigialos and its landscape resembles Gaidouronisi, with sand dunes leading to beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters.
During ancient times, the island used to be called Leuce and was an important center for the production of porphyra, a red dye coming from shells, but also a place for sponge fishing. Archaeologists found a well-preserved ancient theater, ancient houses, laboratories for processing porphyra and many other important discoveries. Unfortunately, there are no daily scheduled trips to Koufonisi, just a local who takes people across with his boat.

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