The Greek island of Chrysi is one of eighty-one uninhabited islands of Crete and is located eight nautical miles south of Ierapetra.
The locals call it “Gaidouronisi” which means “donkey island.” It is a paradise on earth where one can find beaches with white sand, crystal clear waters, cedar trees, and countless, tiny seashells!
To make it to Chrysi, visitors must board one of the boats making the trip from Crete, and the only way to navigate the island is by foot.
Chrysi boasts the largest naturally-formed cedar forest in Europe
This changed this year as authorities banned visitors to disembark and stay on the island in order to protect the environment and the largest naturally-formed cedar forest in Europe from mass tourism.
The uninhabited Greek island is a protected nature reserve covered by the European initiative, Natura 2000.
The majority of trees are approximately two hundred years old with an average height of up to seven meters (23 feet). Some of the trees are up to three hundred years old and ten meters (33 feet) tall. The density is approximately 28 trees per hectare (69.16/acre).
An important ecosystem, it is the natural habitat of snakes (non-poisonous), lizards, worms, and rabbits with Caretta-Caretta sea turtles and the Monk Seal Monachus-Monachus also visiting the island.
In order to protect the island “from the massive and uncontrolled disembarkation of tourists it was decided that during the period from May 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022 and from sunrise to sunset, it is prohibited for visitors to disembark and stay on the island.”
Tourist boats are only allowed to circumnavigate the island as well as stop near the beaches for passengers to bathe. Bathers can use the beaches but no access to the interior parts of the island is permitted, and visitors may not sit in the shade underneath trees.