Chrissi: learn here everything you need to know about the pristine island of the donkeys

Emerald waters, golden beaches and cedar trees. The famous islet of Chrissi, which is also known as Gaidouronissi for its many donkeys that leave peacefully there, is a virgin paradise that is definitely worth the visit by boat. If you want to spend some hours in an unforgettable day trip in Chrissi by boat, read further to learn everything you need to know about this exotic destination.

Location and how to get there

Chrissi is located in a close distance to Ierapetra, in eastern-southern Crete, in the Libyan Sea. It is included in the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas for its natural beauty, its unique ecosystem and its rare flora and fauna. You can go to Chrissi by boat from Ierapetra. Boats depart daily, and the route lasts about one hour. As the islet is uninhabited without accommodation facilities, you can go there only for a day excursion.


Today, the islet is uninhabited, but during the Minoan Times, there was human activity as the archaeological excavations revealed. Traces of buildings, remains of stone-built walls and artefacts prove that people lived there during the antiquity. In the Medieval Times, Chrissi was used as a pirate base, and were found there ruins of pirate ships.

The cedar forest

70% of the Chrissi’s surface is covered with cedars, making the islet the largest cedar forest in Europe. The landscape is breathtaking as the cedars are perfectly combined with the golden sand and the turquoise sea waters in a totally exotic, coming from Africa, scenery. You can explore the cedar forest walking around designated paths.


The boat leaves the visitors on the southern side of the island at Vougiou Mati, but from there you can walk in a few minutes to the stunning beaches of the islet and swim in crystal-clear shallow waters, sunbathe under the warm sun and enjoy water-sports facilities. The most famous beach is Chrissi Ammos (=Golden Sand), which has golden, pink and white sand and is organised with umbrellas, sunbeds and a beach bar. Chatzivolakas, Kataprosopo and Kendra Beach are pristine beaches with impressive rocky formations.

Agios Nikolaos church

Worth visiting is also the church of Agios Nikolaos, which dates back to the 13th century and was constructed on the site of an ancient building. Near the church, there are ancient graves that date back to the Roman Times. In a short-minute walk, you can also admire the lighthouse that is the ideal scenery to take a lot of romantic photos.