Exotic Chryssi island at the south of Crete, with the amazing Golden Beach, Greece; Shutterstock ID 2084304211; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

Chrissi Island

Top choice in Ierapetra

Ierapetra is the launch pad for boat trips to uninhabited Chrissi Island (also known as Gaïdouronisi or Hrysi Island). It is famous for its golden beaches, clear water shimmering in myriad shades of blue, cedar forest, traces of Minoan ruins, and Belegrina, a beach covered with a mountain of shells. There are usually a couple of morning boat departures that give you 4½ hours on the island. Tickets are sold online and by agents around town. Bring a picnic or buy refreshments on board. One company that will take you there is Cretan Daily Cruises (28420 20008, www.cretandailycruises.com boat trip adult/child €25/12, mid-May–Oct) ); their vessels carry 200-400 passengers.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ierapetra attractions

1. Kales Fortress

9.31 MILES

Overlooking the fishing harbour, the crenellated Venetian fort dates from the 17th century but was built atop an older defensive structure reputedly built…

2. Napoleon’s House


This is where Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have stayed incognito with a local family when his ship anchored in Crete for one night in 1798 en route to…

3. Mosque & Turkish Fountain

9.42 MILES

Dominating a triangular plaza at the northern edge of the old quarter, this yellow-sandstone mosque was built by the Turks in the late 19th century and…

4. Old Quarter

9.44 MILES

Inland from the fortress is the labyrinthine old quarter, where you'll see a Turkish fountain, the restored mosque with its minaret, Napoleon's house and…

6. Agios Georgios

9.55 MILES

Built in 1856 atop a much older church possibly dating to the Venetian era, this handsome house of worship is dedicated to St George, the patron saint of…

7. Ierapetra Town Hall

9.59 MILES

Ierapetra's pretty town hall is in the city centre next to a small park and near the ferries to Chrissi Island.

8. Koutsounari Beach

11.51 MILES

The village of Koutsounari, some 7km east of Ierapetra, boasts one of the longest beaches in Crete (4.5km). It's great for sunbathing in relative solitude…