Chryssi, Gaidouronisi (donkey island) or just “The island” according to the locals, lies only at 10 nautical miles from Ierapetra in south Lasithi but, once you get there, everything you have left behind seems to be …far away!
The boat trip lasts approximately 50 mins and the occasional approach by striped dolphins gives an even more welcoming feeling. The gold sand (crhyssi=gold) and turquoise waters, the sensitive sand dune – cedar (Juniperus oxycedrus subsp.macrocarpa and Juniperus phoenicea) forests, covering an area of. 358,5 acres (35,85 ha), an ecosystem protected throughout European coasts, make this 5 km2 island unique.
Chryssi is uninhabited but nevertheless, full of life. During our walk we will come across Chukars, (Alectoris chukar) the Erhard’s wall lizard (Podarcis erhardii), Kotschy’s gecko (Cyrtopodion kotschyi), while migratory birds such as the Little egret (Egretta garzetta), and the Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) are frequent visitors. Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae) and Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and other seabirds find in Cryssi a safe nesting place.
The perfume of the sand lilies (Pancratium maritimum) that blossom in August and the millions of colorful shells are also some of the reason you should visit Chryssi. In ancient times the shell of the purple dye murex was used for its purple dye, widely used during the Roman period.
Walking, swimming, snorkeling, getting your feet in the sand, and resting under the shade of the cedars all contribute to this unique experience that will make this small paradise unforgettable.