Situated 14km west of Heraklion, Paliokastro is a picturesque beach with pebbles which is shaped in the exit of a lush valley crossed by torrents descending from the village Rogdia. The beach is well protected on both sides by tall cliffs and faces east. To the east of the beach, there is a huge limestone rock which is the site of the old Paliokastro Venetian fortress. This fort used to defend the Bay of Heraklion against enemy attacks and is believed to have been built on the acropolis of the ancient town Kytaeon.
This beach is a beloved destination for the people of Heraklion, who visit it on a daily basis with their families. There are a few taverns that serve traditional food and several small hotels and rooms. Visitors will also find a mini market and an old limekiln, which is one of the best-preserved buildings of its kind in Crete.
The sea is deep and its western part has very large pebbles. The rocky seabed is a great spot for fishing and snorkeling. There are also natural ‘stairs’ formed from rocks below the fort where divers can jump from heights ranging from 1 to 20 meters. Additionally, between the rocks and the beach, there is a tall and narrow dark cave which may have been part of a cavernous tunnel leading from the castle to the sea as an escape route.
Reaching Paliokastro is easy since the Heraklion – Chania highway passes nearby with a separate exit to the beach.