Located just twelve kilometers west of Heraklion, Pantanassa Beach is renowned for its crystalline waters, pebble shores, and surrounding cliffs. Its name is derived from the nearby monastery of Panagia Pantanassa, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Before the construction of the port, Pantanassa Beach was a secluded spot, shaded by a small pine forest. Although the port has since “cut” the beach in half, it remains a beautiful spot, with umbrellas and sunbeds, as well as taverns in the nearby port. Visitors can also take the time to explore the monastery, built in the mid-19th century by Nikolaos Xenos with the goal of serving as a charitable institution.
Not far away, the area of Lefkadia is home to Helidoni Beach, a stunning yet lesser-known spot. It features a sandy and pebbly shore, as well as a rocky bottom perfect for snorkeling. From here, visitors can also explore the ruins of the old Paliokastro castle, accessible via a trail from the small pine grove. With its tranquil atmosphere, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.