Nestled 73km south of Heraklion, Agios Ioannis is a small coastal village situated near the village of Kapetaniana. Not far from Kapetaniana is the highest peak of Asterousia Mountains, Kofinas Peak. While in Kapetaniana, visitors can explore the Byzantine Church of the Panagia and the Church of the Holy Cross, or take on the challenge of the local climbing track. From Kapetaniana, a dirt road 8km long leads to the settlement of Agios Ioannis. This winding journey offers stunning views of the vast South Cretan Sea, as well as showcasing the region’s rugged landscape. Upon arrival, visitors will find residents from Kapetaniana who spend their summers here, as well as some illegal building. The village is named after the old cavernous monastery of Saint John, known for its impressive frescoes.
Agios Ioannis is built at the base and along the small peninsula of Ponda. Here lies the tranquil beach of Agios Ioannis, with its small pebbles and turquoise waters that make it ideal for fishing. While the beach is not organized, there are a few taverns, a mini market, and some accommodation options in the area, as well as the possibility of camping. For a more secluded beach experience, visitors can head east to the beach of Eligia. This beautiful beach is made up of fine pebbles and is rarely visited. It is located at the exit of the Volahas gorge and boasts a small cave, known as Princess Cave or Gourounospilios (Pig Cave), and a well, Kakopigado. Further east is Agios Antonios, offering even more isolated waters.