Agios Nikitas is a small village located 65 kilometers south of Heraklion, on the east side of the wild and arid Asterousia Mountains. It is reachable by taking a 15 kilometer dirt road that starts at the village of Ahendrias and ends at the Monastery of St. Nikitas. This route is characterized by steep cliffs and sharp rocks that provide a typical landscape of the Asterousia Mountains. The monastery was originally a hermitage for monks from the monastery of Koudoumas and is situated on a hill with a stunning view of the South Cretan Sea. Inside the church of the monastery, built in a cave and dating back to 1640, one can find ancient frescoes and a roof darkened allegedly by pirate attacks. In addition, there is a small recess inside the church from which holy water flows. The climate in the area is dry enough to support mango and avocado trees in the monastery gardens.
The Monastery of St. Nikitas is also the starting point of a short path with 230 steps that leads to the beach of Agios Nikitas. This pebbly beach is known for its crystal clear green waters and is a popular spot for nudism, although it is considered offensive to the monks. There is also a twin beach to the east, called Kalogerou Arolithos, which is mainly accessible by boat or swimming. This beach is separated by a large rock, allegedly with the footprints of Saint Nikitas’ horse. Further east, there is a small cottage house with a small pebbly beach just below it, known as Hiromili or ‘hand mills’, that is almost always empty and secluded. On the other side of the beach, you can find the cape Gerani and its lonely palm tree overlooking the Libyan Sea.
If you take the road west of St. Nikitas, you will reach the white-washed chapel of St. Anthony and a small carobwood after 300 meters. Adjacent to the chapel, there is a stream surrounded by a colony of Cretan date palms, called Theophrastus (Phoenix theophrastis). In close proximity, there are several small coves (Kalami) ideal for swimming and fishing. The closest place to find water and food, apart from the monastery, is the village Maridaki, 2 kilometers to the east.