Maridaki is a small seaside settlement located on the eastern side of Asterousia Mount, 65km south of Heraklion and in the west side of Tsoutsouras Bay. The village can be accessed via a 15km long dirt road that starts before the village Ahedrias (near village Mesohorio). This picturesque route passes among the towering cliffs and wild rocks of Asterousia, and leads to the monastery of Saint Nikitas. The settlement is also referred to as Saint Panteleimon, named after the local church. It has a wild and dry landscape, but a spring and a small stream bring potable water to the beach all year round, creating an oasis with perrenial plane trees along its banks. At the place of the springs, there is a large square with 200 years old plane trees and a small tavern.
The main attraction of Maridaki is its beautiful beach with fine pebbles and huge vertical rocks around. Along the shore, several coves are formed with sand, where you can find shade. However, be aware that goats pass over the edges of the cliffs, causing frequent landslides. The sea is quite deep, but also very cool because of the stream. In Maridaki you will find showers, a small coffee shop, a tavern and some rooms to let. There are two more beaches located at the base of Cape Kerkelos north of the settlement, in the area called Nisakia (i.e. islets) named after two small rocks in the sea.
If you come to Maridaki, be sure to visit the springs and the church of Saint Panteleimon. If you have a car, you should also visit Saint Nikitas (2km from Maridaki) with the homonymous monastery and the awesome beach of Agios Nikitas, the beautiful palmgrove of Saint Anthony (3km) and the chapel of the Holy Cross (1km outside the village). Additionally, you can walk to Tsoutsouras from Maridaki through a well-built footpath (20′), passing through a fantastic landscape with wild carob trees, caves, dry grassland and superb sea views. One of the caves along the route has been associated with tales of mystery and metaphysical phenomena. It is called Drakospilia (Dragon’s Cave) and is located in the middle distance. It is believed to hide a fabulous treasure and the tomb of a great king. The locals also say at the place where Tsoutsouras is lastly visiblefrom the sea, if you go by boat in the sunset you will see the dome of a church in the water coming from the lost city of Queen Achendra.