Located 68km southwest of Heraklion, the Red Beach (Kokkini Ammos) is a secluded beach with a beautiful, reddish sand originating from the rocks of the region. As it is vulnerable to western winds, it is best to be prepared with mats and umbrellas. The beach is a favorite destination for hippies, as well as a top-rated nudism-friendly beach. It is also protected under the Natura 2000 international program. To get there, you can either hike the trail beginning north of the settlement of Matala, or take a boat from the Matala harbor. The view from the hill is spectacular, as is the miniature version of the Matala limestone, which has been carved with ancient Minoan and Egyptian sea figures. Near the shore is a large rock called Theosini, with a stunning view to Messara Bay. This rock has broken into parts forming a marine cave, Kouroupi, which is a refuge for the endangered mediterranean seal and wild pigeons.