Situated 37km southwest of Sitia and 32km east of Ierapetra, Kapsas Monastery is a remote and ancient structure situated between Makrigialos and Goudouras, at the mouth of the spectacular Pervolakia Gorge. To reach this secluded spot, visitors can either take the paved road that links Makrigialos to Goudouras or take one of the (rare) bus services from Ierapetra.
A small, secluded beach located just outside the gorge’s exit features crystal clear water and large, round pebbles and is shaded by a number of tamarisk trees. However, nudism is not advised as the beach is watched over by the local monks. Despite this, visitors can enjoy a swim in the Cretan wilderness, surrounded by rocky cliffs and caves.
Kapsas Monastery was initially built in the 13th century by hermits, but was destroyed during a pirate raid in 1471. It was later reoccupied by locals, amongst which was a man named Giovanni Capsas. Today, the monastery is a dependency of Toplou Monastery and is dedicated to the “Beheading of John the Baptist”; it celebrates on August 29. The nearby cave was home to the ascetic Iosif Georgoulakis (or Gerontogiannis), who was said to have performed miracles.