Just a 4km east of the popular beaches of Lentas and 69km south of Heraklion there is 'hidden' beach with a very different character. Trafoulas is one of the most beautiful and well hidden beaches of the region, which has recently become a popular destination for trekkers and nature-lovers.
Getting there is a bit of a hassle, but who wants gain without pain? ;)
There are two roads leading to Trafoulas: the first (and recommended) starts just a few meters before you descent to the beach of Lentas, to your left. The dirt road will lead you to a few more ‘hidden’ beaches and coves before you reach the small port of Lentas. There is no sign, but the last uphill dirt road you will see before you enter the port will lead you to the entrance of the gorge. Most probably you will see cars parked there (and parking spaces are limited!). The second road starts from the village of Krotos and is a bit shorter but also more complicated to find.
Park your car, or prepare your legs for more walking if you decided to walk from Lentas (that's an extra hour, at least), and follow the wooden staircase that will lead you down to the gorge. When you enter the gorge, you are just 10-15 minutes away from a lovely beach!
Once you get there, the impressive rocky hills with their extraordinary colors and 'mysterious' caverns are challenging you to hike and explore. One of the caves has even become a proper summer house for a couple of part-time hermits, as we were informed (you will see their little veranda from the beach!).
According to a legend, Queen Cleopatra visited this region with her three favorite animals: a lion, a crocodile and an elephant. She loved it here so much, that she decided to leave her three pets to guard the coast. Her crocodile -huge and petrified- still guards the beach of Trafoulas (just use your imagination and you might see him!) and awaits the return of his Queen.
Another Cretan legend claims that Trafoulas was where King Minos and his men came to enjoy their summer baths, while the neighboring Loutra beach was preferred by Minos's wife, Pasiphae, and her girlfriends.
The outworldly landscape of Trafoulas definitely allows many mind-trips of what this place might have been in the distant past and what its rocky hideouts might still conceal. For sure, it is one of the best places to take a break from the bustling neighboring beaches and enjoy a perfect swim in crystal clear waters, surrounded by the 'harsh' natural beauty of Crete! Spending a whole day there is recommended, just to see how the colors change as the sun travels...