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A short distance from Heraklion you can reach the well equipped beaches of Amoudara (5km), Aghia Pelagia (16 km), Lygaria and the quiet Gulf of Made, protected from the winds and offering relaxing warm waters. To the east, equally well equipped with sun beds, beach bars, cafes and restaurants, lie the wide, long beaches of Akti (7 km), Hani Kokkini (12 km) attracting a younger crowd, as well as Malia and Mires more suited to families. The scenery changes dramatically in the south: at Kommos beach –near the archaeological park- you may have a chance to swim alongside a school of Kareta-kareta turtles, whereas Matala -with its numerous natural caves – has been a meeting point for generations of hippies. For more isolation, choose Kokkini Ammos beach, following the path or take a boat from Matala, to Keratokambos and Koudouma, beaches with their wild natural beauty.