Krambousa, a little island adventure

Krambousa, Gramvousa, call it what you like but that’s what its name sounds in Greek.

It is the little island at the right tip of the Ypsario amphitheater housing the Golden Beach, Panagia and Potamia.
The roughly 250 meters long, somewhat crescent-shaped islet appears unwelcoming seen from nearby: it’s all cliffs, some 4-5 floors tall, from all sides.
But, there is a concrete jetty on the northern face, looking toward the Golden Beach, and from it stairs lead to the top and the chapel of St. Daniel – Agios Daniil. A path leads a bit further, to a small shrine, while a branch runs to the remains of a much older church.
The chapel is welcoming, locked but with the key in the door, allowing a visit and a look through the tainted glass at the sea below and the Golden Beach in the distance.

How to get there?

Easy, get a boat to take you. Or, if you’re reasonably fit and willing to go for a small adventure, walking and swimming to reach it.
For the hard way, you need to start at the right elbow-curve around a kilometer out of Potamia toward Kinira. It is hard to miss because there is room to easily park several cars and a rutted car path leading downwards. Leave the car there and take the broad path on foot.

It is a decently hard walk there and back, particularly in the sun, so make sure you have sneakers on, a shirt and a hat, for the sun and as protection from the branches you’ll encounter hiking along a narrow pine forest path. Put on a backpack, for towels and at least a big bottle of water per hiker. Three per two heads would be even better. You won’t have to carry the water back up, anyway, just the squashed empty bottles.

Fins would be excellent and a floating device to help you across, like one of those cheap surfboards, as well as a water-proof bag for your phone or camera.
At least flip-flops should go along with you on the swim to Gramvousa, because the terrain is very unpleasant, though not impossible for the bare-footed. Sunscreen is among the things you take to an isolated beach in any case.
Anyway, back to the trek. Descending from the road, watch the left side closely: a barely visible gap in the brush should be marked by a red dot – that’s the start of the path. If you reach an open gate to an olive tree grove, you’ve missed and need to go back. Though the view is spectacular!
The path takes you through the forest, always downward, past a derelict house and to the cliffs offering a spectacular view of the island and the rocks protruding toward it. You’re at the most difficult and intimidating part of the trek, facing a few steep steps which require careful going.
After that, you descend onto the rocky protrusion. It is best to walk until you reach a sort of a canyon where you traverse to the side opposite from the one looking at Golden Beach, then climb back to the other side once again.  The walking is easy, the stone slabs are very grippy and undemanding. You will see a little overhang, always in the shade as it faces north, and that is the best place to leave your stuff.
The water is deep, maybe eight or 10 meters and beautifully clear. The place is phenomenal for snorkeling! Getting into the water is easy, either from the slab sloping pretty much into the sea, or – with a bit of courage – with a roughly 7-8 meters high dive from a stone just to the left. Getting out is the tricky bit, bit all the urchins and those shells that are razor-sharp. We left bits of skin there and bled over them, so do be careful, in the water and on the wet patches – they’re slippery and the shells love to cut away a piece of someone’s bum!

The swim to the Krambousa jetty is around 250 meters long. It is not a marathon, but it is to be taken seriously. As I said – bring fins and a floating device to turn it into a piece of cake. Sometimes the wind picks up and then there is a slight undertow while you cross the strait, but, again, if you’re prepared, nothing dramatic. Be on the watch for the others in case someone tires, to lend a hand (fin?)
Climbing onto the jetty is not very demanding and after drying up a bit and drinking the few gulps of  water you took (it’s not a burden in the sea) across, put on your flip flops and pay that visit to Agios Daniil!

Story & photo by Boris Babic