It has been said that the southern coastline of the Gulf of Mirabello has something of the character of the Riviera, but with uncrowded beaches and only a few hotels. The village with a population of around 900, nestles attractively in the midst of a verdant hilly landscape, where olive groves and abundant and colourful mediterranean shrubs and plants reach all the way down to the sea.
Over the past years, naturally with tourism, part of the village has grown up nearer to the beach. There are three attractive bays with clean sand and pebble beaches, shaded by tamarisk trees, and providing very safe swimming plus a variety of water sports. However, Istro is no bustling tourist village, and those who come to visit will live alongside the local people. It is easy to relax in the warmly welcoming atmosphere of the Greek tavernas, restaurants and kafenions, and the shops in the village provide everything you might need on holiday.
The distance from Heraklion Airport is approx. 75 km, which is about an hour’s drive by car, while Agios Nikolaos is approx. 11 km away. In all directions there are excellent bus connections, which offer the possibility to see much of the eastern part of Crete on a series of day trips. Apart from these there are beautiful walks in the area, and Istro is full of archaeological interest. The new village of Istro sits on the site of the ancient town of Istrona, remains of which are still being found today. Because of this, the land closest to the sea has a conservation order and no new building may take place, which leaves the beaches uncrowded and unspoilt. The delightful beaches of Istro Bay are regularly awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness.