Dermatos beach, one of the loveliest in southern Crete, is at risk from campers who care little about the environment. Dermatos beach is east of Tsoutsouras and west of Keratokambos, about an hour and a half’s drive south of Heraklion.
It is a popular beach for camping in the summer, as there are plenty of shady trees to screen people from the hot sun. It is also convenient, as cars can park next to the trees and Tsoutsouras is only a few minutes’ drive away for fun, food and supplies.
Environmentally-aware visitors and local residents, however, complain that the beach is a horrible sight, full of rubbish tossed just anywhere, plastic bags scattered across the sand and a huge amount of plastic bottles littering the trees and bushes. The bins provided by the local council “disappear”, as people steal them overnight.
The municipality has provided more bins and states it is doing all it can to solve the problem. It calls upon people to report anyone caught littering the beach and the surrounding area. However, the situation at Dermatos has become a source of intense speculation about free camping in the area and indeed the whole of Crete.
When dozens of campers are crowded together on a beach lacking the most basic infrastructure, the whole area will inevitably suffer. The municipality is chiefly responsible, as it has neglected to supply chemical toilets and other infrastructure, to protect the beach without depriving responsible campers of their enjoyment