Gaidouronisi (Donkey Island, picture right) is an uninhabited islet 10km/6.2 miles offshore with a natural cedar forest, tavernas and good sandy beaches. Koufonisi a more distant island to the east with murex seashells that were used for royal purple dye (for cloth) and very clear water. Some excavations were carried out here, unearthing a theater and a village.
To the west of Ierapetra is a large recycling plant called Costa Plastica for all of the plastic that the vegetables grow under in the greenhouses. To the northwest of the city is the attractive village of Kalamafka. Back down on the coast on the way to Myrtos is Ammoudares, a beach with greenhouse heaven behind it.
Myrtos is a resort, but of the laid-back type, with reasonable prices and some free camping . There is an archaeological site at what was once Nea Myrtos and is now called Fournou Korifi. This was a Minoan town of sorts, with almost one hundred rooms, inhabited between 2600 and 2100BC, and later destroyed by fire. It was excavated by British archaeologists in 1968. The oldest known Aegean potter's wheel was found here, dated to 2500 BC; stomach contents of the inhabitants that didn't biodegrade (bones, olive stones, etc.) which gave clear information about the Cretan diet of the period; a shrine to the Goddess of Myrtos (housed in the Aghios Nikolaos museum).