Although not very famous, the Katholiko Monastery (or simply Katholiko) is one of the most interesting sights on Akrotiri peninsula and in Chania region. It is not an active monastery but the ruins of such, carved in a large rock. The reason for not being quite popular is maybe the fact that you need to walk to it via a 1 km long path. No organized tours are available, transportation should be settled on your own but the place is worth the visit.
The trail which leads to Katholiko starts just behind the Monastery of Gouverneto. The walk to Katholiko is easy because it is descending but the return is more tiresome since you need to climb back. The trail runs through a gorge called Avlaki and the hike takes approximately 30-40 minute but on the way you will see many other interesting objects to stop by - the Cave of Arkoudiotissa (Bear Cave), the ruins of the Monastery of Agios Antonios and small caves in rocks which were used by monks or hermits. Narrow stairway leads down to the ruins of Katholiko at the base of a large rock, with a massive stone bridge in front of it. There are no records of when exactly the monastery was founded but it probably dates back to 11-12 century. Its original founder was believed to be St. John the Hermit who lived in a cave near the monastery. Visitors can enter the cave and see the large stone which, according to the legend, was the death-bed of the saint and has miraculous properties. The ruins of the monastery contain monastic cells, storage-like premises (can be entered) and a church carved into the rock, in a very good condition. It is not clear why the monks abandoned the place.
If you keep north after Katholiko, you will reach Katholiko beach which is actually a tiny cove between sea rocks. It has no sand, only large stones and crystal blue water, and in the past it was used as a harbor by the monastery. Although very tempting after the long walk, swimming here is forbidden by the fathers of Gouverneto Monastery
(Gouverneto owes the lands and maintains the path to Katholiko).
highlights: ruins of abandoned monastery carved in rock, religious sight in Chania Region, Crete, Greece