First compilation date
Date site proposed as SCI
Date site confirmed as SCI
Date site designated as SAC
National legal reference of SAC designation



This is an important area for passage migrants, species of concern include Phalacrocorax aristotelis.

Other characteristics

This site includes two satellite islands of Crete, Gavdos and Gavdopoula. They are found 21 miles south of the southwest Cretan coast. The island of Gavdos is the largest of the two, with an area of 29.58km2 and maximum altitude 362m. Gavdopoula lies 3 miles northwest of Gavdos with an area of 2.62km2 and maximum altitude 113m. Geologically the two islands consist of limestone of upper Cretaceous (Pindos zone). Also on the island of Gavdos there are metamorphosed rocks. In Gavdos there are extensive neogene deposits with marine fossils. In the east side, between the settlements Karave and Kastri, there are also late Pleistocene deposits (psammitic) with well conserved land snail fossils. The vegetation on Gavdos island is maquis (Juniperus), wood (Pinus) and phrygana while on Gavdopoula Isl. the vegetation is mainly phrygana and very few clusters of Pistaccia. Cultivations are degrading while the Pine wood is spreading. On the north side there are extended sand dunes with Juniperus. On the south cape of Gavdos Isl. there is a salt marsh. Though the island is not high, there are a lot of valleys and temporary streams. In the north side, near Ag.Georgios, there is a spring with permanently running water and with typical aquatic vegetation (hydrophillous plants). Human presence on the islands dates back to Neolithic times. Today only the larger island is inhabited. On the island of Gavdopoula, which today is uninhabited, only grazing takes place. Transportation with Crete is by boats that travel from Palaiochora to Karave where there is a small port . During the last years there has been an increase in tourism and as a consequence more and more buildings are built without any planning whatsoever, especially near the port Karave and the sand beach Sarakiniko.


Heath, M. F. and Evans, M. I., eds. 2000. Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority sites for conservation. 2: Southern Europe. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8, p. 791.

Reference: Natura 2000 data form, database release 7 Feb 2014