Crete is undoubtedly the most popular of the Greek islands, probably because it is the largest and most dynamic. There are several cultural ruins, old towns, and harbors. However, the most exciting thing to do is visit the Crete beaches!
The island is surrounded by four seas: the Mediterranean, Aegean, Libyan, and Cretan Sea. This makes every beach different and unique. Beaches of Crete are a must-visit because of the various waterparks and sports activities, warm waters, and natural beauty.
The Most Popular Beach In Crete
Elafonissi Beach is the most raved about of all the beaches in Crete, due to many factors. Firstly, it is located in Chania on the northwest coast, which is known for its natural and unspoiled landscapes.
As a result, the beach is a large stretch of pink sand which makes it unique and a great spot for taking photos. This makes it incredibly popular, especially in the August months, but there are many available sunbeds to rent.
Additionally, if you love adventure, snorkeling is a must! The waters are calm and clear, ideal for swimming with the fish. It is also shallow which is a welcomed preference for children. Nearby are hiking trails, a monastery, and plenty of taverns for snacks and meals.
This is a popular beach to stop by if you are taking a road trip in Greece across Crete.
Well Rated Accommodations Nearby
The Elafonisi Resort is an affordable, family-run hotel that is 0.5km away from Elafonissi Beach. All rooms include a balcony and fridge, although kitchenettes can be requested if you prefer. There are double rooms, twin rooms, and studios. Similarly, Lafo Rooms is 800m from the beach and offers furnished double and triple rooms.
Chania Beaches On Crete
Balos Beach is another one of the most popular beaches in Crete. It is a lagoon that can be seen clearly from the top of the mountain, a truly romantic spot for couples. From here, you can see the gentle waves overlap, and watch others swim in the turquoise waters. They are shallow, so swimming is safe.
The beach itself is large therefore despite its popularity, it is rarely crowded, so you can travel in large groups. There are also sunbeds and parasols to rent. Whether you choose to drive or book a private boat trip, it is easily accessible.
Falassarna Beach, like many of the other beaches on Crete, is family-friendly and full of activities. It is large and sandy with clear waters and plenty of available sunbeds to rent. There are normal sunbeds as well as luxury ones.
This organized beach offers several water sports such as windsurfing or jet skiing, which are great during the summer months when there are strong winds.
For the younger kids, the waters are shallow and flat, so they can easily play or swim without worry. There are two taverns on the beach where you can sit for a romantic meal or feed your hungry family quickly. Both Balos and Flassarna Beach are found at Kissamos Bay in Chania.
Glika Nera Beach
Glika Nera Beach is one of the most popular nudist beaches in Crete. Otherwise known as Sweetwater Beach, it is a source of freshwater waves and showers which are healthy for the skin.
The beach itself is calm and protected by trees creating a tranquil atmosphere, ideal for solo travelers or a quiet getaway for couples.
As mentioned, a large section is a naturist area, however, there is a smaller area on the side that is less busy if you are not comfortable. Taverns nearby serve seafood and desserts, so you can make this beach visit a full day trip.
Loutraki Beach is one of the smaller Crete beaches. It is cozy and organized, perfect for visiting as a couple. If you are traveling in a large group, be sure to go in the morning, so that there are enough sunbeds and parasols to sit together.
On the beach is a bar playing music and serving snacks and refreshments, ideal for socializing and quenching your thirst after a long swim.
If you are interested in the culture of Crete, there is an archaeological site just under 5km away, where you can observe the ancient ruins of Aptera.
Well Rated Accommodations Near Beaches
For accommodations close to Falassarna Beach or Balos Beach, the Balos Beach Hotel is 9km and 11 away respectively. There are a variety of suites, some with sea views.
There are many other beaches in Chania that makes it one of the top spots on Crete island.
Lasithi Beaches In Crete
Vai Beach is scenic and charming. The Greek noun ‘Vai’ means palm, named after the cluster of beautiful palm trees lined up at the entrance of the beach. This alone is a reason to visit Vai Beach.
Furthermore, it is one of the most organized beaches in Crete. There are plenty of sunbeds available both close to the waters and further back towards the parking, depending on which you prefer. There are also amenities such as showers and changing rooms which are kept clean.
If you are hungry there is a small tavern serving fresh seafood, as well as a bigger restaurant ‘Vai Beach’ where you can sit for hours and sample traditional Mediterranean dishes.
Istro Beach is found in a bay named Mirabello, surrounded by golden sand and small pebbles. It is a relatively small beach which is worth visiting if you are staying in Crete for a long holiday, mainly because of its location near hotels.
As the waters are transparent and calm, there is a diving school located on the beach. You can also participate in snorkeling and other fun beach activities. The beach is organized and clean even though it is usually busy, creating a dynamic and exciting atmosphere.
Boufos Beach is a stony and small beach with beautiful rock formations and caves. It is one of the most underrated beaches on Crete. Although it is not the most popular it is just as charming. It is organized and there are several sunbeds if you prefer lounging on the beach all day.
On the other hand, there are fun water activities such as snorkeling in the caves and spotting a wide array of fish. It is also windy enough for beach sports. If you enjoy natural and unspoiled beaches, this is perfect for you. The beach is located in Sissi, a town in Lasithi.
Agia Fotia Beach
Agia Fotia Beach is a small pebble beach located in Galini. The waters are characteristic of the majority of beaches in Crete, sporting a stunning turquoise hue. The sea is warm and clear, great for swimming and snorkeling.
If you have little children, it is worth considering the waters are deeper than other Crete beaches,. However, this makes them perfect for diving if you are experienced. The beach bar is usually open from the morning until late evening, and the friendly waiters serve food straight to your sunbed!
MORE GREEK BEACHES:
Makris Gialos Beach
Makris Gialos Beach is a long sandy beach that is enjoyed by everyone. The beach itself is spacious and has ample space to fit large groups even in busy seasons. It is an organized beach.
Although some parts are sheltered and ideal for sunbathing, others are windier. This creates the ideal environment for sports such as paragliding and windsurfing for older children or adults. Children can still enjoy the beach as the water is shallow and warm, therefore swimming is safe. There is also a folklore museum nearby.
Well Rated Accommodations Near Beaches
Maridatis Apartments are 4km from Vai Beach and offer several apartments close to Palaikastron center and the airport. 150m from Istro Beach is Kounenos Apartments, located on top of a hill close to the village center.
If you are looking for accommodation close to Boufos Beach, Sisi Breeze Hotel is 450m away and also close to Avlaki Beach. Lastly, the Lagada Resort is a short walk from Makris Gialos Beach and has rooms accommodating up to eight people.
Agios Nikolaos Beaches On Crete
Agios Nikolaos, although technically a town in Lasithi, features several beaches close together and therefore deserves a section of its own!
Voulisma Beach is charming and romantic. It is usually easy to spot fish and other marine life at most Crete beaches; however the clear waters here make it even likelier. As a result, the beautiful sea and scenic view of vegetation attract many visitors.
The beach itself is large and so there is space to accommodate everyone, especially if you are traveling as a family.
If you are visiting as a couple, you should consider snorkeling together or visiting the beach bar, which has friendly service and loud music. This beach is lively and great if you enjoy active holidays.
Almyros Beach is a fun, family-friendly beach with a unique landscape and plenty of activities to partake in. The beach is large, sandy, and organized, therefore there is always plenty of space.
The lack of pebbles also makes it safer for children. If you have young kids or teenagers, the water park is affordable and has slides and trampolines to occupy them all day!
Additionally, the river at the end of the beach flows into the sea and is a cool feature that you will not find at the other beaches on Crete. Lastly, there are snack bars and taverns nearby so that you can stay all day without worrying about finding and bringing refreshments.
Ammoudi Beach is a small sandy beach that is the perfect place to take your older children. Like many other beaches in Crete, there is a watersports company that operates all day, so there is a wide array of activities to enjoy. Examples of this include the sofa or jet ski.
Alternatively, you could rent a sunbed or simply find a stretch of sand that is unoccupied to lay your towel on and relax. There is an activity for everybody!
Afterwards, you can take a stroll to the Heroes Monument less than a kilometer away, or visit Lake Voulismeni. These cultural landmarks are a great way to finish off the day.
If you want to spend more time in this area, check out some of the best beaches in Agios Nikolaos.
Well Rated Accommodations Near Beaches
Kounenos Apartments have suites and apartments 150m from Voulisma Beach and are situated on a hill overlooking the bay.
Beachfront on Almyros Beach is the Island Concept Luxury Boutique Hotel, a modern and indulgent accommodation. Although it is more costly, it is great for treating yourself, for example on a honeymoon!
Damnoni Paradise nearby to Ammoudi Beach is surrounded by nature and offers double and twin rooms as well as studios and apartments.
Rethymno Beaches In Crete
Preveli Beach in Rethymno is a small yet beautiful destination. It is close to Palm Beach, which is why there are many palm trees surrounding it that contributes to the scenic view.
The beach is accessible by car, as there is a large car park. However, you must walk down a rocky path to enter the beach from here. If you are not keen on walking, you should consider opting for a boat cruise instead.
This is the case for many beaches in Crete and is especially useful to note if you are with young children or an elderly person.
Nevertheless, the waters are calm and clear, and there is also a river. The beach is organized but there is also space to just lay down your own towels.
Rodakino Beach in the village of Plakias is one of the most relaxing beaches on Crete. This is because of its natural features and local amenities. It is a long, sandy beach surrounded by almirikia trees to provide shelter and protection from the warm Cretan sun. Furthermore, this stops winds.
There are a couple of taverns on both ends of the beach which serve traditional Mediterranean cuisine, where you can sample hearty meals with a picturesque view of the sea. Overall, this beach is tranquil and calming.
Plakias Beach is quiet and uncrowded. Unlike most Crete beaches, it does not usually have many people, hence you can enjoy a calm atmosphere. The majestic view of the rocky landscapes and clear waters makes it romantic especially if you are visiting as a couple.
Moreover, the taverns are run by locals and you can enjoy a hearty meal with your partner whilst sampling fresh Cretan cuisine. The location of Plakias Beach makes it more susceptible to strong winds, therefore not necessarily suitable for young children but great for water sports.
Agios Pavlos Beach
Agios Pavlos Beach is one of the best beaches in Crete to visit if you are looking for a relaxing holiday. This is due to a culmination of factors including the mountainous view, orange sunsets, and lack of wind.
Ironically, although the landscape is picturesque, not many people have heard of this beach which is the contributing factor as to why it remains unspoiled.
If you are driving by car it is worth considering that the road is slender and with bends, therefore it can be better to book accommodation close by.
Well Rated Accommodations Near Beaches
4km from Preveli Beach is Agia Fotia Taverna, which offers rooms that all have a balcony and sea views. Korakas Beach Hotel is on the beachfront of Rodakino Beach and all rooms are furnished with a contemporary feel, including a flat-screen television. There are rooms with sea, garden or street views.
Belvedere Luxury Apartments & Spa in Plakias are a two-minute walk from the beach and are a large accommodation with a wellness center and gym. Lastly, the Agios Pavlos Hotel is found on the beachfront of Agios Pavlos Beach, whereby there is a large restaurant, bar, and garden.
Heraklion Beaches In Crete
Matala Beach is ideal if you are looking for adventure. Whilst most beaches in Crete have shallow and warm waters, Matala Beach is deep and refreshingly cold.
It is perfect for snorkeling and also beach sports due to the strong winds. Although it is not suitable if you are with children, it is brilliant for solo travelers or groups of adults.
Adding to the excitement are the rocky landscapes, as there is the opportunity to enter the caves for a cheap fee. The beach is rocky, so don’t forget to bring appropriate footwear!
Tymbaki Beach is large and sandy with pebbles. It is in an idyllic location near to hotels, bus stops and close to the city. This makes it easily accessible, unlike other Crete beaches which are usually reached by narrow roads.
The beach itself is unorganized and so you need to bring towels, however, this does save money, especially if you are traveling as a family. If you have teenagers the beach is unprotected from winds and hence great for water sports.
Agiofaraggo Beach is a hidden gem located at the end of a gorge in Kaloi Limenes. Crete beaches can be difficult to reach and this is no exception. You must hike through the beautiful gorge to get to the beach. Whilst this is a fun adventure, it is not practical, so booking a boat trip instead may be advisable.
Nevertheless, the beach is surrounded by cliffs and small rocks, and the waters are clear blue and calm. If you are looking for a quiet spot surrounded by nature, this is it! Note that it is unorganized and the tavern is a 2km walk away, therefore bringing a bag with towels and snacks is recommended.
Well Rated Accommodations Near Beaches
Sunshine Matala is a hotel 50m from Matala Beach and close to the center. It is a family-run hotel, with beautiful views of the nearby mountains.
Raeti Apartments located in Tymbaki are a quiet and peaceful accommodation near the beach which is furnished and modern.
Notia Gi is a guesthouse 4km from Agiofaraggo Beach, offering double and triple rooms as well as a continental breakfast in the mornings.
The beautiful Heraklion beaches are extremely attractive and many visitors like to base them around the area.
Enjoying The Best Beaches On Crete
Crete beaches are some of the most beautiful and diverse in Greece. With a range of activities, stunning landscapes, and crystal clear waters, it is no wonder that so many people flock to the island each year. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, there are beaches on Crete that can cater to your tastes.
It is almost impossible to visit all the beaches in Crete so be sure to pick some of them based on your preferences. Nevertheless, you will always be greeted with amazing ocean views.