Heraklion is a city on the island of Crete, in Greece. It is the capital and largest city in Crete, with a whole bunch of fun things to do in Heraklion for visitors. However, the stunning greek coastline mean that many also come to explore the best beaches in Heraklion.
When it comes to Heraklion beaches, you have a good selection to choose from. There are also some hidden gems that might not be as well known. While some are a bit out of the way, it’s worth the trip for the spectacular views alone.
Here are some of the best beaches in Heraklion, Crete.
Most Famous Beaches In Heraklion, Crete
Every beach in Heraklion has its own unique beauty and charm. But if you are interested in history – there is no better place than Matala! This is arguably the most famous beach in Heraklion with its surroundings and unique atmostphere.
Matala is actually an archeological site, where the caves have been used as dwellings since the Neolithic age. These man-made caves in the rocks are a distinctive trait of this beach. During the 1960’s, it was a popular meeting point for hippies, and you can still feel the vibe today.
The beach lies right next to the Paleochora-Phaistos road, so you gotta take a bus or rent a car. There is also another path that goes along the coast and starts from Komos bay (near Pitsidia village). The path will bring you to Matala and then continue on to Triopetra beach which is only 54 kilometers away.
Matala’s sandy seashore and crystal clear water make it one of the most popular beaches on Crete island. The beach is awarded Blue Flag status.
The Best Beaches In Heraklion, Crete
Agiofaraggo beach is among the most popular tourist beaches in Crete. This is absolutely perfect for those who want to enjoy their holidays away from the crowds and noise of the city center. Although this beach isn’t regarded as a swimmers’ paradise, it is a great place for scuba diving and snorkeling.
What makes this beach unique is the fact that it has countless caves with numerous ancient artifacts that are found in its waters. These caves are also home to a great variety of flora and fauna which means that there is something for everyone here. If you’re not into swimming, you can simply relax on one of the sunbeds.
Located in the southeastern part of Crete, about 63 kilometers from Heraklion, Tymbaki beach is a scenic and unspoiled stretch of sand with plenty of amenities to make your day comfortable. But the true beauty of this beach is its unique setting.
The white shoreline is framed by mountains covered with lush greenery and pine trees. The water here is transparent, turquoise, and cool, while the sea bed has interesting rock formations that create small caves where you can explore or snorkel.
Tymbaki beach has a couple of organized areas, with umbrellas, sunbeds, and watersports available for hire. You will also find many taverns providing Greek delicacies as well as snack bars serving refreshing smoothies and cocktails.
If you want to stay overnight, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in Tymbaki village or nearby Matala village.
In the region of Gournes, Tobruk beach is one of the most secret and beautiful beaches in Heraklion. The beach is pebbly and surrounded by rocks and cliffs, so it’s perfect for those who love a bit of privacy.
Getting to Tobruk beach is not easy since it’s quite far away from the center of Heraklion. The easiest way to get there is by car, where you should follow E75 towards North Crete, then turn left towards Gouves, and then right onto Mesara Street where you will see signs directing you to Tobrouk beach.
Tobrouk is great for snorkeling but there are no sunbeds or umbrellas so if that’s what you need make sure it’s something else on this list!
As you can imagine, the sun is intense in Heraklion—so much so that the locals refer to it as “the burning sun.” That said, the eastern coast of Crete has a few spots worth visiting. The absolute must is Lygaria Beach.
It’s rocky, postcard-perfect, and about six miles deep into the Aegean Sea. You’ll also find a cave with stalactites inside if you’re looking for something a little more out of this world.
The long sandy beach of Ammoudara, 5 km west of Heraklion and very close to the airport, is a popular choice for tourists and locals alike. Water sports enthusiasts will find windsurfing, water skiing, parasailing, and tube rides in abundance here.
Ammoudara is backed by hotels and other accommodation options, making it very easy to find a place to stay here if you plan to visit Crete for a beach holiday. There are also many shops and restaurants along the beach road.
MORE GREEK BEACHES:
Amnissos beach, located to the east of the Heraklion city center, is a sandy beach with pebbles and rocks in some parts. This secluded beach has clear blue waters and is ideal for snorkeling. Though there are no facilities in this area, you can find lodging options nearby.
What’s more, this beach does not get crowded and offers beautiful sunsets for you to enjoy. If you are looking for a budget-friendly accommodation option nearby, check out the Aparthotel Amnissos that’s just 5 minutes from the beach on foot!
Kokkini Hani Beach
When you think of the perfect Greek holiday, you probably don’t think of a rocky beach filled with sun umbrellas and beach loungers. Kokkini Hani is exactly that – a tourist paradise, with all the good and bad that come along with it.
The beach is located on the southeast coast of Crete, near Ammoudara Beach. The sand on this side of the island is golden, so Kokkini Hani offers an ideal choice for families who want to take advantage of the resort-like atmosphere here.
You can reach the beach by foot from your nearby hotel in about 10-15 minutes or by car in less than 5 minutes. The nearest bus station is also only a 7-minute walk away from Kokkini Hani Beach, providing an easy way to get there using public transportation.
Family-Friendly Beaches In Heraklion, Crete
Agia Pelagia Beach
If you’re looking for a beach with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, then Agia Pelagia is the place for you. It’s easy to drive to Heraklion and there are plenty of parking spaces.
The long, sandy beach is shallow, meaning that the water level doesn’t drop suddenly, making it very suitable for children. There are also many sports facilities on offer and some nice tavernas along the waterfront.
Another big tourist resort on the island, Malia is located on the northern coast of Crete. The town itself has many bars and nightclubs, but the big sandy beach is very nice. It offers shallow waters, so it’s great for families with kids because they can swim without much worry.
Malia beach also offers many water sports facilities such as windsurfing, deep-sea diving, and snorkeling. There are several diving centers available to help visitors discover the beauty of the underwater world of Malia.
Malia is a large organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas under pine trees for relaxing in the shade. Lifeguards are on duty during summertime in order to ensure your safety while swimming and there are showers for you to freshen up after a day at the beach.
Stalida beach is a large sandy beach that is a popular choice for tourists in the area. The sandy beach is one of the best beaches in Heraklion, Crete and it offers many opportunities for water sports or just relaxing on the golden sand. The sea is shallow and clean, which makes it an ideal destination for families with kids.
The Stalida beach has been awarded the blue flag recognition multiple times by the European Union because of its cleanliness and organization. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas available as well as facilities like showers, lifeguards, and many restaurants close to the beach.
Hersonissos is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Crete. It has a beautiful beach with fine sand, and it is a well-organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas available. The beach is also suitable for families with children due to the shallow waters. There are also water sports available for all ages, such as jet skiing and water skiing.
If you happen to visit this place during high season, be aware that it can get extremely crowded! Get there early in the morning so that you can enjoy the view without too many people around!
Kalamaki is heaven on Earth. A blue flag beach, Kalamaki has a stretch of fine sand with sunbeds and umbrellas. The shallow crystal clear waters are ideal for families, windsurfers, snorkelers, divers, and people just looking to enjoy a dip in the sea.
You can walk along the shore, fish, or bike along the coastal road. Because of its wide range of activities and its close proximity to Hersonissos, it is one of the most popular beaches in Crete. Do expect it to be crowded during peak season.
Exploring Heraklion Beaches
Heraklion is a vibrant city with plenty to do, but if you need a break from the noise and bustle, you can find a little slice of paradise at one of the best beaches in Heraklion.
Whether you want to just relax or engage in a sporty activity, there is something out there for everyone. Heraklion is definitely one spot in Crete for an enjoyable beach vacation. That said, there are so many attractive beaches in Crete that you can check out when visiting.