A collection of the most beautiful Cretan beaches to visit on your holidays.
Crete Island is the largest in Greece. Stretching 1,046m (650 miles) long, it allows for countless beaches and it gets hard to choose a favorite as the exotic sands, both wild and calm waters, villas, hotels, excursions, flora, and fauna are all a natural beauty that makes up the coastline.
Beach life, is an experience you will not regret and have to go on when you visit Crete, so ensure you explore as many as you can to make the most out of it. Out of the very many beaches, there are the best that gives you a one-time lifetime experience.
Balos beach (Chania, Crete)
The striking blue lagoon perfectly sits right opposite the rock–strewn Gramvousa Islet and is located on the north west of Chania town in Crete Island. The Venetian Castle which provides a perfect view of the smooth seabed, a fusion of white and pink sands on the beach and the crystal waters of the Balos lagoon is perched on the Gramvousa islet.
It is accessible by land from Kastelli to Kaliviani village, then a 1.5km walk to the beach from where the car park is located. The walk, however, is low–shrubbed, less rocky, and with no shade, so it is advisable to carry appropriate gears like sunglasses, hats, and suitable footwear. The beach is also accessible via the sea, so if you enjoy traveling by sea, you can opt for that.
Visitors there, especially those who travel by their vehicles, can stay at the Kaliviani Traditional hotel which is a three-star hotel and provides amazing services and serves fresh local products. On the other hand, those who get there by bus can stay at Kastelli because it is more convenient.
Balos beach is a little heaven, with activities like snorkeling, swimming and a chance to catch sight of animals like falcons, sea turtles, and monk seals.
Elafonissi beach (Chania, Crete)
The island of the deer, as it is sometimes referred, is an islet located at the furthest end of the western side of the Crete Island with a line of corals separating the two. An interesting fact about Efalonisi is that it is the final stop for birds migrating to Africa.
As you journey to the beach overland, there is plenty of sightseeing from the Topolia mountain towns to the Gorge of Topolia, Kefali among others. There is also a stopover point at Agios Dikaios Mountain to take a glimpse of the Bearded Vulture which is a bird of prey and an endangered species. Alternatively, you can get there over the sea by boat to enjoy the bay.
The beach has clear-cut aquamarine waters that perfectly contrast with the white sands which have a pink flush in some light. The sight of all these together is breathtaking as it is inevitably a natural beauty and astounding. It is doubtless one of the best beaches in Crete Island as sundry visitors, both locals and tourists flock in and out during high-peak summer seasons. Furthermore, it is under protection by the EU environmental programme.
Although there is no accommodation for visitors, camping is allowed and there is a shop for supplies. Most of the time, people touring the place begin to leave at 4 pm.
Chrissi Island beach (Lassithi, Crete)
Chrissi island is located in one of the southern points in Europe, and it is also known as Donkey Island. It has a unique cedar forest, pure white sand dunes, golden shallow sand beaches and a sea with unbelievable tropical colours.
It is also known as the golden island due to the fact that it has golden sands. Due to the long coastline, Chrissi has multiple beaches with Belegrina being the most sought after because of its smooth sands tinted with pink color from the thousands of broken seashells. With a vulnerable ecosystem, it is protected by the European Union environmental program, Natura 2000.
Preveli beach (Rethymno, Crete)
The isolated Preveli beach at the south of Rethymnon is a favorite for many tourists.TheKourtaliotis River empties at the beach forming a delta. Explore this river through water sports available to make the best out of it. There is a thick palm forest that aligns with the river and also at the beach line. Viewed from above, the site of the beautiful lagoon forms a breath-taking landscape.
To get to the beach, you can go by foot but be warned, the place is very steep and the weather is really hot, alternatively, you can journey there by bus or private means. You can also opt to hop into one of those daily boat rides from Plakias beach.
Even though the beach is unorganized, there are loungers you can hire, as well as paddle boats. Did I mention the Monastery of Preveli? You can visit the site to get a glimpse of ancient Crete history. Also, don’t forget to visit some remote beaches in the nearby.
Clearly, Crete Island has lots of beaches where you can catch all the fun from, water sports, mountain climbing, walking and trekking to relaxing under the sun enjoying the sea breeze and the soft sands. It is extraordinary and there is nothing like it. You don’t have to rob the bank to go on holidays in these beaches as they have affordable accommodation and anyway, it is a rewarding escapade all along.
Kolokytha beach (Lassithi, Crete)
Heading in the opposite direction of Elounda toward the hill ahead and over is where the Kolokytha beaches are located. This is on the Penisula of the Spinolanga Island, 12km away from Agios Nikolaos. The beach can be accessed either by foot or boat. There are boats that sail to and from Spinolanga that drop off tourists at the beach from around 11 am to 5 am. So if you hate crowds, morning hours are the best to visit the beach.
Matala beach (Heraklion, Crete)
The southwestern part of Crete in Heraklion region harbors the 300 meters long Matala Beach. The very popular beach gives a beautiful scenario of caves curved on cliffs from the 1960’s: hippies, who once inhabited the beach dug the caves. They are now departed and left Matala among the most famous beaches in Greece.
The beach is a primo resort for Crete tourist with a villa and hotels near it. The golden sands, sunny days, clean waters, the readily available bamboo umbrellas and sunbeds for rent, not forgetting the Matala beach festival held every June will definitely make your visit worthwhile.
Park your snorkeling gear, be ready to have a magnificent swimming experience also and to enjoy its cove groove. You can also explore neighboring beaches and the Agiofarago gorge as well as shop for herbs, organic wine and great seafood at the Kokkinos Pirgos, Komos, andRed sand beaches.
Agiofarago beach (Heraklion, Crete)
It is found in Heraklion, 80km to the south at the end of the homonymous gorge. To access it first you have to walk across the gorge for not more than 30-40 minutes.
It has pebble-filled sands and clear, still waters that are perfect for swimming. Above are cliffs towering from the side and at the east end on top of the rocks is a spectacular view of the beach. Don’t forget to carry with you sturdy shoes to be able to climb on the rocks. Although there are many ascetics, nude bathing is not allowed.
There are boat rides to Agiofarago from Matala, Kali Limenes, and Agia Galini but if you want to capture the beauty of the gorge, hike to the place.
Glyka Nera (Chania, Crete)
Glyka Nera means “sweet water” and is called like this because of the fresh water that gushes from the pebbles. The beach is one of the most beautiful in Crete, with deep blue waters, and it is located 75km south of Chania.
Ranked by the London Times among the top 20 beaches in Europe, Glyka is one of the most beautiful beaches with deep blue waters and sands filled with beautiful pebbles. Glyka Nera implies sweet waters and is referred to the name because of the waters that run from the pebbles.
One way to get to Glyka Nera is via a boat or by foot from Loutro or Chora Sfakion, and even though there is not much to see from the trail, it is full of adventure. The place is however under conservation by the European E4 footpath. While there, there is a small taverna where you can buy cold beverages, food, and beds.
With the many facilities and infrastructure available, Plakias beach is situated at south Rethymnon in Crete Island. The sandy and pebble-filled beach is suitable for both adults and children as it has a wide range of activities and sports anyone can engage in: this makes it hard to relax on the beach buzzing with all the activities.
Each day during summer, there are boat trips to the palm forest and the Preveli beach. You can also join the E4 Walking trail if you love trekking for a 14.3km walk. For the lovers of sports, Plakias beach never runs dry of these as it has water sports such as jet skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, diving, snorkeling swimming and there are sunbeds and umbrellas for renting.
The fun doesn’t end there, there is also horse riding for all ages as there are donkey rides and pony rides for children. Everyone can also visit the mini zoo that is located on the beach. Again, there is mountain biking and rock climbing in the nearby cliffs which are at the furthest end of the eastern side of the beach.
Accommodation by the beach is available in affordable studios, traditional and modern villas, apartment suites and a traditional house which is only 3km from the Plakias beach. This beach is, without doubt, a place you cannot afford to miss when you visit Crete in Greece, it is a beauty and a buzz of excursions and fun.