Sensational Best Beaches in Crete

What are the best beaches in Crete, Greece, many ask us! Indeed Crete, is a huge island in Greece, and famous for its beaches, among hundreds of other activities, food included.

Crete’s beaches are beautiful with clear waters and eventful sea life.

You can really have a good time in Crete beaches during summer time.

Every year, many tourists flock Crete Island to enjoy the sea, sand, and fresh air.

If you are also into water sports, skinny-dipping or want to sunbath, Crete Island might just be the perfect destination for you. Here, we explore some of the best beaches in Crete Island.

Best Beaches in Crete

Cretan beaches are so many that cover the needs of any traveler type.

Either you are the adventurous type or you travel with your family or your spouse or alone, you will find many different options to fulfill your needs.

There are tons of things do in Crete, as this is a rather big island; the biggest of Greece.

We have been in the island and experienced many different things to do. Click this link and see more than 20 posts, all filled with different experiences we had in the island of Crete.

Since the island is so big, it means it has numerous beaches scattered all over. Here is a nice selection of them.

Falassarna Beach Crete, Chania

This beach is found on the west coast of Crete.

Best Beaches in Crete For All Traveler Types
Falassarna Crete, by Tilemahos Efthimiadis

It comprises of many sandy beaches facing west and their lengths differ.

Just like Elafonissi, the beach is most frequented and popular with day excursionists because of its amazing beaches and clear blue sea.

As a result of the sandy bottom of the sea, the waters is very clean and with beautiful colors.

There are also archaeological site that you can visit; there are remains of the fortified Hellenistic harbour.

Lassithi Istro Beach, Crete

In the south of Agios Nikolaos, along the coastal road, there are about five beaches and one of them is Istro.

Istro is located about 12km south of the Agios Nikolaos town-as you head towards lerapetra.

The beach is characterized by white sand and clear blue waters, and surrounded by slopes with vast vegetation cover.

The surrounding vegetation cover makes the landscape magical and lovely.

Furthermore, facilities such as umbrellas and sundecks are available in Istro.

You’ll also find some taverns offering Cretan cuisine. Istro is just the best place to try Cretan cuisine!

Above all, the beach offers a serene and quite environment ideal for relaxation.

Balos Beach Crete, Chania

Balos is known for its wild natural beauty, turquoise waters, and stunning exotic scenery.

Best Beaches in Crete For All Traveler Types
Balos beach

The beach is located 17km from Kissamos town.

During the summer, thousands of tourists, majority of them arriving by ferry from Kissamos port, flock the beach.

If you are avoiding crowds, make your way to Balos in the month of July, August or September.

Make a visit to Balos, and you’ll remember the place forever.

The sea is shallow and has warm water thus perfect for children. In many places, millions of crushed shells make the sand pinkish in color.

Kedrodasos Beach Crete, Chania

Located approximately 76km southwest of Chania and 1 km east of the famed Elafonissi lagoon, Kedrodasos (Palm Tree) is an incredible beach.

The beach is full with sand dunes and juniper trees. The beach has rocks and white sands.

Preveli Beach Crete, Rethymno

Thousands of tourists visit the beach every summer. The beach is where the Great River (Megas Potamos) flows.

Best Beaches in Crete For All Traveler Types
Preveli Beach

The beach of Preveli (Préveli) is found about 35km south of the Rethymno and approximately 10km to the east of Plakias.

In 1960s and 1970s, the Preveli was a favorite spot for the hippies.

The Theophrastus palm trees give the place a sense of tropical scenery.

Before the Great River flows to the sea, it forms a small lake and cold ponds where you can swim.

Furthermore, you can take a walk along the river under the shade of the palm trees. The river also makes the sea water very cool. The beach is sandy with pebbles.

Vai Beach Crete, Lasithi

Vai is a famous beach found in the East of Crete island, approximately 24km east of Sitia or 94km east of Agios Nikolaos.

Best Beaches in Crete For All Traveler Types
Vai beach

A large palm grove is the key feature here. Even the name Vai originated from the word Vai, which means palm in Greek.

The palm has about 5000 trees: the largest in Europe.

Vai beach has fine sand and blue waters. There are also some rocks in a few places and small islets beautifying the landscape.

The beach is well-organized with water sports, canteens, showers, and taverns available. In the extended area of Lasithi, you’ll find a holiday villa with a private pool.

Stavros Beach Crete, Chania

Initially, Stavros beach was a small fishing village before it became a tourist resort. It is situated on the northern side of Akrotiri peninsula.

Things to do in the prefecture of Chania, Akrotiri
Stavros.  Source: The Tiny Book

Stavros is a sandy beach, which formed within a circular bay and has pink blue waters. The sea is shallow thus ideal for children swimming.

The place is also characterized by mountainous landscape, which has made Stavros a popular place.

It is also the place where several scenes of ‘Zorba the Greek’ were filmed. The beach is well organized and provide excellent facilities and services.

Glyka Nera Beach Crete, Chania

The beach is on the south coast of Crete. Because of its fresh water sources, the beach is nicknamed sweet water beach.

You can either reach the sandy beach on foot or by boat. Furthermore, there are hiking trails from Chora, Sfakion and Loutra.

Aspri Limni Beach Crete, Chania

Aspri Limni is relatively unknown beach in Crete; it remains an unexploited paradise by the tourists. The beach has fine white sands and rocks, and surrounded by sharp rocks.

It is located approximately 70km southwest of Chania city and just 500m west of Chrysoskalitissa monastery.

It’s easy to access the beach because you can follow some signs to Phoenix theofrasti habitat. You can also ask the locals for direction to the beach.

Elafonissi Beach Crete, Chania

Elafonissi is nearer to Aspri Limni. Many people visit the place; in fact, people are attracted to the lagoon in expense of Aspri Limni, which is just a few meters away.

Best Beaches in Crete For All Traveler Types
Elafonissi beach

There are many dunes with jupiners and sea daffodils. Elafonissi is the habitat of most endangered loggerhead sea turtle and many other rare animals and plants.

The color of the sand is pinkish because of the crushed shells.

In addition, the level of the sea water near the breaking point of the peninsula is less than 1m in depth hence ideal for children.

On the eastern side, the beach is organized and populated. There are also showers, snack bars, lifeguards, umbrellas, and changing rooms.

Map of Beaches in Crete

To feel more comfortable with the locations of different beaches in Crete (selections mentioned in the post are also included), here is the google map that shows them around Crete.

In that way you can decide where to stay in Crete too.

Best Beaches near Chania, Crete

If you plan to stay in Chania (really popular destination), then these are the beaches in Crete to have in mind and are near Chania. Read our post from our experiences in Chania, Crete.

1. Potamos Beach, Malia
2. Balos Beach, Kissamos
3. Elafonissi Beach, Elafonissi
4. Falassarna, Chania
5. Matala Beach, Matala
6. Red Beach, Matala
7. Frangokastello Beach, Sfakia
8. Plakias Beach

Best Beaches in Crete for Families

Almost all beaches in Crete are family friendly. Crete is a destination that attracts all kinds of travelers for many years now, especially families.

Make sure to allocate lots of time to explore Crete. If you don’t have more than 5 days then make sure to stay in or near Chania, Crete.

Plan you trip to Crete

Many claim that the island is so big that you can easily find accommodation. That is partially right… A big island means lots of driving time too.

If you plan to stay for many days and shift between more than one of the 4 different regions of Crete (Rethymnon, Chania, Lasithi, Heraklion) then pre-booking is a must.

We suggest to use for this. Make sure to get travel insurance too.

Check flights as soon as possible. There are many for Crete but things get busy in summer time.

If you plan to visit Santorini island after or before Crete, then read this post.

Organized tours in Crete

Some locations in Crete are best experienced via an organized tour. The reason for that is that cities like Chania, contain a multitude of different cultural points of interest, each with its own story.

We recommend one of these organized tours providers (and also tested by us) for such:

Lots of options for Beaches in Crete, right?

The list of best beaches in Crete can expand a lot more, but these are among the best that you can visit. After all, best means something different for each person.

If you happen to holiday in Crete or want to spend your summer time on the beach, makes sure you visit some of these beaches.

You’ll be amazed!


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