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The Best 20 Beaches in Crete

The large island of Crete is famous for its fantastic beaches. Small or large, organized or secluded, the beaches of Crete are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Discover our best beaches of Crete: Balos, Elafonissi, and Falassarna in Chania, Preveli in Rethymno, Vai in Lassithi, and more.

Balos beach-Chania

Balos is a fantastic location on the northwestern side of Crete, in the region of Chania. This amazing place is like the Caribbean side of Crete. With exotic waters, soft white sand and a huge island with a Venetian Castle on top, the beach of Balos amaze all visitors at first sight. It can be reached by car through a track road from Kissamos or by excursion boat from Chania Town and Kissamos.

Elafonissi beach-Chania

Located on the southwestern side of Crete, Elafonissi is a fantastic beach with exotic crystal waters. This place is a heaven on earth, with soft white and pink sand and with cedar trees reaching the coastline. Elafonissi means the island of the deer and is a magical place that should not be missed during your trip in western Crete. Part of the beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas.

Vai beach-Lassithi

On the northeastern side of Crete, in the region of Lassithi, is a fantastic beach called Vai. The special thing about this beach is that it is surrounded by the largest palm tree forest in Europe, consisting of 5,000 trees. The soft sand, the crystal water, and the natural beauty make this beach an inviting place for families. In the past, Vai was a free camping site but now free camping is prohibited there.

Falassarna beach-Chania

Falassarna is a large sandy beach on the western side of Crete, within a close drive from Kissamos town. This fantastic place is ideal for families with kids due to organized facilities and soft sand. It is also nice for windsurfing and in fact, there is a windsurfing station there in summer months. Above the beach, there is the archaeological site of Ancient Falassarna.

Preveli beach-Rethymno

On the southern side of the prefecture of Rethymno is a place of great natural beauty, Preveli. This beach is actually where a river flows into the sea, passing through many palm trees and forming a lake close to the sea. There are water sports in this lake to explore the river, while the sandy and unorganized beach of Preveli is a wonderful place to swim.

Matala beach-Heraklion

Matala was famous in the 1960s and 1970s as a hippie place. Many hippies would come and spend many days or even months in the caves above the beach of Matala. Today the hippies are long gone and the nice seaside village attracts many families for the long, sandy and organized beach. Matala is a convenient place to stay during your holidays in Crete and a nice base for excursions in the region.

Rodakino beach-Rethymno

On the southern side of Rethymno, close to the tourist village of Plakias, is the large and sandy beach of Rodakino. Partly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and partly secluded, Rodakino beach has soft sand and crystal waters, making it ideal for families with kids and people looking for some calm moments. Some seaside taverns and apartments line up this beautiful place.

Plakias beach-Rethymno

Plakias is a lovely tourist place on the southern side of Rethymno, Crete island. The seaside village has many tourist facilities and a calm environment, away from the noisy world. Just in front of the village, there is a large and sandy beach with crystal waters. Part of Plakias beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while there are also some fish taverns and apartments lining up the beach.

Tymbaki beach-Heraklion

A vast beach with both sandy and pebbled parts, Tymbaki is located on the southern side of Heraklion. Also known as Kokkinos Pyrgos, Tymbaki has an organized part with sunbeds, umbrellas and few seaside taverns with delicious local recipes. Geographically Tymbaki is located between two large tourist places of southern Crete, Matala and Agia Galini, which makes it a convenient base for excursions in the region.

Istro beach-Lassithi

In close distance to the town of Agios Nikolaos, in the region of Lassithi, is a nice beach with golden and white sand. Istro beach in eastern Crete is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and provides a nice family place to swim. The crystal waters and the relaxing environment amaze all visitors at first sight. Due to its large size, Istro also offers some spots for privacy.

Sougia beach-Chania

Sougia Beach is located 70 km south west of Chania town between the villages of Paleochora and Agia Roumeli. It is one of the best beaches of Crete for stretching for 1200 metres due to which it rarely gets crowded.

Glika Nera beach-Chania

The name Glyka Nera means Sweet Waters. The beach is called like this because when someone digs a hole in the sand, sweet water appears from the ground. The beach is very beautiful and the water is pristine.

Krios beach-Chania

Krios is one of the most secluded beaches of Chania located 70 km south west of the main town and close to Paleochora. It can be reached through a narrow road west of this village. With small pebbles and clean water, Krios is a great place to relax.

Marathi beach-Chania

Marathi is a small cove about 14 km east of Chania Town. This cove has crystal water and is protected by strong winds. Marathi is an organized beach particularly popular among the locals.

Loutraki beach-Chania

Loutraki is a small beach about 12km east of Chania town, very close to Marathi, a picturesque fishing hamlet. This is a small cove, on the southern side of Akrotiri peninsula, protected from strong winds.

Agiofaraggo beach-Heraklion

Agiofaraggo is a wonderful yet secluded beach located 80 km south west Heraklion town close to the village of Kali Limenes, at the end of a small gorge. There are no tourist facilities in Agiofaraggo and the beach is not organized.

Agios Pavlos beach-Rethymno

The beach of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) lies 58 km south of Rethymno town, and 50 km from the village of Agia Galini. Due to its difficult access the beach is very calm with a few swimmers enjoying the beautiful area. It has fine grey sand and pristine waters.

Sissi beach-Lassithi

Sissi is a lovely coastal village and one of the best known beach resorts of Crete. Despite its popularity it is still quiet and calm. It is located 40 km east of Heraklion and 26 km north-west of Agios Nikolaos town.

Agia Fotia beach-Lassithi

The village of Agia Fotia is located 8 kilometres east from Ierapetra and 47 km south east of Agios Nikolaos Town, surrounded by tall pines. Agia Fotia has developed as a lovely tourist resort over the last years, however it keeps its quiet atmosphere.

Makris Gialos beach-Lassithi

The coastal village of Makrigialos lies 24 km east of Ierapetra and 60 km south-east of Agios Nikolaos town, in the center of Kala Nera Bay. Because of its long stretch of sand and its crystalline blue waters, Makrigialos has become one of the most popular tourist resorts in the area.