Crete's amazing Top Best Beaches
Crete has amazing beaches to offer, and with so many of them, there is one for every taste.
Click on any photo for a photographic journey to the most astonishing best beaches and coasts of Crete.
Agia Fotia, Sitia - The beach is beside the central road of Ierapetra - Sitia and very easy to approach. There is a district with the same name at Ierapetra but 7 km east of Sitia in an area where the biggest cemetery of Minoan Crete was discovered.
Agia Marina, Chania - In the middle of a long beach which extends from Katos Stalos to Kolymbari, west of Chania. Just opposite of Thodorou Island, the only natural reserve of pure race Cretan wild goats. The huge cave which looks like a dragon mouth was a Minoan sanctuary and the whole island a Venetian fortress.
Agios Pavlos, Southern Rethymnon
From the road of Spili to Agia Marina, turn right through Akoumia. After about 10 km, with breathtaking views to the Libyan see, the mountains and Paximadia Island, you reach the sea. You arrive at the eastern end of the beach near the Canteen. The 3 rocks of Triopetra (three-rocks-cape) are to your left. The whole beach must be 1200 m or so. Trying to climb up the 30 m high sand hills on your way back is not an easy task, especially when the sun is burning - and it really does burn around here!
Almirida - A pleasant shallow sandy beach, located in the bay of Souda well hidden from the national road that passes some hundred meters on the north, safe for the children. The beach is not affected by the "meltemia" (northern summer winds)..
Balos, Cape of Gramvousa - The most famous landscape of Crete and it is definitely worth it; all the shades of blue and green, a warm, shallow lagoon bursting with sea shells.
It is accessible after a half hour march, or by taking the boats departing from Kasteli.
Chiona - Shallow waters for the kids and young swimmers, and a well known - all over the island - local fish soup. Chiona beach is a long (over 2 km) popular with wind wind-surfers because of the frequent winds.
Chora Sfakion - The large beach in one of the Sfakia bays. There are also small, quiet beaches with fine pebble nearby. The sun is really burning here, making the crystal-ice blue water and the shade of the cave welcome!
Chrissi Island, Ierapetra - A destination proposed in all tourist guides and not in vain. Little boats depart daily from Ierapetra to carry visitors some seven miles south, to a small island covered with cedar-trees, surrounded by perfect beaches with pink sand, composed of sea-shell fragments. This is a protected area, so free camping, fishing, lighting a fire or leaving trash is not allowed.
Damnoni, Southern Rethymnon - Used to be one of the cleanest and most attractive beaches for the lovers of camping and naturalism during the 70's. Due to large hotels that are built here now, it is fairly crowded during the high season. There are, however, some smaller beaches, not far from Damnoni accessible by sea or even by car.
Dermatos, Viannos - On the southern side of Heraklion is Dermatos, a long sandy beach, with small secluded coves and clean waters, a summer siesta listening to the waves, a glimpse of paradise.
Elafonissi - There’s something exotic here: A cluster of small beaches with pink sand and shallow, never ending waters, splashed with rocky small islands push you straight to dreamland. The downside is, everybody loves dreaming during summertime; one of the most popular destinations in Crete.
Falassarna - Falasarna used to be not much more than a deserted beach on the west coast of Crete. Here you can find crystal clear blue waters, a submerged ancient city, cyclopean walls, a stone throne of unknown time and origin. Crete in all its splendour
Frangokastello - The Venetians built the castle bearing the same name during 14th century as a watchtower over the surrounding area and the sea. Today its ruins dominate the underlying lagoon of green-blue waters
Geropotamos - You can spot its characteristic arks from the National Road connecting Heraklion and Rethymnon. Once you get down and harbour in, you will forget about roads and traffic…
Kalamaki, Mesara - Beware of where you place your umbrella, you might step on a young caretta-caretta turtle, as this is one of their preferred breeding areas. The Beach is sandy but leads to rock shelf at water's edge. Be careful when you enter the water due to the slippery rock plates.
Kali Limenes - Can you enjoy your swimming and your holidays when a modern oil transfer base lays in the vicinity? Many tourists - especially the local ones - answer positively, and enjoy the clean waters.
Kalo Chorio, Lasithi - A place filled with legends and traditions – but you will find quality tourism services too. A beautiful pebbled beach which is almost deserted, apart from a couple of locals sunbathing & snorkling for Octopus.
Kato Zakros - Following the two hours long footpath through the "gorge of the dead", you will be rewarded with the view of a magnificent beach but also of the Minoan Palace of Zakros destroyed on 1450 B.C. possibly by a Thira (Santorini) volcano explosion.
Kedrodasos, Chania - One of the most beautiful beaches. The light seems to be coming from the bottom of the sea; you feel like swimming in the light itself! A hidden paradise for many years since only few knew how to actually get there. A fantastic place to camp and enjoy some serenity away from the thousands of tourists who invade nearby Elafonisi
Keratokambos, Southern Heraklio - In the Cretan dialect the word translates as "Carob Pods Flats". The Minoan goddess of childbearing Ileithia was worshiped nearby. Only sun and sea, no constraints of civilisation, no unnecessary fig leafs…
Kouremenos - A real magnet for windsurfers from all over the world, who find ideal wind-wave combinations. The beach is sandy and partly pebbly . The sea water is excellent and a little bit cool.
Krios, Koundoura - The most south-western part of Crete. Crystal-clear, icy waters, welcome you after the walk on the E4 European mountain path. You can certainly drive all the way to Krios, but would the feeling be the same?
Lakki - At a distance of 82 kilometers from Chania at the Southeast, you will find the beach of Lakki, a remote beach, open to the South and affected by the southern winds. There's something here for everyone: shallow waters for the young, rocky parts for line fishing, and if you like to immerse yourself into Medieval history; Frangokastelo is not far away.
Ligres - Piece and tranquillity without electricity, telephone and other useless devices… Ligres beach is accessible by a good road (follow the signs from Kerames to "LIGRES" and "Best Beach" - straight ahead at the junction in Kerames)
Lissos, Southern Chania - Situated some 70 kilometers south of Chania and approximately 3 kilometers west of Sougia, Lissos is a remote pebbly beach, open to the South and affected by the southern winds. You may visit the ruins of ancient Lissos, which is in the interior, approximately an hour walk.
Listis, Tsoutsouras - Some quiet beaches between Tsoutsouras and Keratokampos, where the main tourist activity is to sit on the beach, watching for the day to pass, feeling the warm breath of the Libyan Sea… Listis beach is deserted and idyllic and offers parts of sand, parts of fine pebbles and rocky ends. The rocky sea bottom makes the place excellent for snorkelling.
Makris Gialos, Ierapetra - The beach opposite from the Minoan Villa archaeological site is an uncrowded beach with shingle and pebbles. Makrygialos beach is the main sandy beach and the shallow water makes it suitable for children. Diaskari beach and Langada beach are two secluded beaches past Makris Gialos. There is a sign to Diaskari beach. The Sea deepens so smoothly, it gives the feeling that one can walk all the 320 km to Africa.
Maridati - The 200 meters long beach of Maridati , partly sandy and partly pebbly, is situated at a distance of 23 kilometers east of Sitia and 4 kilometers northeast of Palaekastro, within a small cove. The beach is not very well known and affected by the winds.
Martsalo, Mesara - The beach where Apostle Paul disembarked on his journey to Rome and preached Christianity for the first time. In the middle of a gorge one can see the church of Saint Mary, nested in a cave, dating from the first Christian years. It is believed that this church was also a catacomb, where Christians were hiding to escape the persecutions of the various occupiers of Crete. Around the church, one can find monk cells carved into the stone and traces of century-old buildings.
Menies, Cape of Diktinna - Here you can visit the sanctuary of ancient Diktinna, where processions of believers from the entire known world visited to devote their vows. Forty-five minutes of a relatively demanding dirt road or you can take the boat departing from Platanias.
Mochlos, Agios Nikolaos - A village filled with fish taverns with a view of the Psira Island, and lots of archaeological findings. 42 km east of Agios Nikolaos, the last beach town before Sitia, Mochlos and the small locations around it feature some narrow stretches of sand but a lot of character. The crowd is mainly European couples.
Mononaftis - The beach of Mononaftis is located 1 km from the tourist resort of Agia Pelaghia at the North, and 17 km from Heraklion (via the National Road to Rethymnon) at the Northwest, some 3-4 km off the National Road. It is a sandy beach affected by the "meltemia" (northern summer winds). With characteristic green waters, it is the most secluded beach in the overdeveloped area of Agia Pelagia in Heraklion.
Myrtos, Ierapetra - The beach of Myrtos is a nice and rather quiet beach, sandy and in parts pebbly, in front of the homonymous village at the southern coast of Crete, close to the borders of the Heraklion prefecture. The beach is situated 51 km south of Agios Nikolaos and 14,5 km west of Ierapetra. The village has grown bigger these last years but it has kept its charm and its Cretan feeling. Crystal-clear waters and a long beach that is very rarely crowded.
Pirgos, Gavdos - For lucky captains of small boats or for the adventurous walkers who are willing to defy the wild and long route (and also the Odyssey to reach the southern part of Europe, Gavdos). Water, taverns, or kiosks are nowhere to be found, just sun, sea, peace and isolation.
Plakias, Southern Rethymnon - A wonderful 1300 m long sandy beach, between the capes of Stavros and Kako Mouri that is ideal for swimming and water sports. It also has a series of small private beaches for total tannning…
Platia Peramata, Lentas - Platia Peramata is a small fishing port at the end of a track. Beaches in this area are almost deserted.. On the road from Lentas to Kali Limenes in the Heraklion district, some nice coves and some very primitive bungalows, frequented mainly by locals in August.
Potamos, Gavdos - Potamos is a breathtaking beach at the north west edge of Gavdos island with characteristic yellow-red sand. Potamos is accesible only by boat as the wind and the sea created unique formations on the slopes surrounding the beach. Nature's sculpture at its best! An evanescent glimpse to the supernatural, a landscape charged with metaphysical vibrations. Potamos is an almost deserted beach. Behind the beach is a large scale erosion.
Preveli, Southern Rethymnon - The most photographed beach of Crete. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, when the day-trips depart, you’ll understand the reason why the hippies once considered it a spiritual centre for meditation and inner peace…
Rihti, Exo Mouliana - Rihti is near Mochlos in north eastern part of Crete. Follow a track and a three to four hours walk through a gorge or a "nasty" dirt road will take you to one of the most secluded beaches of the island. The beach is sandy with small pebbles. The sea water is really excellent. Crystal clear blue waters are waiting for you.
Rodakino, Southern Rethymnon - Your bathing suit is optional, your sunscreen products mandatory. Accessible from the (Main) road between Plakias and Hora Sfakion at a turn off in Kato Rodakinon.
Sarakiniko, Gavdos - The most cosmopolitan beach of the island of Gavdos, meaning there are two tavernas and two or three camps… Sarakiniko is a huge, golden sandy beach with small, hospitably bent over trees. There are many people vacationing on the beach, but usually they are evenly scattered and absorbed over the large area, allowing for privacy and quiet.
Sougia, Southern Chania - The beach of Sougia is one of the longest beaches in Western Crete and one of the beaches where nudism is tolerated. Ancient Syia was here, famous for its oak tree forests and its pigs.
Stavros, Akrotiri - Stavros beach is approximately 15 km northeast of Chania, at the very north of the Akrotiri peninsula. It is a rather remote beach with fine sand, but as most of the northern beaches, it is not protected from the "meltemia" (northern summer winds). Facing the mountain where Kakogiannis' "Zorbas" was filmed. Everyone remembers the scene where Anthony Quinn, interpreting the Kazantzakis' hero, built a quarry which spectacularly fell apart.
Stavros, Fodele - 25 km west of Heraklion's international airport, on a unique location, with breathtaking sea views, a 100-meter drop into the deep blue, not exactly the place for an easy swim as is it affected by the "meltemia" (northern summer winds). You can combine your swimming and sunbathing with a sightseeing of the area; near by is the village of Fodele, where El Greco was supposedly born.
Tertsa, Viannos - The coastal road going from Mirtos to Arvi in the Heraklion district is hard to find for non–Cretans. One of Crete’s most secluded settlements is Tertsa, for authentic situations without much "civilization" around.
Trachoulas, Lentas - Authentic hermits from all around the world have settled down to isolate. Behave accordingly! The beach is also referred to as Psili Ammos. The beach is quite long with tiny pebbles and some smooth rocks in the middle, and the water is very clear. It seems to be protected from the western winds that usually blow in this area. It is a naturist beach with very few textiles visiting occasionally.
Triopetra, Southern Rethymnon - Agios Pavlos, Triopetra, Platia Permata, Kala Limania, a dirt road bordering some of the most beautiful and "private" beaches of Crete. The whole beach must be 1200 metres or so. Turn west and there is initially a dirt track, then a concrete road parallel with the beach for about a kilometre, then the road carries on to another bay. Triopetra beach is sandy, with clean water, no wind.
Tris Ekklisies, Asterousia - The dirt road after Pirgos is demanding (a 4x4 vehicle would be useful) but will reward the traveler with a unique view to the Asteroussia mountains: small waterfalls, springs, flocks of sheep, shepherd houses made of stone, beautiful country churches… At Tris Ekklisies there are some rooms for rent, taverns with fresh fish and some traditional coffee places.
Tsoutsouras, Southern Heraklion - Inner tourism from the surrounding villages of Crete, little tavernas on the waves which will undertake the mission of frying the fish just out of the fish-boat; it’s so nice being in Crete in summer time!