Top 10 Nicest Crete Beaches you have to visit
The island of Crete has a myriad of nice things to offer. It comes from the fact that aside from its undeniable beauty and the rich ancient history that surrounds it, it is the largest of all the islands in Greece. Within its 8,300 sq. km. area lies a diverse flora and fauna, layers of terrains, valleys, and gorges, soaring mountain landscapes, fishing villages, lakes and rivers, and most of all, best beaches in all tints and shades of blue.
There are over 30 majestic Crete beaches waiting to be explored that a week of stay in this Greek island certainly would not suffice. From small and secluded pockets of paradise to the most-recommended grand attractions, here are 10 of the nicest Crete beaches that you must visit depending on what floats your boat.
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For the party-goers
There is more to the island of Crete than its azure blue seascapes and rich historic sites. Over the years, the island has secured its spot as one of Greek’s party districts where ravers flock. This wild nightlife scene contrasts with the laid back feel of the quintessential destination.
Aside from the energy-fueled atmosphere, social events, and sights, the most apparent advantage of visiting the crazy side of Crete is the abundance of accommodations, restaurants, and amenities such as spas and gyms.
Located in the northern region of Crete, approximately 35 kilometers east of Heraklion. This famous party district is a big hit not just in Crete but also the entire Greece. The beach is always full of fun-loving tourists that sunbeds and beach towels eat up nearly the entirety of its shore.
Malia is surely the place to be if you are looking to drink and dance the night away (after a whole day of dipping your skin in the water and your toes in the sand, of course.) In this fine stretch of golden shore, epic festivities await such as boat and cruise parties, pool parties, beach festivals with live DJs, paint parties, champagne spray parties, and many other gimmicks imaginable.
Located at the southern part of Crete, 66 kilometers from Heraklion, Matala- while it naturally lives up to the Cretan beach standard- is more famous for another reason.
The charm and essence of this large, sandy area can be attributed to the perfect harmony of its strange yet artistic features, fun festivities, and the rich history that surround it. While it has become more crowded, it still possesses the quality of a fishing village than a big resort.
Man made caves are instrumental in cementing Matala’s identity as the hippie spot in Greece. In the Neolithic Era, limestone caves were hollowed out to serve as shelters for lepers and during the Roman occupation, the site became a burial ground. But what truly put Matala on the map was the period when nomadic hippies inhabited these ancient caves back in the 60’s and 70’s. The legacy of Matala was immortalized in the song Carey by folk singer Joni Mitchell who also joined in the nomadic pursuit and resided in the ancient caves herself for a short while.
At present, the annual buzzworthy festival is the life and soul of the site. It was started a decade ago to revive the hippie roots of Matala. While the festival is far from its origin, it pays homage to the 60’s and 70’s Matala by connecting man and nature through superb scenery, good music, and art appreciation. The Beach Festival may seem more toned down compared to Malia Beach’s party rituals, but this captivating event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world yearly. If you are wondering whether this 260-meter long beach with soft sand can accommodate that many tourists, the answer would be yes! Matala beach offers ample sunbeds, umbrellas, taverns, and other hangout spots and amenities good for a huge volume of visitors.
For the soul searchers
Do you feel calmer traveling solo or in pairs? Then some pleasurable strolls to serene and secluded blue gems of Greece are the way to go. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are plenty of unfrequented beautiful beaches in Crete waiting to be explored and talked about. These beautiful beaches often require boat transfers, long drives, or a bit of leg work but they are oh so worth the effort.
Also read: Where to stay in Crete
Domata beach is a calm and enchanting destination situated 58 kilometers south of Chania. It is at the tip of the Klados Gorge, an infamously dangerous and hard-to-access wild gorge in Crete. One might say that Domata Beach is the reward that awaits anyone who dares to traverse the extremely difficult trail.
The remote coast of Domata is only accessible via the E4 Trail but this path requires serious climbing so it is not for the fearsome. To make your life easier, you could simply rent a boat in Agia Ruomeli- a village that sits between Hora Sfakion and Paleochora.
The crystal clear, vibrant water of Domata beach perfectly captures what the cerulean color is all about. Adding to its rustic appeal is the line of pine trees which provides shade and make up for the lack of umbrellas and huts. If you are planning to stay overnight, be sure to bring your essentials and enough chows. You would have to pitch your own tent too!
If blocking the noise of the world while savoring the sight of one of the best beaches in Crete is your main goal, then you should definitely add Domata beach to your itinerary. However, if you cannot let go of convenience even for one day, then skip this destination.
Don’t you just hate it when you still have got so many things left to see but you have so little time? You might encounter this dilemma once or twice while island-hopping on the best beaches in Crete.
Here is the good thing: Preveli beach lets you enjoy three wonders at once with its rare aquamarine waters merging with cold currents of the Grand River, generously ornamented with clusters of palm trees and other vegetation. The Grand River serves as a vessel through which the water from the mountains flows. The same water ends up mixing with the clear waters of the Preveli beach which ends at the Libyan Sea. The difference in water densities results in a colorful spectacle of the merging of jade and aqua.
The breathtaking Preveli beach is located 35 kilometers south of Rethymno and 10 kilometers east of Plakias. You will be greeted with a free parking space and from this point, you can begin your 20-minute walk leading to paradise. Riding a boat is also an option if you are coming from Agia Galini or Plakias. It can get heavily crowded during peak season but do not let this put you off because every inch of this Cretan treasure is worth braving huge packs of crowd for.
One of the most admirable things about the beaches in Crete is the conservation effort that surrounds them. Because of Preveli’s natural distinct features, Greek authorities chose to keep the shore undisturbed so do not expect to find sunbeds and other amenities for human convenience. It is best to bring your own beach towels and gear and leave no trace behind.
If you want to grab a bite, there is a dining spot nestled behind the vegetations near the river. You may encounter an occasional parade of free-roaming goats and other animals in some areas. All in all, Preveli remains organized despite its resistance to development. The unique details of the beach make it one of the best beaches in Crete.
For groups of family
Family vacations can get really exciting yet challenging especially since beaches in Crete are either too isolated or too cramped. It is important to find a destination in Greece that has something for every member of the family.
Overall, the suggested beautiful beaches below are among the top recommended family-friendly beaches that offer the best experience Crete has to offer for family day-trippers and lodgers.
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Falassarna is one of the best-known beaches in the Chania region. 1 kilometer-long beach that can be a good starting point for families with no strict itinerary for it is accessible via good roads and is just 1 hour away from Chania. It boasts a stretch of white sand and clear placid waters which are in close proximity to basic facilities. With its size, you will never have to worry about being overwhelmed by crowds as it is nearly impossible to occupy every patch of this tropical paradise.
There are available sunbeds and lounging spots for parents who wish to laze around while watching their kids from a distance. Feel free to rinse off in the shower areas before hopping on the nearest bars and restaurants, or taking leisurely strolls in the nearby shops.
Falassarna beach is more ideal for day trips due to the limited lodgings available. Nevertheless, what it lacks in accommodation facilities it makes up for in fun and engaging activities such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and water skiing. The area is also surrounded by nature reserves so be sure to walk around and explore with your family when you have the chance. A few kilometers from the beach sits the captivating ruins of the ancient Minoan harbor so add this to your itinerary too to experience the ancient civilization of Greece on a deeper level.
If you do not intend to spend the night at Falassarna, then stay until the golden hour to catch the most amazing pink sunset you will ever experience on one of the best beaches in Crete. With its west-facing
Also see: Map of Crete with Hotels and Prices
Hailed as the “Carribean” of Crete, Elafonisi beach has frequented dozens of travel blogs and listicles under the “Must Visit Beaches” category for a reason: its soft pinkish white sand and gradient turquoise waters that glisten any time a sunray hits it.
This fantastic tourist destination is one of the best beaches in Crete. It is located approximately 76 kilometers from the city of Chania and is accessible in three ways- car, bus, or boat. Car rides from Chania could take up to 2 hours. If you are considering taking the bus, bear in mind that bus services are limited to peak seasons only. Meanwhile, you can ride a small boat from Paleochora but you also have to be mindful of its schedule.
Elafonisi beach ticks off most, if not all, of the criteria on what family-friendly beaches should offer.
Soft sand (bonus for the crushed pink seashells that line the shore)
shallow waters as clear as crystal
Availability of sunbeds, umbrellas, shower and changing areas, and other essential facilities
Accessible and organized accommodations and parking areas
A chance to spot rare wildlife gems
Various activities for kids and adults
Like many other beaches in Crete, picking the right time to visit should also be taken into consideration. Aside from the high volume of visitors during summer, you also have to check the forecast since it can get windy on the coast of Elafonisi. Other than these, this paradise is one of the best beaches in Crete for families looking for unforgettable experiences.
For the thrill-seekers
While it is tempting to just bask in the sun, sip on a cold beverage, have occasional dips in the water, and frolic on the soft sand during your entire stay in the best beaches in Crete, do not close your doors on adrenaline-filled adventures because oftentimes, they are the most memorable.
Every thrill-seeking tourist must know about the best beaches in Crete for heart-pumping adventures.
You may book a private tour with a local driver to explore this exquisite place with this company.
Hersonissos beach is one of the best beaches in Crete in terms of adventures. It attracts travelers in pursuit of an adrenaline boost. It is only 10 to 11 kilometers from Malia Beach so it is heavily saturated with party crawlers and the nightlife here is as vibrant and busy. In recent years, however, Hersonissos is becoming more than just a party district with its blossoming selection of extreme outdoor activities which target adrenaline junkies incapable of staying still and staying in.
A trip to Hersonissos requires an endless supply of stamina. Hersonissos is one of the few beaches in Crete that offers nearly every water sports one can think of such as parasailing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, flyboarding, waterskiing, paddleboarding, stand up canoeing, and single or double canoeing. There are also safer activities that involve inflatables for the younger demographics.
If you feel like leveling up both your altitude and excitement, then you have to try bungee jumping. There is a water park at Hersonissos beach that offers a rare and exciting bungee jumping experience above the sea!
Another fantastic activity that would give you the rush of a lifetime is paragliding and there is a spot just 17 minutes away from Hersonissos, in the small village of Avdou. This paragliding spot is one of the best and most sought-after in the world. Just imagine seeing the coast of Hersonissos, the neighboring Malia, parts of Heraklion, and other surrounding beaches at their finest.
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From above sea level, let us descend to the lower altitude of Crete- underwater to be specific.
Skinaria beach is a sheltered cove located at the south of Crete. The waves, much like its coast, are relatively small and few tiny pebbles encrust its shore so it is not the best place for kids to run around.
The quiet yet rugged features of Skinaria Beach appeal to many. The slim road that leads to this beach builds up the excitement of visitors in search of a destination with an “off-the-beaten-path” appeal. Another plus is it is not totally remote- with convenience and basic amenities still available within reach.
Skinaria beach may appear to be small but do not be fooled. This modest-sized beach offers direct access to one of Crete’s, if not the entire Greece’s, best and richest underwater treasure. Local marine life thrives in this area and chances of interactions with marine animals are fairly possible. Aside from the abundance of vivid sea creatures and corals, divers take special interest in the presence of unique rock formations, underwater canyons, and caves where you can pass through and explore. It helps that Skinaria’s water clarity can reach up to 40 meters, which is another factor why the majority of scuba diving centers in Crete include this gifted site to their excursions.
For Luxury Loungers
A trip to the idyll coast of Crete is not very cheap especially for regular people with a set budget for every single expense. Most people really do some careful planning and save up for months, or even years, just to get an authentic feel of the Mediterranean breeze and land on as many beaches as they can.
If you are a believer of “Go big or go home”, then you must be leaning toward the more luxurious beaches of Crete and nothing less.
While the majority of beaches in Crete remain underdeveloped, there are destinations that cater to people who are used to living a more comfortable life.
This haven takes pride in its flashy reputation as one of the most lucrative and glamorous destinations Crete has to offer. Situated north-east of Crete, Elounda attracts wealthy vacationers including influential people and celebrities looking to relax and enjoy the fine caress of .
Just because big luxury hotels and villas line up neatly along the coast of Elounda Beach does not mean it has lost its charm and natural appeal. The glamorous beach has preserved the signature characteristics of a Crete beach: the gradient crystal clear turquoise waters, fine light-washed sands, and palm trees and vegetations in random corners. Elounda’s development aims to offer quality vacation while keeping the environment sound and unharmed. As a matter of fact, it holds a Blue Flag Award which recognizes its strong environment protection initiatives.
Tip: There are accommodations around Elounda that sit opposite the Spinalonga Island so consider booking a room with a view of the historic region for an unforgettable stay.
Georgioupolis beach is a 9-kilometer long sandy beach in between Chania and Rethymnon. It is without a doubt one of the busiest beaches in Crete not because of the number of tourists that flock to the area but because of the interesting and organized features that it possess such as its initial point- Church of Agios Nikolaos; the quaint Perastikos River interrupting its vast stretch, the presence of dunes in some places, to name a few. At the end of the beach, Kavros, another well-known area, awaits.
Unlike Elounda beach, Georgioupolis does not advertise itself as a grand luxurious region. Nonetheless, if you take a look around, upscale hotels, high-end residential apartments and villas, and upgraded amenities are available in many different parts of this sandy beach. Taverns, restaurants, and cafes are abundant in the area and the beach staples such as lounge beds, umbrellas, and showers are also ready for use.
If you wish to find the balance between indulging in luxurious downtimes and taking pleasurable strolls to feel the soft sand of Crete under your toes- then Georgioupolis beach is the perfect region for you.
Planning your holiday trip is like going to a tailor shop- everything must fit perfectly. With the long list of best beaches to visit under the credentials of Crete, choosing a place of respite and exploration has never been more exciting.
I hope you enjoyed the article about the Top 10 Nicest Crete Beaches You Have To Visit?
And wish you a wonderful holiday 🙂