Ela! To visit Crete beaches, lying peacefully in the sun...
With so many wonderful beaches, it is hard to choose. Which is your favourite? Life on the beach can be busy, social or relaxed.
See below for our beach by beach exploration of Crete, from west to east.
The beaches in Crete are very different, depending on where you go. There are wild beaches with surf, or calm inlets without a ripple. There are comfortable beaches with sunlounges, tavernas, cafés and restaurants, or isolated beaches with the wind in your hair...
The beautiful Mediterranean sparkles and glows blue, blue, blue. Distances become fractured, the light plays with our senses and our memories...the atmosphere expands and shimmers, opening our hearts.
Crete has many clean Blue Flag beaches where issues such as water quality, litter and environmental education are looked after to high standards. This rating also includes safety and environmental management issues, meaning a great beach experience for swimmers!
Below we have shared with you some of our favourite beaches of Crete, from west to east, wild beaches to town beaches...beaches for swimming and beaches for sitting at a taverna, beaches for sleeping and beaches for a great holiday in Kriti...
See the handy map below for locations of our selected beaches...
Crete has 300 days of sunshine on average every year, so it makes beach going very high on our list of things to do. With swimming from April to November, Crete has one of the longest seasons in the region.
From west to east - here are some of the most beautiful beaches in Crete...
Elafonisi Beach on the west of Crete, with its shimmering clear waters and islet, is one of our favourite Crete beaches. A protected area, this is well worth the visit.
Falasarna is a long wide beach on the north-west tip of Crete.
Gramvousa one of the most stunning locations in Crete, rocky cliffs, islets, a ruined castle, pirate coves and azure waters of Balos Lagoon, all in a pristine unpopulated peninsula, in the north-west of Chania.
Balos Lagoon on the north-west tip of Chania.
Paleohora on the south coast of Chania has many lovely beaches.
Sougia a small undeveloped village on south coast; get there by ferry.
Maleme a long sand and pebble beach west of Chania on the north coast of Crete.
Agia Marina is a sandy beach west of Chania on the north coast of Crete.
Agia Roumeli a small remote village on south coast; get there by ferry to see the Samaria Gorge.
Loutro (above) is a stunning whitewashed village on the south coast of Crete, inaccessible and beautiful.
Souda Bay is a busy port and naval base in the north of Crete.
Frangokastello a quiet beach with a ghostly ruined castle on the south coast of Crete.
Preveli Beach on the south coast of Rethymnon, a hidden tropical paradise.
Agia Fotini on the south coast of Rethymnon, a quiet beach with a taverna and rooms.
Agia Pelagia on the north coast, 20 kms west of Iraklion town, is a beachside village with a delightful cove of turquoise waters.
Ammoudara, to the west of Iraklion, is a busy town beach
Matala (above) on the south coast overlooking the Bay of Messara, is a very beautiful beach with unusual rock formations and plenty of history.
Kokkinos Pirgos on the south coast of Iraklion, is a surf and pebble beach.
Keratokambos Beach on the south coast, to the east of Pyrgos is a wild remote beach, where you can escape and find the wind in your hair.
Elounda on the north coast 11 kms from Agios Nikolaos, is one of the luxury areas of Crete, of course the beach is free and it is very enjoyable.
Kitroplateia Beach one of Agios Nikolaos' town beaches, just right for a dip after sightseeing.
is a tiny beach village on the quiet south-east coast of Crete. Beautiful and relaxed.
Vai on the eastern tip of Crete, is one of the most unusual beaches in Europe, home to a picturesque and unique palm forest, clear waters and a sandy beach. One of our favourite Cretan beaches.
Snorkelling is perfect in Crete because of the clear waters and abundance of marine life to see, good visibility and warm waters. During holiday season there are quite a few day tours for divers and snorkellers. One good spot for snorkelling is the island of Dia, off Iraklion town.
Scuba is very organised in Kreta and there are a number of clubs, courses and tours to do. Again the clear waters make diving a dream. You can see all types of fish, beautiful coral and shells, octopus, moray eels, scorpion fish, salemas, bream, stingrays, sponges and sea anemones. See our nature pages for more information. There is good diving off Dia island, off Iraklion town.
One of the most romantic ways to visit Kriti is to take a ferry to her remote beaches, such as Loutro, Agia Roumeli and Glyka Nera, where lack of roads and very steep mountains make sea travel and hiking the only access.
Remember that some Crete beaches are home to turtles. The caretta caretta sea turtle is an endangered species so is fully protected and there are programs to ensure its safety.
On Kriti, turtles nest at Chania, Rethymnon and Messara Bay. More about the turtles on our nature pages.
Palm trees on the beach, it sounds so tropical, however you can laze under a palm tree (actually a whole forest of them), on Vai Beach in Lassithi. This is a truly stunning setting, undeveloped, pristine and really memorable. There is no township at Vai, however it is worth the journey and we recommend it. More about the palm forest on our nature pages.
There are dolphins and whales in the seas of Crete, so chances are you might see one, or visit our nature and conservation pages to find out more. In the waters around Crete are Sperm Whales (above).
If you have a favourite Crete beach, please let us know...post a story and photo on YOUR Favourite Crete Beach page.
More on beach accommodation options in Crete... Hand picked small hotels, apartments, guest houses and domatia within walking distance of the beach...