Discover + 45 of the Best Beaches in Crete (A guide by an Insider!)

Best beaches in Crete

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Crystal clear waters, soft white sand, rocky coves, palm trees, maybe a small islet, maybe a dirt road to a remote location, or maybe a boat trip… These are some of the ingredients that define the famous beaches of Crete. The Tiny Book has several guides to the unique beaches of Crete, and also to the best Crete beaches grouped by region. However, here is a list of the best of the best beaches in Crete… Enjoy!


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Best Beaches in Crete that You Should Not Miss!

What Beaches you Should Visit in Crete, Greece

There are hundreds of amazing beaches to discover on the island of Crete, some of them have often been included among the best shores on the Greek Islands. Let’s start with the top 5 sandy beaches in Crete, places of unique natural beauty, popular and often also crowded during the summer months, but always worth a visit.

These are the first beaches in this list, the top 5 beaches in Crete that you should not miss when visiting the island…

Elafonisi Pink Sand Beach

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.269391 | Longitude: E 23.531477

Best beaches in Crete
Elafonisi Beach

Arguably the most popular and famous, and certainly, the most beautiful beach in Crete is Elafonisi Beach. Well-known for the pink shade of its soft sand, the islet of Elafonisi is about 70 km south of Chania, in western Crete.

Elafonisi is a long beach and features a small. It has turquoise and emerald waters, shallow and safe for kids. On some summer days, it can be hit by strong winds, however, the water tends to be calm during the whole season. Elafonisi is located in a very remote and rather isolated village, and it can be reached either by public transport, as well as driving along the coastal road of west Crete or by crossing the breathtaking gorge of Topolia.

The beach has good organization, and a huge car park while new hotels and rental homes are being opened season after season in the area. It’s a great place for families with kids, but also for solo travelers, couples, and those who love sports. Visit this page to read a super detailed guide to Elafonisi.

You might also want to read: Where to stay near Elafonisi (Accommodation Guide).

Balos Beach & Lagoon

Region: Chania (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.57962 | Longitude: E 23.588481

Best beaches in Crete
The shallow lagoon of Balos.

As popular as Elafonisi, although it comes first for many tourists, Balos Beach and Lagoon is the most famous image you can find online whenever you do research about Crete. The beach is on the Gramvousa Peninsula, a remote area of the island. That picture of alluring beauty, made of white sand and crystalline emerald waters is a synonym of Crete all over the world.

It’s not easy to get to Balos, there ‘is some hiking involved if visiting with a car, and many fear driving here. However, the dirt road to Balos is not that bad after all… or at least, it’s not the worst road you might have to drive on the island.

If you’re touring Crete with small kids, it might be better to consider taking a day cruise to Balos to avoid hiking from the parking area to the beach under the scorching Cretan sun in the high season. This guide to visiting Balos includes all the tips to get there and the best things to do nearby.

Click here for information about the best places to stay near Balos.

Falasarna Beach

Region: Chania (West coast)
Latitude: N 35.503712 | Longitude: E 23.577256

Best beaches in Crete
Falasarna Beach, Crete Island.

Falasarna Beach (usually also written as Falassarna Beach) is another of my favorite beaches in Chania, which I visit whenever I have some free time from my gastronomic tours. It is a fantastic long beach and one of the best sand beaches on the island of Crete.

The beach is located about an hour away from Chania and it’s a fantastic day trip you can take when you’re staying in the region. Falassarna is also one of the widest beaches of Crete, it is ideal for swimming and practicing water sports due to its windy weather conditions, however, when there are very strong winds it can be difficult to spend long hours on the shore.

On the other hand, on those days when the wind doesn’t blow, Falasarna is perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling too. There are excellent tavernas in the area, including one of my favorite restaurants in Crete.
There are also beach bars and places to buy drinks and snacks. Overall, the beach is fairly well organized and it’s also an enchanting spot for a few days of complete relaxation.

My complete guide to Falassarna includes several other tips such as things to do in the area, the best places to stay, and more.

You might also want to read: How to spend 3 weeks in Crete (On the road itinerary).

Palm Beach of Vai

Region: Lasithi (East coast)
Latitude: N 35.254528  Longitude: E 26.265406

Where to stay in Crete for Beaches - vai beach
Palm trees in Vai Beach.

Another top beach in Crete is the fantastic Palm Beach of Vai. Vai is so popular among the people visiting the east of Crete that it is very common to find it crowded in summer even if it is not located in a central position. The best way to get there is by car, the beach is a short drive from the city of Sitia.

Vai hosts Europe’s biggest natural pam forest which gives magic and an exotic feel to the area. The bay is wide and calm, the sea very clean and shallow, all conditions that make it a perfect place to swim especially for children.

Indeed, the beach of Vai is great for families with children, and much better if you visit in more tranquil months The best time to visit are the months of April, May, and the end of September. Due to the dry and hot weather in the east of Crete, you can enjoy the best of Vai even until late October and sometimes well into November. Check this complete guide to Vai Palm Beach for further details.

Click here for the best places to stay in the area of Vai.

The Hippie Beach of Matala

Region: Heraklion (South coast)
Latitude: N 34.987405 | Longitude: E 24.747813

Matala beach, Crete, Caves, Sunset

Matala, Crete’s hippie beach, is located on the southern coast of Heraklion and it’s another popular beach on the island that everyone wants to visit. Immortalized in a song by Joni Mitchell, the beach and the village of Matala is an unmissable stop during your holiday on Greece’s largest island.

The beach combines both soft golden sand and pebbles, with a clear sea quite deep and subject to currents when it’s a bit windy. The coast of Matala is a good place for snorkeling and it’s also possible to explore the seaside caves along the shore by renting a boat as well as to visit the caves on the western side of the beach, located on a cliff right by the sea which.

Inhabited by hippies and ex-pats during the ’60s and ’70s, the caves became a legendary place that made Matala a popular destination. Every year in June, Matala also hosts a 3-day summer music festival. You can read more about the things to do in Matala, including the nearby villages and beaches, the archaeological sites, and the places to stay.

You might also want to read: Where to Stay in Matala and How to Get from Heraklion to Matala.

Best Beaches in Crete: Chania Region

Let’s now see some of the gorgeous beaches that you can find in West Crete, in fact, this is the region with the best beaches in Crete.

Seitan Limania

Region: Chania (Cape Akrotiri)
Latitude: N 35.551902 | Longitude: E 24.193404

Best beaches in Crete
Seitan Limania Beach.

Stefanou Beach (popularly called Seitan Limania or the Devil’s Ports) is a spectacular beach at the end of the Akrotiri Peninsula, about 30 minutes away from the center of Chania town.

Here, the sea is quite wavy and subject to currents, however, the unique colors of the sea and the rough, steep cliffs that surround the bay, make it an irresistible spot for those in search of the perfect postcard picture of Crete.

The beach lacks organization, so you should carry with you everything you need to spend the day. Since hiking to the beach is a must to reach the shore, you’ll be better off wearing closed footwear, such as tennis shoes or hiking sandals. Read more about this beach in this Akrotiri Beaches guide.

Click here to check the best hotels and villas to stay near the area.

Stavros Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Akrotiri)
Latitude: N 35.591 | Longitude: E 24.0957

Best beaches in Crete

Stavros Beach is another of my personal favorites. I’m lucky to live quite close in order to visit whenever I can. Here, the sea is shallow close to the shore and the water has an incredible green tone that makes it look quite exotic.

Sometimes, the sand acquires a beautiful pink tone that makes you wonder if making all the way to Elafonisi is really worth the effort (well, yes, we know it is!).

Stavros Beach lacks waves and there are no currents, making it the best beach in the area when the weather is windy all over the region.

This spot is a fantastic place for families, it’s well organized with umbrellas, showers, and sunbeds. There are wonderful tavernas in the area too, so all you need to get there is your beach bag, sunglasses, and goggles to spot the fish underwater. This is another beach I included in the best beaches of Akrotiri and in the best beaches of West Crete lists.

Click here to find accommodation in Stavros.

Georgioupolis Beach

Region: Chania (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.361922 | Longitude: E 24.261377

Best beaches in Crete
The main beach (and chapel of Agios Nikolaos) seen from the bridge over the Perastikos River.

The small village of Georgioupolis, in the Apokoronas region of Chania, is home to a beautiful sandy beach, quite popular among locals and tourists alike. The beach of Georgioupolis lies on a long but quite narrow shore, with a shallow and safe sea, usually calm and without strong currents, safe and ideal for families with small kids.

The best-known feature of Georgioupolis is the small chapel of Agios Nikolaos, which enters the sea following a manmade rocky pier. A few meters towards the west of the beach, there’s a second shore, more isolated and less crowded, where a cold, crystal river merges with the sea. The river is deep enough for kids to dive from a small wooden bridge without being dangerous.

Click here to check the best-rated hotels in Georgioupolis.

Kalathas Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Akrotiri)
Latitude: N 35.5543 | Longitude: E 24.0872

Best beaches in Crete

Kalathas is one of my favorite beaches on the island, and it’s definitely among my kid’s top favorite shores in Crete. However, the reasons to include it among the top beaches in the Chania region are its closeness to the city center, its clean waters, wide shore, and excellent facilities.

Since it’s great for families but also for couples and sports lovers, this beach ticks all the boxes to become one of the best beaches in Chania. The long and wide shore has a semi-circular shape and a wonderful little islet just opposite the coast.

Kalathas is well-known among the locals, but several tourists have discovered it and usually visit it during July and August. It’s a great place to spend the whole day, with a few tavernas nearby and a great beach bar too.

It’s possible to practice different water sports or to hide away in the small cove next to the main beach. You can read more about Kalathas in this guide to the best beaches in Cape Akrotiri.

Click here to find accommodation in Kalathas.

Paleochora

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.231045 | Longitude: E 23.681817

Paleochora, Sea, Beach, Sand, Crete
Paleochora.

Less than 80 km south of Chania, on the south coast of Crete, one of the most popular beaches and villages of Chania is Paleochora (also spelled Palaiochora). Around the village, there are beaches for all tastes, sandy as well as pebbled, some of them organized while others are distant, far from the village, and lack organization.

Pachia Ammos is Paleochora’s main beach and it’s opposite the village, locals also call it Long Beach, since it’s quite long (more than 500 meters).

The beach is shallow and it has fine sand. A good thing about Paleochora is that you can still go to the beach when it is windy because when the wind blows on one side of the peninsula, it won’t blow o the opposite side, so, if you visit Paleochora on a windy day go to the beach that’s on the opposite side of the cape. This is a beach with small pebbles and is quite protected on windy days. These two beaches are organized, so it’s possible to rent a sunbed and an umbrella to spend the day.

If you want to read about the other beaches you can visit in Paleochora, including the nudist-friendly shores in the area visit this complete guide to Paleochora.

  • Other beaches to check in the south of Chania are Sougia, Agia Roumeli, and Marmara.

You might also want to read: Best places to stay in Paleochora.

Best Beaches in Crete: Rethymnon Region

These are some of the top-rated beaches in Rethymnon, many of them located in southern Crete. Here you will find info about Plakias beach, Preveli, and Triopetra among others. Looking for more Rethymnon Beaches? Check this post.

Preveli Palm Tree Beach

Region: Rethymnon (Southern Crete)
Latitude: N 35.152323 | Longitude: E 24.473218

Best beaches in Crete

Preveli Beach is another famous palm tree shore of Crete, about 35 km from Rethymnon city, on the south coast.

To reach the beach from the north you will need to cross through the small but beautiful Kourtaliotakos Gorge. The river in the bed of the gorge is known as Big River, and it flows to the south until it reaches the sand beach.

The palm forest on the margins of the river gives a unique atmosphere to the area. The river meets the beach on a sandy shore, although there are some pebbles. If you visit, check the amazing heart-shaped rock formation in the middle of the sea. The beach is partially organized.

Click here to check these top-rated places to stay close to Preveli.

Plakias Beach

Region: Rethymnon (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.190429 | Longitude: E 24.39392

Best beaches in Crete
The beautiful beach of Plakias, in Rethymnon.

You can get to Plakias Beach from Rethymnon driving through the tiny and narrow Kotsifou Gorge.

There are many different beaches in the area that you can visit, the main one is Plakias Beach itself, quite spacious and organized. The different shores are divided by rocky promontories that create unique hidden bays and produce dramatic backdrops with stunning views of the sea, the nearby olive groves, and the cliffs.

Skinaria, Damnoni, and Ammoudaki are three of the beaches that you can explore. The shores are ideal for underwater exploration, snorkeling, and scuba diving (there are several immersion schools operating in the area), and all of them are nudism-friendly beaches.

Click here for the best hotels and places to stay in and around Plakias.

Ligres Beach

Region: Rethymnon (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.137884 | Longitude: E 24.530168

Best beaches in Crete

Perfect for lonely holidays, relaxation, and total rest, Ligres Beach is located on the southern coast of Rethymnon, about 5 km from Triopetra Beach. The peaceful shore is long and wide, while the sea is deep, ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.

On the western side of the beach, there are small springs and waterfalls. The beach has limited organization but there is a great taverna overlooking the beach which also rents rooms for those who decide to spend the night.

Click here to find hotels near Ligres.

Triopetra Beach

Region: Rethymnon (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.119377 | Longitude: E 24.547915

TRIOPETRA BEACH - CRETE
Triopetra Beach.

About 52 km from Rethymnon town, the beach of Triopetra is one of the widest shores on the south of the region. Triopetra is a beautiful pebbled beach, fully organized and quite isolated.

It takes a bit more than an hour to get there from the northern coast but the drive through the mountains is really worth it.

The beach has interesting geological formations that connect the land to the sea. It’s possible to explore the big rock, but the area is quite slippery by the sea, so be extremely careful if you plan to climb to see what’s on the other side (there’s another quiet beach on the other side, smaller and not very crowded).

Despite being a popular shore of Crete, the wide area never feels really crowded. It’s possible to enjoy lunch and drinks in the nearby tavernas.

Click here to find the best hotel in the area of Triopetra.

Beaches of Bali

Region: Rethymnon (North coast of Rethymnon)
Latitude: N 35.414032 | Longitude: E 24.782996

Best beaches in Crete
Bali Beach.

Located on the northern coast of Rethymnon, Bali Beach is one of Crete’s most visited resorts, therefore it tends to be crowded not just with visitors staying in the area, but also by day-trippers from Heraklion, Chania, and the town of Rethymnon itself.

Bali is home to several different bays, quite narrow and protected from the northern wind, which makes it truly different from the rest of the coast of Rethymnon, usually quite wavy and affected by the direct exposure to the northern windes.

Some of these bays are ideal for immersions and snorkeling too. The water, though is usually cooler than in other beaches due to the springs that carry freshwater from Mount Psiloritis. You can read more about Bali in my guide to the best beaches in Rethymnon.

You might also want to read: Best Beachside and Spa Resorts in Crete.

Best Beaches in Crete: Heraklion Region

If you’re planning to spend some time in the capital of the island, Heraklion, then you might want to visit Matala (mentioned above) or some of the beaches described down here. Alternatively, for more options in Heraklion read this guide to Heraklion’s Beast Beaches.

Malia

Region: Heraklion (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.282668 | Longitude: E 25.462921

MALIA BEACH CRETE

Malia is one of the top chosen beaches and village resorts in Crete. This well-developed coastal town is fairly close to Heraklion, about 35 km east along the coastal road.

The beach is wide, extending all the way to the lesser-known but still gorgeous Stalida. Malia is a loud and busy beach while the village is also famous for its nightlife. In fact, Malia is the town to go to if you’re looking for discos, clubs, and music bars.

The resort is preferred by young people all over Europe who choose Malia for its well-earned title of party-resort of Crete.

Click here to find the best places to stay in Malia.

Agia Pelagia

Region: Heraklion (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.404731 | Longitude: E 25.018634

Best beaches in Crete

Agia Pelagia is another popular beach in the region of Heraklion, as it is conveniently close to the city, and yet it manages to keep a somewhat relaxed village atmosphere.

There are several bays along the coast, some of them accessible only by boat. Others, instead, have organized structures and offer water sports such as SUP surfing and kayaking.

On the main beach of Agia Pelagia, there are a few good restaurants along the seaside, some of them serving also to the people who rent umbrellas at the beach.

The village is quite alive also at night, with a few well-known pubs and beach bars as well.

Click here to find the best hotels and suites in Agia Pelagia.

Stalida (Stalis Beach)

Region: Heraklion (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.293943 | Longitude: E 25.429442

Best beaches in Crete

Stalida (or also Stalis) is a seaside resort located on the northern coast of Crete, halfway between Hersonissos and Malia, no more than 20 km from the center of Heraklion. It’s a good place to stay since it’s not as busy as the capital, nor as crowded as Hersonissos, and it’s certainly less loud.

The beach is sandy and organized, with sunbeds, umbrellas, and a varied range of tavernas to serve meals, snacks, and drinks, also on the beach.

The beach is a favorite among families as it’s quite a safe beach, although there are a few rocks on the seaside, some of them hidden, others a bit slippery, which kids should be careful with. The rocks are part of a small cape that divides the beach into two different sections.

Click here to find the best hotels in Stalida.

Kalamaki

Region: Heraklion (South coast of Heraklion)
Latitude: N 35.028793 | Longitude: E 24.759173

Best beaches in Crete

Less than 10 minutes away by car from the beach of Matala, Kalamaki is a small village and tranquil beach, perfect to avoid the overcrowded beach and the overpriced (and limited) accommodation options Matala.

Home to just a few places to stay, a few seaside tavernas, and interesting crafts shops, this relaxing village has all the ingredients for those who come to Crete with the intention of resting from an agitated year of work.

There’s a sandy beach great for kids with spectacular sunset views. For those who would like to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, knowing that they are not completely isolated, it’s also possible to go out for dinners in the popular resort of Agia Galini, about 22 km away.

Click here to find the best hotels in Kalamaki and Kamilari, near Matala.

Red Beach

Region: Heraklion (South coast)
Latitude: N 34.987405 | Longitude: E 24.747911

Red Beach Mojito Bar
Red Beach, Matala.

Also known as Kokkini Ammos, Red Beach is a famous naturist beach just a few kilometers away from the hippie beach of Matala, on the south coast of Heraklion.

The beach is a well-known nudist beach on Crete that can be reached only on foot, hiking past the promontory that lies east of Matala.

The beach got its name due to the red color of the sand. It’s a beautiful place for snorkeling, but like many other beaches in the south, it’s quiet, and as its name tells you, it has reddish-golden sand and the waters are crystal clear, it’s a good place for snorkeling thanks to the colorful seabed. The hippie spirit is a bit more authentic than Matala’s.

Best Beaches in Crete: Lasithi Region

East Crete has some amazing shores for you to relax, swim, and enjoy, these are some of my favorite beaches in the region, more of them are in the guide to the best beaches in East Crete.

Voulisma
(One of the Best Beaches in Crete!)

Region: Lasithi
Latitude: N 35.125594 | Longitude: E 25.746135

Best beaches in Crete

Since Vai Beach already made it to the top 5 best beaches in Crete, at the beginning of this post, the next beach you should visit in Lasithi is Voulisma or Golden Beach, one of the best Istron Beaches. Considered one of the most beloved beaches on the island, Voulisma is in the village of Istron, only minutes away from Agios Nikolaos.

Voulisma is a long bay, with clear sand and beautiful turquoise and shallow, perfect for families but also for couples and groups of friends. Such a beautiful shore cannot go unobserved and it’s often jam-packed in summer.

The beach is well organized and there is a great beach bar overlooking the bay.

Click here to find the best hotels near Voulisma.

Kouremenos

Region: Lasithi (Eastern coast)
Latitude: N 35.214828 | Longitude: E 26.268117

Best beaches in Crete

Not far from the city and port of Sitia, Kouremenos is another beach worth a visit in the region of Lasithi. This beach with incredibly light blue waters is on a wide bay, about 2 km long, with fine, yellow sand. The place is a favorite for families but also for those who enjoy water sports such as windsurfing and kite-surfing.

The seabed has a fantastic submarine landscape, so make a point to visit Kouremenos if you’re keen on snorkeling.

There’s some organization on the beach, including umbrellas and sunbeds to rent. There’s no need to pack your lunch since there are also a few tavernas and a beach bar as well.

>>Read the reviews and book the best hotels near Kouremenos<<

Kato Zakros

Region: Lasithi (Eastern coast)
Latitude: N 35.098624 | Longitude: E 26.262238

Kato Zakros
(Source: Olaf Tausch – CC BY 3.0).

There are two small but petty beaches in the area of Kato Zakros as well as a very long shore. The area has limited organization but the tavernas by the beach have an excellent reputation for their fresh fish.

The beach is sandy although some areas have pebbles. The sea is deep blue and shallow, waveless, and calm. This makes it a great place for small kids.

>> Discover where to stay in Kato Zakros <<

Xerokampos

Region: Lasithi (Southeastern coast)
Latitude: N 35.032634 | Longitude: E 26.213779

XEROKAMPOS - CRETE

Xerokampos is a series of lonely and beautiful beaches in remote southeastern Crete.

There are several beaches worth a visit to the area, Mazida Ammos is the biggest one. It’s enclosed by the small peninsula of Trachilos and has alluring blue waters and fine sand.

Amatos (or Ligias Lakos), is another small shallow pebbled beach not far from Mazida Ammos. The beach is not organized so it’s better to pack all you need to spend the day.

Click here to find the best hotels in or near Xerokampos.

Myrtos

Region: Lasithi (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.004495 | Longitude: E 25.585051

Myrtos Beach

Myrtos is a beach and village in Lasithi that offers every necessary facility both to those traveling for a day only as well as those who stay in the area for longer periods of time.

The area is a typical southern village, laid-back and quiet, perfect for a holiday off the more vibrant inhabited centers of the north.

Myrtos is known for its calm sea as it lies on a wide but rather calm bay. It’s a dark sand beach mixed with coarse pebbles. There is a good organization, including showers, restaurants, and beach umbrellas too.

Best Beaches in Crete: The Top Hidden Beaches on Crete Island

Have you heard about these beaches before? Check them out down here, you can thank me later!!

Illingas Beach

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.202332 | Longitude: E 24.124587

Illingas Bech

Illingas is a hidden cove you can reach by taking a small boat either in Loutro or in Chora Sfakion. Solitary and isolated, the area is a favorite spot for naturism. The beach of Illingas (also spelled Iligas and Illigas) is also known as Kavi Beach, this because the beach is at the end of the gorge of Kavi.

Those keen on mountain trails and trekking can arrive at Illingas walking from the main road connecting Chora Sfakion and the village of Anopolis.

Click here to discover the best area where to stay close to Illingas Beach.

Machairida

Region: Chania, Cape Akrotiri (Also known as Maxairida or Macherida)
Latitude: N 35.56189 | Longitude: E 24.0862281

Best beaches in Crete

Machairida (or also Maxairida) is a perfect beach for hiding away and disconnecting from the rest of the world.

This is a very small shore with a few rocks and a fine sand beach with beautiful blue waters.

There’s no organization at all (there’s virtually no space for any facility). Since it’s a very small beach, it’s always better to head to Machairida very early in the morning so as to find a spot to spend the day.

Machairida is also a fantastic spot for sunset since it faces directly the west coast of Crete. Such a hidden spot has turned naturally into a well-known nudist beach on Cape Akrotiri.

Click here to find the best places to stay in the area of Machairida.

Ravdouxa Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Rodopou)
Latitude: N 35.541957 | Longitude: E 23.727748

Best beaches in Crete

Ravdoucha is a small village on the western side of the Rodopou peninsula, right in front of the Gulf of Kissamos.

There are two different beaches in the area, both known as Ravdoucha (or Ravdouxa). They’re pebbled beaches, mixed with sand in some areas. The smallest beach of Ravdoucha has a taverna and there are also a few rooms to let and a couple of beautiful touristic villas.

The biggest beach of Ravdoucha has a rocky pier from where you can dive and fish too.

Click here to find places to stay in Ravdoucha.

Afrata

Region: Chania (Cape Rodopou – Northern coast of Crete)
Latitude: N 35.566845 | Longitude: E 23.777523

Best beaches in Crete

Afrata is a tiny but alluring shore, a few kilometers from the village of Kolymbari, on the eastern side of the Rodopou Peninsula, facing the Gulf of Chania.

To reach the bay of Afrata it’s necessary to drive past the village and follow the irregular road through the small gorge until the parking lot is just meters from the beach.

The beach is not crowded, there are good facilities and some organized facilities including bathrooms, a taverna for snacks and drinks, and a few umbrellas, It’s a perfect spot for fishing, snorkeling, and other submarine sports. The beach combines small and big colorful pebbles that create a fantastic underwater scenario.

Click here to find the best places to stay in Afrata.

Menies Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Rodopou)
Latitude: N 35.664774 | Longitude: E 23.767768

Menies beach

The beach of Menies is perfect for those keen on adventures and driving deserted roads on the island. The beach is in the deserted Rodopou Peninsula, in the region of Chania.

There are no asphalt roads to get there, just a very scenic dirt track. Otherwise, it’s also possible to go to Menies on a boat trip from Chania.

The beach is s small slice of paradise with white sand and pebbles, and a shallow, crystalline sea.

Click here to find the closest places to stay in the area to visit Menies.

Best Beaches in Crete: The Top Shores to Visit in South Crete

My favorite coast on Crete is certainly the one facing the Libyan sea, these are my top picks when it comes to beaches…. but you will find more in this guide to the best beaches in South Crete.

Loutro

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.19919 | Longitude: E 24.07828

Loutro village, Loutro beach, Crete, South Crete, Sea, Mountains
Loutro village, south coast of Crete.

Loutro is a beautiful fishing village located in the southern area of Crete, which can be reached only by means of a ferry boat (departure from Chora Sfakion), or by hiking the high coastal path along the beach.

There’s not much to do in the village, other than enjoying the magnificent emerald waters and the stunning mountain landscape of the island. There are nice tavernas on the beachfront, and a few hotels to spend the night. If you prefer to stay in Chora Sfakion Loutro can make a perfect day trip.

You might also want to read: Everything you need to know about Loutro.

Kedrodasos Beach

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.26903 | Longitude: E 23.557351

Blue sea, sand dunes, Crete

Kedrodasos is a beach about 1 km east of Elafonisi surrounded by a unique juniper forest. Usually included among the top beaches of southern Chania, Kedrodasos is a fairly isolated place, only accessible via a dirt track.

The beach is lonely, unspoiled, and not organized. It’s ideal for naturism, and a paradise for informal holidays if you’re keen on camping (read more about camping rules in the area here).

The beach has fine, whitish sand and pristine, shallow waters.

Click here to find the best properties to stay close to Kedrodasos.

You might also want to read: Camping in Crete Guide.

Beaches of Gavdos Island

Region: Chania (Island off the south coast)
Latitude: N 34.83666 | Longitude: E 24.083215

Best beaches in Crete
Tripiti Beach, Gavdos.

Although the picture above shows the shore of Tripiti, Gavdos Island is home to many more stunning beaches and it’s always a great idea to plan a stay long enough to have time to explore at least some of them.

The island is the southernmost point in Europe and belongs to the region of Chania. To reach Gadvos, you can board a ferry boat either in Chora Sfakion or in Paleochora.

If you head to my main article about Gavdos, you will be able to check the tips to catch the right boat, as well as the complete list of Gavdos’ beaches.

Among the shores worth a visit, don’t miss to check Agios Ioannis, 4 km from the main beach Sarakiniko. Also, hike to the beautiful Tripiti Beach… and don’t forget to snap a selfie on the famous chair of Gavdos.

You might also want to read: Where to stay in Gavdos – Accommodation Guide.

Goudouras Beach

Region: Lasithi (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.014835 | Longitude: E 26.097818

Goudouras beach

The beach of Goudouras is located on a quiet bay on the southern coast of Lasithi, not far from the small village of Asprolithos. This rather unknown shore is a perfect sport for a lovely holiday by the sea.

The beach has a combination of coarse sand, small and bigger pebbles, and there aren’t many facilities except for a few umbrellas to rent

Close by, another dreamy beach in the area is Votsalaki, a somewhat hidden bay surrounded by beautiful high hills that offer great views of the coast and allow for great pictures of the Libyan Sea.

Click here to look for places to stay near Goudouras.

Beaches of Chrissi Island

Region: Lasithi (Island off the south coast)
Latitude: 34.873509  Longitude: 25.70358

Best beaches in Crete

Arguably some of the best beaches in Crete are located on the tiny island of Chrissi, only a few nautical miles away from the city of Ierapetra. The island’s coasts are bathed by the crystalline, blue waters of the Libyan sea.

To reach Chrissi, it’s necessary to board a ferry boat either in the coastal village of Makrigialos or in the port of Ierapetra. There’s more information about getting there and things to see in Chrissi in this detailed post about Ierapetra as well as on this Chrissi Island guide.

To visit Chrissi Island, spend the night in one of these Ierapetra hotels.

Best Beaches in Crete for Families

Traveling to Crete with little kids? Then you’ve made a perfect choice, there are plenty of great and safe beaches for kids on the island, here you will find some of the best child-friendly shores, but there are many more on this guide to the best beaches for kids in Crete.

Frangokastello

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.181586 | Longitude: E 24.231458

Best beaches in Crete

Frangokastello is a beautiful and organized sandy beach on the southern coast of Chania, not far from the village of Chora Sfakion. The traditional image of the village is the imposing fortress standing almost on the sand of the village’s main beach.

Frangokastello is a top choice for families thanks to the shallow waters. The bay is quite open and it can get a bit windy at the end of the season.

The sand is fine and golden, the sea transparent and quite shallow. The spot is perfect for children who love to explore, and it’s also great for snorkeling.

Click here to find the best hotels in Frangokastello.

You might also want to read: Best hotels in Crete with Water Parks.

Almyros Beach

Region: Lasithi (North coast, near Agios Nikolaos)
Latitude: N 35.19106  Longitude: E 25.71524

Best beaches in Crete
The river ends on the beach.

Together with the spectacular beach of Voulisma, Almyros is one of my top favorite beaches in Lasithi. Almyros is a fantastic shore, super extense, wide, and safe, where it’s never hard to find a good place to stay to spend the day.

Here, the sea is very calm, which makes it a favorite spot for families with small children.

In fact, kids especially love the small river that connects to the sea and the bridge on top of it, at the end of the beach.

Click here to find top-rated accommodation in the area.

Ammoudara Beach (Agios Nikolaos)

Region: Lasithi (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.164897 | Longitude: E 25.717814

Ammoudara beach

One of the most family-friendly beaches on Mirabello Bay is Ammoudara is a top family beach just 5 km from Agios Nikolaos, facing the spectacular calm waters of the Gulf of Mirabello.

This shore is perfect for those families staying in the city center but who want a more relaxing beach to spend the day.

Ammoudara is a fine sandy shore. The sea is calm and waveless, and it’s usually safe from northern winds. The beach is organized and has ample spaces for kids to play and swim in total safety.

Click here to check the best places to stay near Ammoudara.

Tersanas Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Akrotiri)
Latitude: N 35.56189 | Longitude: E 24.09248

Tersanas

Located in a hidden position within the Akrotiri Peninsula, Tersanas is still rather unknown to occasional visitors of Crete. It’s near the village of Chorafakia, not far from the more famous Stavros Beach.

The coast is really shallow and super protected, which makes it perfect for kids. The beach is well organized and there’s a comfortable beach bar selling cold coffees, drinks, and snacks.

Click here to discover the best places to stay in Tersanas.

Marathi Beach

Region: Chania (Cape Akrotiri)
Latitude: N 35.505203 | Longitude: E 24.173665

Best beaches in Crete

Marathi beach is located in Cape Akrotiri, facing the natural bay and port of Souda.

Moms adore taking their kids to Marathi as it’s a very quiet bay, virtually waveless, super clean and safe, with crystal waters and soft, fine sand.

Dads, instead, love Marathi as it’s possible to fish from the small pier and it’s home to very convenient tavernas that serve fresh fish and cold beers.

Click here to find accommodation close to Marathi Beach.

Best Beaches in Crete: The Best Naturist Beaches

Are you into naked swimming and sunbathing? Check the following beaches or read this ultimate guide to nudist beaches in Crete!

Ammoudaki Beach

Region: Rethymnon (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.172594 | Longitude: E 24.418969

Ammoudaki beach - South Rethymnon, Crete
Ammoudaki

Ammoudaki, on the south coast of the Rethymnon region, is a small hidden cove close to the bigger village and beach of Plakias.

It has very fine golden sand and stunning turquoise waters. Ammoudaki and the smaller cove of Mikro Ammoudaki are two of the most traditional naturist bays of Crete although the smaller one, Mikro Ammoudaki has been assaulted by tourists in the peak months of summer during the past seasons.

Click here to check the best places to book a room near Ammoudaki.

You might also want to read: Top Nudist Beaches in Crete: Complete Insider’s Guide.

Sarandaris Coves

Region: Heraklion (North coast)
Latitude: N 35.333544 | Longitude: E 25.38477

Best beaches in Crete
Sarandari

In the vibrant area of Hersonissos, quite close to the center of Heraklion, Sarantari or Sarandari is a series of small sandy coves well hidden not only by the cape by also by some high rocks that provide the necessary privacy.

The waters are very clean and transparent, making it a great place to explore the submarine bed of the beach. The lively scene of the seaside resort of Hersonissos is only meters away from this hidden nudist beach.

You might also want to read: Best hotels in Hersonissos.

Kommos

Region: Heraklion (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.014615 | Longitude: E 24.760182

Kommos
Kommos (Jebulon / CC0 Wikimedia Commons).

Not far from the hippie beach of Matala, Kommos Beach is usually listed as one of the best top nudist beaches on Crete. The shore, quiet and lonely, is a golden sand beach with very little organization.

The landscape is lush and green, and the shore is so wide that there’s never the feeling of being observed. From here, you can spot amazing sunsets, just be careful because the sea can be a bit wavy when it’s windy.

Click here to check the best places to stay near Kommos.

Lentas

Region: Heraklion (South coast)
Latitude: N 34.929874 | Longitude: E 24.922728

Lentas

Lentas is on the southern coast of Crete, about 75 km from the capital of Crete, and quite close to the famous beach of Agiofarago.

This shore is one of the main nudist beaches in the same area, others are Diskos and Kali Limenes.

Lentas is a pebbled beach with some tamarisk trees for shadow. Just like many other nudist beaches of Crete, this is not an organized beach.

Glyka Nera

Region: Chania (South coast)
Latitude: N 35.201796 | Longitude: E 24.107225

Best beaches in Crete

Glyka Nera (also Sweetwater Beach or Sweet Water Beach) is on the southern coast of Chania, close to the famous village of Loutro. You can reach Glyka Nera with a boat from Loutro or walk the mountain path from Chora Sfakion (or from Loutro).

Small pebbles, clear sea, and natural water springs are some of the ingredients that make this a wonderful beach. Personally, I consider Glyka Nera the best nudist beach you will find on Crete.

You might also want to read: Gavdos, Crete: The Only Guide to the Island you Need.

Please, help us protect the beaches in Crete. Respect the environment and don’t leave any trash on the beach.

Are you planning to visit any of the best beaches in Crete?
Let me know in the comments below!

This complete guide to the best beaches in Crete is currently up to date and includes the latest information. There are more Crete beaches here. If you cannot find the beach you want to read about, send me a message through the contact form and I’ll be happy to add it to this list.

You might also want to read these articles:

Get Ready for Crete!

RESOURCES TO BOOK YOUR TRIP:

Book your flight: I use Skyscanner to compare prices before booking a plane ticket.

Book your ferry: When ferries are more convenient than air travel, I use Ferryhopper.

Book your accommodation: I’ve tried many different platforms for accommodation, but none of them beats the advantages of Booking.com.

Book your car: The best way to find an affordable car to rent is to use a powerful search engine that compares all the rental companies in the market. I use Discover Cars.

Book your tours: Live unforgettable adventures and cultural experiences with Get Your Guide. For instance, you can Visit Elafonisi, discover Balos Beach, hike Samaria, or explore Knossos.

Don’t forget travel insurance: Things can go wrong at times, but travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I recommend Safety Wing for peace of mind.

A quick guide to the best hotels in Crete
Budget: So Young Hostel 
in Heraklio, Cocoon City Hostel in Chania, Matthias Hotel Apartments in Rethymnon, and Villa Galini in Agios Nikolaos.
Mid-range: Capsis Astoria Heraklion in Heraklion, Porto Antico in Chania, Archipelagos Hotel in Rethymnon, or Hotel Port 7 in Agios Nikolaos.
Luxury:  Galaxy Iraklio Hotel in Heraklion, Hotel OFF in Chania, Avli Lounge in Rethymnon, or Minos Beach Art Hotel in Agios Nikolaos.
Check more: Where to stay in Crete.

This Guide Belongs to a Board! Pin this Guide to the Best Beaches in Crete For Your Next Adventure!

Best Beaches in Crete, Greece

About the author of this blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. On the island, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in summer, translating, and freelance writing.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published several travel guides about Greece, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.

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