Gorgeous Beaches in Heraklion to Check When You Visit Crete!

The region of Heraklion has a colorful palette of beaches. Some of them are quite popular and touristic, but there are also plenty of hidden gems that can turn your swimming experience into a real adventure. Here, take a look at this ultimate guide to the best beaches in Heraklion.


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Best beaches in Heraklion, Crete

Essentials for your Adventures in Crete!

Getting to Crete: Nothing like sailing from one island to the other. Check Ferryhopper to book your ferry tickets in advance.

Where to stay on the island: It’s always wise to compare, check both Booking.com and Hotels.com for the best accommodation deals.

Top-rated tours in Crete: If you’re a fan of our beaches, then don’t miss this Cruise to Balos or a Day Trip to Elafonisi. If you came to the island seeking adventure, then hike the Samaria Gorge. Finally, for those interested in Crete’s past and history, don’t miss a visit to Knossos Palace.

Want to see Crete better? Explore it on wheels! Personally, I use Discover Cars to go where my old jalopy won’t take me.

Show me the money! No, really, need cash? Wise is the best online money transfer service with a debit card accepted all over Greece.

Always have with you: A daypack for excursions, the Lonely Planet Guide, or my West Crete digital guide!

Where to Stay in Heraklion

If you’re coming to Heraklion to enjoy the best restaurants in town, the museums, and the thrilling lifestyle of the capital, the best thing to do is to book a place in the center, this way, it’ll be easy to walk everywhere without stressing about transport.

These are some of the places to stay in Heraklion that I recommend, prices for a small budget range between €20 for a bed in a shared room in a hostel to €45 for a small apartment. Mid-range hotels range from €50 to €80 per night. Upscale accommodation can be booked for more than €100 a night. I’ve also written a complete guide to the best hotels in Heraklion as well as a guide to the best holiday homes in Heraklion.

Small budget: You can spend the night in Heraklion without breaking the bank. When the budget is tight, I recommend either So Young Hostel or SunCity Apartments.

Mid-range accommodation: Spend a little more and enjoy the suites and the pool in Capsis Astoria Heraklion or Kastro Hotel.

Boutique places: For a more luxurious stay, check the beautiful premises of Galaxy Iraklio Hotel or go full eco in Olive Green Hotel.

The Best Beaches in Heraklion, Crete

beach, sea, caves, Matala, Crete

You will certainly spend some time in Heraklion, the capital of Crete when visiting the island. Heraklion is the main gate to the island, with most flights arriving at its International Airport. And unless you’re landing in Chania and spending your vacation exclusively in West Crete, you’re bound to see some of Crete’s capital

Other than taking some time to explore the wonderful Palace of Knossos, there are plenty of places to check in the region: Great museums, fantastic vineyards, and yes, great beaches too!

In this article, I’ve made a list of the beaches that I believe are worth checking when exploring Heraklion.

My favorite ones are on the southern coast, as usual, but there are also some great shores to visit in the north too. Get your beach bag ready and come with me to discover the best beaches in Heraklion, Crete.

And remember… you can explore more Crete beaches reading about the best beaches in south Crete or the most incredible beaches in west Crete.

Check ferry tickets to Greece here!

Check also this guide to Rethymnon’s beaches or this article about the best beaches in Lasithi. Finally, check where to swim without clothes in this guide to the nudist beaches in Crete.

Gorgeous Beaches Near the City of Heraklion

Even when the city Heraklion city cannot boast the most beautiful beaches on the island, there are some charming places that you can check if you’re staying in town for just a short time and can’t travel far from the center and around in the region, these are some of them…

Ammoudara Beach

Latitude: N 35.337755
Longitude: E 25.083547
Characteristics: Organized sandy beach, clean but deep waters, sometimes windy.

Ammoudara Beach - Heraklion, Crete
Ammoudara, Heraklion.

This beach is 5 km from the city center of Heraklion, which makes it a very popular destination both for tourists and locals. The coast is long and wide so it never really feels crowded. 

The beach is perfectly organized, and you can get a free umbrella in case you order drinks from the coffee shops and bars by the sea. The coast is shallow but it can get deep quickly in some areas, so you should be careful. The sand is soft and golden, so many families with kids choose this place. 

Since this beach is exposed to the northern winds, it is a great spot for windsurfing.

>>Check the best Vacation Homes in the city of Heraklion<<

Paleokastro Beach

Latitude: N 35.366503
Longitude: E 25.038865
Characteristics: The beach is not organized with a mix of sand and rocks, crystal-clear waters, and quiet atmosphere.

Palekastro, one of the best beaches in Heraklion
Paleokastro, Heraklion (Courtesy Photo: Tripadvisor)

This small beach is hidden in a bay, protected from the winds, thus it has clean and calm waters. The beach is located 15 km from the city of Heraklion and can easily be found under the remains of an old Castle, not far from the highway. 

The place is very picturesque, with scenic cliffs on both sides. There are no sunbeds and umbrellas, but there is a shower. 

By the way, half of the beach is covered with shade from the highway bridge on top. The waters get gradually deep and they are very clear, so it is a great spot for snorkeling. Not far, there’re a few good Greek tavernas with delicious homemade food, perfect for lunch!

Amnissos Beach

Latitude: N 35.332942
Longitude: E 25.206452
Characteristics: This is a very well-organized beach with all the necessary amenities. It’s sandy and exposed to northern winds.

Amnissos Beach - Heraklion
Karteros – Amnissos. (This photo is a courtesy of the wonderful Unique Blue Resort).

You can find this long sandy beach just 9 km east from Heraklion. 

During the high-season the beach can get quite crowded as it is fully organized, but you can always choose a hotel with a private beach to enjoy.

The beach also has great bars and tavernas, as well as water sport centers. The place gets windy very often, so if you are into windsurfing, this place is perfect for you. 

From the beach you get a privileged view of the small Dia island.

Looking for a great hotel in the area?
>>I loved the stunning Unique Blue Resort in Karteros<<

Vathianos Kampos Beach

Latitude: N 35.332151
Longitude: E 25.247806
Characteristics: Well-organized beach, sand mixed with pebbles, and crystal clear sea.

Vathianos Beach, Heraklion
Vathianos Kampos Beach, Heraklion.

This long sandy beach is located 15 km from the center of Heraklion. 

The most organized area is in front of the Arina Beach Resort. It has umbrellas, sunbeds, and great beach bars. 

The interesting things about this beach is that you can also visit the remains of an ancient Minoan shipyard that are still visible in the sea. 

If you continue to the East, you will find different coves divided by small piers. These are great for a relaxing swim, as the sea is calm and shallow.

Want to book at the Arina Beach Resort?
>>Check dates and prices here<<

Kokkini Hani Beach

Latitude: N 35.332130
Longitude: E 25.258249
Characteristics: Organized sandy beach, crystal-clear waters, super popular among tourists.

Sun setting in Kokkini Hani, one of the best beaches in Heraklion

Kokkini Hani is a well-known village and resort near to the city of Heraklion. It has a beautiful sandy beach divided into small coves by means of artificial piers. 

All the area of the beach is organized with every necessary amenity to spend a great day at sea. There are also some good water sports facilities and a big choice of local cafes, bars and tavernas.

Gouves Beach

Latitude: N 35.335197
Longitude: E 25.297982
Characteristics: Fully organized sandy beach, exposed to northern winds, with shallow clean waters.

Gouves Beach (Photo courtesy of The Island Adults-Only Hotel)

This beach is located in the very popular resort village of Kato Gouves, 18 km East from Crete’s capital, Heraklion. 

The soft sandy beach stretches along the village, for those who don’t really enjoy sandy beaches, there are some coves and areas where you can also find pebbles.

As in most of the northern coast, the beach is exposed to winds, but you will find different small areas protected by piers. 

The beach is very well-organized, you can rent umbrellas or use the showers, but also enjoy all the activities offered by local water sport and diving centers. The entrance to the sea is very comfortable, while the shallow crystal-clean waters are simply perfect for small kids. 

If you visit, don’t miss the magical sunset time in Gouves, they’re super romantic and picturesque.

Looking for a unique adult-only hotel in Gouves?
>>Check the amazing suites in The Island<<

Away From the City Center: Beaches on the North Coast of Heraklion

In no particular order, the following are some of the beaches you can visit if you decide to stay in the northern area of the region…

Fodele Beach

Latitude: N 35.4026621
Longitude: E 24.954836
Distance from the center of Heraklion: 25 km to the West.
Characteristics: Long sandy beach, partly organized, clean waters, exposed to northwest winds.

Fodele Beach, Heraklion.

The beach of Fodele is a great option if you want to escape from the hassle and crowds downtown Heraklion. 

Only the western area of the beach is fully organized with umbrellas and sunbeds as there is a huge resort located directly on the beach. 

The eastern part is totally unorganized and usually less visited. 

Fodele beach is another favorite among local families as it has nice soft sand (on some spots mixed with pebbles) and fairly shallow waters. However, being exposed to the winds, waters are not so calm. If you want to avoid currents and waves, try the western side of Fodele close to the small pier. 

If you visit this beach, take some time to explore the area. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the village of Fodele. A green village with hundreds of orange trees.

Church of the Panagia, Fodele.

The village is crossed by a small river, and you can also visit the museum of the famous Cretan artist, El Greco, as well as one of the pretties Byzantine churches on the island.

Mononaftis Beach

Latitude: N 35.416635
Longitude: E 25.018647
Distance from Rethymnon town: 24 km West of Heraklion.
Characteristics: Organized and beautiful pebbled beach with emerald waters, not usually affected by heavy winds.

Mononaftis (Courtesy: Tripadvisor).

This picturesque small bay is located fairly close to the village of Agia Pelagia. There are high rocks protecting the bay on both sides so here, it’s easy to enjoy a swim in calm and dreamy emerald waters. 

The sea bottom is rocky and has a rich sea life which makes it a popular place for diving. The beach is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, and there are few local tavernas worth a stop. 

During the high season, the beach can get crowded both with locals and tourists coming from the nearby resort of Agia Pelagia.

Take a look at the best place to stay in the area!
>>Check the stunning Sea Side Resort and Spa in Mononaftis<<

Psaromoura Beach

Latitude: N 35.413458
Longitude: E 25.017964
Distance from Heraklion: 21.8 km to the West.
Characteristics: Small pebbled beach with a wonderful sea bed ideal for snorkeling. Organized beach with turquois waters. Water sports available.

Psaromoura Beach, Heraklion.

Another small beach that hides away from Agia Pelagia is Psaromoura. It is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and there’s also a  a small bar offering refreshments. 

The rocky seabed is shallow only for a few meter, the waters are clear and it’s easy to spot fish swimming right next to you. 

The beach gets crowded during the weekends as it’s a favorite place for locals, to it’s always better to visit it during week, especially in the mornings. 

On one side of the beach, there are some scenic rock formations as well as a cave and small cliffs to jump from for an epic dive.

Agia Pelagia Beach

Latitude: N 35.406547
Longitude: E 25.018536
Distance from Heraklion: 21 km to the West.
Characteristics: Well-organized beach, sandy with crystal clear waters, and very touristic.

Agia Pelagia, One of the best beaches in North Heraklion, Crete.
Agia Pelagia Bay.

The main beach of Agia Pelagia has golden sand and shallow crystal clear waters. 

Since it’s a very popular among tourists, it gets quite busy during the whole season. 

All the beach is perfectly organized, so you will find all the necessary amenities for a great day by the sea. 

There is a great variety of water sport activities and a few diving centers. Some parts of the beach are quite narrow, and it’s not uncommon to see that some umbrellas are actually in the water! 

The place is perfect for a vacation for families with small children.

Ligaria Beach

Latitude: N 35.406547
Longitude: E 25.018536
Distance from the center of Heraklion: 19.6 km to the West.
Characteristics: Well-organized beach, sand and pebbles, turquoise calm waters.

Lygaria Beach in Heraklion
Lygaria Beach (Photo courtesy of Lygaria Studios)

Lygaria offers you a relaxing setting and the possibility to spend a quiet time surrounded by a beautiful landscape. It’s usually not crowded, but it can get busy during the weekends. 

The beach has a mix of coarse sand and pebbles while the entrance to the sea is a little bit challenging as there are huge flat rock formations. However, also because of this reason, the underwater life is amazing. 

They say that this is a favorite place to spot octopuses, so you can have a good chance to see them in their natural environment. The beach is well organized, with go water sports facilities as well as a diving center.

Looking for a place to stay in Heraklion?
>>Check this guide to Heraklion’s hotels<<

Mades Beach

Latitude: N 35.400727
Longitude: E 25.034034
Distance from Heraklion city center: 17.8 km to the West.
Characteristics: Organized pebbled beach, crystal clean waters, exposed to northern winds.

Mades Beach, one of the nicest hidden beaches in Heraklion.

This small beach is a perfect gateway for a quite sea time as it is visited mostly by locals and the guests from the nearby hotels. 

It is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas provided by the hotel. The waters are perfectly clear and it is an ideal place for snorkeling and fishing too.  

The beach has pebbles and there are some scenic rocky formations not far from the coast.

Aposelemi Beach

Latitude: N 35.336647
Longitude: E 25.331443
Distance from Heraklion: 25 km to the East.
Characteristics: Slightly organized beach, sandy with clear waters, exposed to the northern winds.

Aposelemi, Heraklion.

This beach is not very popular thus it is perfect for those who seek isolation. 

There are several sunbeds with umbrellas available for rent but there no any other amenities. 

The beach is long and features very fine golden sand. There is a lovely pond directly on the beach, created by a mountain river. Of course, this is a favorite place for birds which offers a magical touch and atmosphere to the area. The waters are clear but usually wavy as the beach is exposed to the winds.

Have a cocktail or enjoy a walk by the sea!
>>Explore the best things to do in Heraklion at night<<

Loud, busy, crowded… in a way, not my favorite part on Crete, it’s also true that these beaches are a place that many European choose as their holiday destination in Crete.

The area has some beaches with amazing characteristics, including crystalline waters and fine clear sand. If you also want to add some exciting nightlife during your vacation, then definitely head to this part of the region.

Analipsi Beach

Latitude: N 35.336456
Longitude: E 25.344768
Distance from Heraklion: 23.5 km to the East.
Characteristics: Well-organized sandy beach with some rocky parts, clear and shallow waters, exposed to the winds.

The famous chapel by the sea in Analipsi.

The beach of Analipsi is long and sandy on the eastern side while there are some big rocks towards the West. 

This western area is perfect for some secluded swimming and fishing as it is not organized. On the other hand, if you walk to the eastern part of Analipsi, you’ll find soft sand and all the necessary amenities, including water sports centers. 

The place is loved by families because the sea is crystal clear and shallow. In August, it’s a perfect place for windsurfing because the beach is exposed to the northern Meltemi wind.

Want to stay in the area?
>>Check this guide to the best hotels in Hersonissos<<

Sarandaris Beach

Latitude: N 35.336456
Longitude: E 25.344768
Distance from Heraklion: 25 km to the East.
Characteristics: Partly organized beach, sandy with rock formations around, protected from the winds.

Sarandaris (The picture is a kind courtesy of Theo Tzokas).

The area before Hersonissos towards the West is divided into several small beaches, the best-known of them is Sarandaris. 

This secluded beach has soft white sand and shallow waters of vivid blue hues. The beach has sunbeds and umbrellas for rent as well as a small canteen where to buy refreshments. 

The beach is great for families but it’s also a favorite of couples and solo travelers. 

If you’re looking for some more privacy, head a little further to the West and discover the spectacular Cape Sarandaris. Although access to this beach is not easy, the effort can be worth the try!

Another great view of Sarandaris (The picture is a kind courtesy of Theo Tzokas).

You might even find yourself having the beach all for yourself. The white cliffs that surround this beautiful place are just the icing on top of the cake! 

If you walk a little bit further, you will find another hidden rocky beach included also in my best nudist beaches in Crete guide… Guess why! 

Not far from the area, it’s also worth exploring Anissara Beach.

Hersonissos Beach

Latitude: N 35.319798
Longitude: E 25.393122
Distance from Heraklion: 27 km to the East.
Characteristics: Very well-organized sandy beach, crystal waters, super crowded during the whole season.

GREECE-CRETE-HERAKLION-HERSONISSOS
Hersonissos, Heraklion.

The main beach of Hersonissos is a long narrow sandy beach that stretches for quite a few kilometers. The beach is well-organized, there is no shortage of facilities, including beach bars, water sport centers and tourist shops. 

The beach is really overcrowded during the high season as Hersonissos is one of the most popular resorts in Crete. Further to the East there are many organized coves mostly in front of some very exclusive hotels and resorts. 

The most popular one is known as Star Beach, a perfectly organized spot with fabulous fine gold sand. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and rocky formations that give you the feeling of being on the most perfect tropical island. 

Drapano Beach

Latitude: N 35.306203
Longitude: E 25.420346
Distance from Heraklion: 31 km to the East.
Characteristics: Fully organized sandy beach, crystal clear waters, protected from the winds.

Paralia Drapano, about 20 minutes East of Heraklion.

This beach attracts visitors during all the summer season due to its natural beauty. Crystal clear waters allow you to see rocky sea bottom. At the beach, you’ll be amazed at the unique rock arch, a perfect spot for a memorable photo. 

The beach is fully organized and features a water sport center. 

This beach maybe not so crowded as the other beaches in the area of Hersonissos area, which is another good reason to visit. 

Two long piers on both sides of the beach protect the shore agains waves, so here, it’s easy to enjoy swimming in calm waters.

Stalida (Stalis Beach)

Latitude: N 35.294819
Longitude: E 25.428757
Distance from Heraklion: 32 km East.
Characteristics: Long sandy beach with crystalline waters, well organized and a favorite for families.

GREECE-CRETE-HERAKLION-STALIDA
Stalis, Crete.

Stalida beach is a favorite place for families as it has warm shallow waters and nice soft sand. It’s not so crowded as Hersonissos and Malia, but it has all the necessary facilities as well as great beach bars and water sport centers. 

There is a road along the beach which perfect for an evening walk. The sunsets here are amazing. There is also a small natural cove full of Cretan Date palms that give some tropical vibes to the place.

Beaches of Malia

Latitude: N 35.294189
Longitude: E 25.462531
Distance from Heraklion: 35 km East.
Characteristics: Well-organized series of sandy beaches. All of them very popular among tourists, clear shallow waters.

GREECE-CRETE-HERAKLION-MALIA-BEACH
One of the coves of Malia.

The wide sandy beach of Malia stretches for 6 kilometers and is extremely popular among tourists.

Here you can find everything you need, from umbrellas and sunbeds to the water sports centers and sophisticated massage services directly on the beach. 

There are plenty of beach bars and tavernas offering top service right at your sunbed. This place is perfect for those who love people and movement, and it’s usually a favorite destination among young crowds.

The clean, shallow waters are always warm and are ideal for a relaxing swim

Looking for a place to stay in Malia?
>>Check the best hotels in the area<<

Potamos Beach

Latitude: N 35.296991
Longitude: E 25.486178
Distance from Heraklion: 41 km East.
Characteristics: Partly organized sandy beach with clean deep blue waters.

Potamos Beach, Malia, Heraklion.

For those who seek privacy, this beach is the perfect choice to avoid the crazy crowds of Malia in summer. The western part of the beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while the furthest eastern part remains quite unexplored. 

There is a river that flows into the sea, so the temperature of the water can sometimes feel a bit cool. The sand is very soft and the sea has comfortable smooth access.

Best Beaches in the South of Heraklion

Getting to the southern coast of Crete is always synonyms with awe-inspiring beaches, the region of Heraklion also abides by this rule… Take a look!

Kokkinos Pirgos Beach

Latitude: N 35.077339
Longitude: E 24.744107
Distance from Heraklion: 61-78 km South, depending on the route you pick.
Characteristics: Well-organized sandy beach, clean azure waters, exposed to western winds.

Kokkinos Pyrgos, South Heraklion.

This long sandy beach is well-organized and features facilities such as sunbeds, umbrellas, and showers. There is a road alongside the beach with many bars, tavernas, and cafes which are great for an evening cocktail admiring the great southern coast and a beautiful sunset. 

The beach is sandy and the sea bottom is also made of soft sand, this makes it a great stop for families with children. 

Besides, the beach offers amazing views over the coastline and the Libyan Sea. This area is also a shelter for Caretta Caretta turtles, so mind your step as you can find their nests all over the beach.

Kommos Beach

Latitude: N 35.018220
Longitude: E 24.760053
Distance from Heraklion: 62-81 km, depending on the route you drive.
Characteristics: Partly organized sandy beach, exposed to western winds, with beautiful turquoise waters.

Kommos beach, Crete
Kommos, southern coast of Heraklion.

This sandy beach has only few parts organized with umbrellas and sunbeds. The rest of the beach preserves its unique wild natural beauty. 

The area surrounding the beach is a protected archeological zone where you can check the remains of the ancient Port of Festos. 

A visit to Kommos is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the Minoan era after having enjoyed a swim in its spectacular turquoise sea.

Matala Beach, One of the Best Beaches in Heraklion!

Latitude: N 34.994172
Longitude: E 24.749676
Distance from Heraklion: About 65 km.
Characteristics: A well-organized sandy beach, with a deep turquoise sea. A very popular and touristic place in South Crete.

Matala Beach in Heraklion, Crete.
Matala Beach at sunset.

Matala is a beautiful beach with nice gravel sand, perfectly organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, beach bars and tavernas, where it’s also possible to enjoy water sports. 

Want to read more?
>>Check everything about Matala and the nearby beaches here<<

Matala is well known around the world due to its scenic cliffs and caves. The caves were created during ancient times but have become mostly known as a refuge pace for a big hippie community during the 1960s. 

GREECE - CRETE - MATALA
Matala, Crete.

Nowadays, free access to the caves is not allowed, but there are few cliffs you can climb to take a closer look. Once you reach the top, you can get a full stunning view of Matala. 

If you visit Matala in June don’t miss the opportunity to take part in the famous Matala Music Festival, when thousands of people dance until the morning after both on the beach and even inside the sea!

Kokkini Ammos, the Red Beach

Latitude: N 34.986066
Longitude: E 24.314797
Distance from Matala: Once you get to Matala beach, you need to hike all the way to Kokkini Ammos as there’s no other way to access it. The hike is about 1.7 km and it can take you about half an hour. Take enough sun protection, water, and a hat!
Characteristics:  The beach is poorly organized and it has a distinct red sand surface. It’s exposed to the western winds while it features clear waters with green and blue hues.

GREECE-CRETE-MATALA-RED-BEACH-FROM-ABOVE
Kokkini Ammos, Red Beach.

This secluded beach with an amazing landscape hides near the village of Matala. To reach it you need to hike for around 30-45 min. If you are not into the hiking then there are small boats departing from Matala that can take you there too. 

If you’re fit enough to face a 2-km path, then I totally recommend hiking. In fact, from the top of the cliff you will be surprised by the breathtaking view over the beach and the sea. 

The beach has amazing reddish sand which obviously gave it its name (Kokkini Ammos means red sand in Greek). 

If you plan to spend the day, you better carry some shade in the form of a light umbrella as well as a beach mat as there are only few of them available for rent. 

Here, there is also a small bar with refreshments but it is not opened daily, so make sure to carry drinks and snacks with you. It’s also a nice idea to come here in the evening to witness its legendary sunset. This beach is also another famous nudist beach in South Crete.

Vathi Beach

Latitude: N 34.952238
Longitude: E 24.754860
Distance from Heraklion: About 65 km to the South.
Characteristics: Not organized sandy beach with breathtaking scenery. The sea has magnificent turquoise color and the area is protected from the wind.

Vathi Beach, South Heraklion.

This magnificent beach hides in a bay that’s protected by the walls of a gorge. The beach is not spoilt with any infrastructure and it usually welcomes just a few visitors with a wild natural beauty. 

Its clear waters with a vivid shade of turquoise are perfect for snorkeling or just swim and totally relax.

The coast is well protected from the winds and it features very calm waters even when nearby shores are wavy or windy. The beach can be easily reached by car following the dirt road that starts in the village of Sivas.

Agiofarago Beach

Latitude: N 34.926007 
Longitude: E 24.778225
Distance: 88 km south from Heraklion.
Characteristics: Not organized beach with relatively difficult access, clean azure waters, protected from the winds.

AGIOFARAGO BEACH - CRETE
Agiofarago, one of the prettiest beaches in Heraklion.

This spectacular beach is situated at the end of the Agiofarago Gorge. There are two ways to access it: Either by boat from Matala, Agia Galini, or Kokkinos Pyrgos; or by hiking along the gorge itself. 

The hike is highly recommended as the trail is not very difficult and takes around 1 hour. As a plus, the beautiful scenery will leave you some incredible memories of the Cretan landscape. 

The beach is not organized. The place offers ultimate relaxation far away from the crowds. You might find some nudist swimmers, although nudism is not really allowed here, as the area is a place of great religious importance.

If you’re in the mood to explore the area, head west to discover the fantastic gorge and beach of Martsalo, check this video for more details.

(Courtesy: Holiday Experts)

Krigi Beach

Latitude: N 34.940703
Longitude: E  24.8460821
Distance from Heraklion: 73 km south of Heraklio.
Characteristics: Not organized beach with pebbles and crystal clear sea.

Krigoi, Heraklion.

This small secluded beach is located not far from the village Plateia Peramata. It’s not organized and it offers visitors nothing but a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. 

The beach is divided into small coves by rocky formations. The sea gets deep pretty fast and has a beautiful bottom which makes it great for snorkeling and diving.

Loutra Beach & Lentas Beach, Two Top Shores in Heraklion

Latitude: N 34.930104  
Longitude: E 24.922733
Distance from Heraklion: 77 km to the South.
Characteristics: While Loutra is not an organized beach, Lentas offer more structures. Both present a mix of sand and pebbles and are usually very quiet.

GREECE - CRETE BEACHES HERAKLION -Lentas
Lentas, South Heraklion.

Loutra is mostly known only by locals thus it is very quiet and relaxing. It is not organized but there are a few tavernas and rooms for rent serving mostly the more popular Lentas Brach. 

Both areas can be seen in a day and they are great spots for those seeking a peaceful vacation. Both shores offer a mix of gravel sand and pebbles with a rocky seabed, thus they are ideal for fishing and snorkeling.

Treis Ekklisias Beach

Latitude: N 34.953733 
Longitude: E 25.136884
Distance from Heraklion: 58 km south.
Characteristics: Slightly organized beach with sand and pebbles, and crystal but deep waters.

Best beaches in Heraklion, Crete
Treis Ekklesies.

The remote seaside village known as Treis Ekklisies has a long sandy beach with crystal clear waters. 

The place is great for a quiet holiday as there only a few tavernas and rooms for rent, what else do you needs?

The beach is not organized at all. The sea is quite deep and crystal clear too. 

If you continue your journey to the East, on the dirt road, you will come across some beautiful secluded coves with amazing deep waters and unique natural surroundings.

Aspes Beach

Latitude: N 34.955296 
Longitude: E 25.210574
Distance from Heraklion: 65.9 km.
Characteristics: Not organized isolated beach with black sand, unusual rocks, and a vivid turquoise sea.

Aspes, Heraklion.

This magnificent beach can be described only as a piece of heaven! 

Isolated and accessible only by boat, Aspes is the owner of a stunning natural beauty. The beach features very dark, almost black sand and is surrounded by cliffs with many scenic caves. The sea is deep and has a bright shade of turquoise which makes a perfect contrast with the dark sand. 

You can ask for a boat ride from the locals in the village of  Treis Ekklisias, it can be a truly unforgettable experience!

Tsoutsouras Beach

Latitude: N 34.988077 
Longitude: E 25.290282
Distance from Heraklion: 60 km.
Characteristics: Partly organized sandy beach, with calm and crystalline waters, perfect for a family vacation. Also known as Tsoutsouros.

One of the many shores in the area of Tsoutsouras.

Tsoutsouras and the nearby beaches in the area are located right by the village of the same name. The whole area is nothing but a perfect place for a relaxing family vacation. 

The main beach has umbrellas and sunbeds available for rent. 

There are also tamarisk trees along the beach where you can find a natural shade during a hot day. The waters are always calm and very clean. The families with small children love not only Tsoutsouras but also Krassas (in the picture) and Pera for their shallow sea and soft sand.

Arvi Beach

Latitude: N 34.991953 
Longitude: E 25.451912
Distance from Heraklion: 72 km.
Characteristics: Well-organized beach with sand and pebbles and clear blue waters.

Arvi Beach, South Heraklion.

Arvi is a gorgeous seaside village quite popular as a family vacation spot. The village has a beautiful sandy beach with some areas where you can also find pebbles. There are umbrellas and sunbeds available for rent as well as a few centers for water sports. 

The wonderful blue sea has clear shallow waters. If you walk to the West, you will find more secluded and rocky beaches ideal for fishing and snorkeling. 

By the way, the bananas from Arvi are famous all around Crete for their unique fragrance and taste! Don’t miss the opportunity to try some.

If you’re in the mood to keep exploring, don’t miss Maridaki Beach just a few minutes from Arvi.

Sidonia Beach

Latitude: N 34.984778 
Longitude: E 25.497502
Distance from Heraklion: 76.2 km.
Characteristics: Slightly organized sandy beach, clear but deep waters, protected from the winds. Also known as Sintonia.

Sidonia Beach, South Heraklion.

This tranquil beautiful beach is situated next to the village of Psari Forada. 

There are a few beach cafes where you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas too. The rest of the beach is not really organized but there are plants, bushes, and some tamarisk trees that provide natural shade. 

The beach has dark coarse sand and the sea has calm and clean waters of vivid blue color. 

The place is popular among families in search of a calm place to spend their holidays. 

Right off the shore, there is a beautiful rock formation with the Greek flag on top, an iconic image of this beach.

No idea about where to stay in Crete?
>>Check this great where to stay in Crete guide<<

Did any of these places make it to the list of the nicest beaches you want to discover when visiting Heraklion? I’m sure more than one is already on your itinerary and you can’t wait to visit!


Which is your favorite beach in Heraklion?
Let me know in the comments below!


Travel Plans for Crete?
More Resources to Organize Your Trip!

Start by heading right to my tips to plan a trip to Crete for in-depth details you need to know about Greece. You can also check my post to better know what to pack for a trip to the island or read this info to visit Crete with children!

Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your trip. If you want to tour West Crete, check my guide. Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything For a Hassle-Free Vacation!

I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy but light travel partner I just love. For short trips, I carry this little crossbody bag. If I drive, I pack my Nikon D7200 and a good travel guide: Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.

When it comes to plane tickets, compare prices with a powerful search engine. However, nothing beats traveling by sea in Greece. With Ferry Hopper, you can book in advance at the lowest price.

For accommodation, I personally use Booking.com. Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!

Are you coming to Crete any time soon?

Get in touch and let me know!

Read more:

The Most Beautiful Beaches in West Crete
The Most Incredible Things to Do in Heraklion at Night
Outstanding Things to See in Knossos Palace, Crete
Comfy and Convenient Vacation Homes in Heraklion, Crete
How to Get from Heraklion to Chania: Practical Guide by a Local

  • This is a pin-pin situation!

Stop Everything and Pin this Guide to the Best Beaches in Heraklion Now!

About the author of this blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. Here, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in the summer, translating, and working as a tech advisor.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published two travel guides about Greece, and drunk more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.


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