Falassarna Beach, Crete: Complete Insider's Guide

Falassarna, also written Falasarna, lies on the Western coast of Crete. Falassarna Beach has the most beautiful sunset on Crete. The atmosphere of the village is relaxed, and the background of the harsh Cretan mountains makes it all incredibly gorgeous. Here’s a complete guide to Falassarna Beach, Crete, with a few tips to make the most of your days in this corner of West Crete.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

If you are visiting or staying in Chania, Crete, and plan to visit the beautiful beach of Falassarna, check this guide which includes all you need to know before exploring one of the most stunning beaches of Crete.

About Falassarna Beach, Crete

Falassarna beach, Crete
Falasarna coast seen from the mountains.

As you approach the bay and go down the road that leads to the coast, the shades of the sea go from deep dark navy blue to the most stunning turquoise. Visitors stop by the side of the road just to admire the colors.

The area is quite tranquil, there are a few places to stay, not many restaurants, one supermarket, and virtually no nightlife. Apart from water sports and beach life, the choice of activities is minimum.

Falassarna Beach is not just a place to stay when visiting the nearby Balos Beach. The village is second to none as far as landscapes. Many visitors stay late on the beach to witness one of the most fabulous sunsets in Crete.

Sunset at Falassarna beach.

Read before you go: Basic Information about Falassarna Beach

Map of Falassarna beach, Crete

Regional unit: Chania
Location: Northwestern Crete

Distances to Falassarna from Crete’s main cities:

  • From Agios Nikolaos: 250 km, 3 h 50 m
  • From Heraklion: 192 km, 3 h
  • From Rethymno: 116 km, 1 h 50 m
  • From Chania: 54 km, 1 h

How to Get to Falassarna Beach

Road to Falassarna beach, Crete.
Road to Falassarna beach, Crete.

How to get to Falassarna by car: We are convinced that traveling by car is more convenient and cost-effective on Crete, plus it gives you a lot of flexibility. Besides, reaching Falassarna beach by car is fairly easy.

If you are traveling from Chania, take the National Road Chania – Kissamos. Pass through Kissamos-Kastelli, continue to Platanos and follow the signs to Falassarna. Once you are on the hill overlooking Falassarna beach, drive the bending road down the hill for about 3 km to get to the seaside.

To visit the Falassarna Beach in complete autonomy, check Rental Car Crete and get a 5% discount using the exclusive code for our readers tinyboo.

Public transport: There are several daily buses from the Public Bus Station in Chania.
Route: Chania – Platanos – Falassarna / Falassarna – Platanos –  Chania. To check prices and schedules, visit the official website of Ktel Public Bus Services Chania.

Falassarna beach, Crete.

Falassarna, Balos or Elafonisi: Which one to choose?

This is a question that I always get from the people that come to my Gastronomic tours and are planning to visit the beaches of Chania during their holidays. I always say that it’s a very personal decision and something we have often discussed here on the blog. However, if you have no idea which one to choose, these guides to Balos and Elafonisi can help you make up your mind.

Guide to Falassarna Beaches

Falassarna beach can be considered as one big, wide bay. However, there are different beaches within this bay that you can choose according to the kind of place you enjoy the most. Let’s see which are the beaches in Falassarna and what are their characteristics.

Falassarna, Small Beach

Falassarna Small Beach.
Falassarna Small Beach.

Falassarna Small Beach is located towards the north, and it’s one of the smallest beaches in the area, about 400 km long, Some people also call this area Petalida, (in fact there’s a small family-run hotel on top of this beach with that name).

This is the most secluded of all the beaches in the bay, with rocky formations on the fine sand beach that are popular among campers and naturists.

In the area, you can also spend the morning getting lost among the olive groves or hike incredible mountain trails. Either way is a recipe to discover unexpected sea views.

Olive trees, Falasarna.

Falassarna Big Beach, Pachia Ammos

Big Beach, Falassarna.
Big Beach, Falassarna.

Usually known as Big Beach, the biggest shore of the coastline is Pachia Ammos, a beautiful long golden sand beach, with services including lounges and umbrellas, several beach bars, and the possibility to practice different water sports.

Big beach umbrellas Falassarna, Crete
Umbrellas, Big Beach.

There are several parking spaces above the beach, usually free, be aware that you will need to hike back up to get to your car.

Greenhouses and beaches of Falassarna Crete
Panoramic view, different beaches, and greenhouses.

 It’s easy to avoid the crowds in Falassarna. Therefore, despite being the area extremely popular among tourists during the whole season, you can always find a more secluded place to stay.

For instance, if you head towards the south of Pachia Ammos, you will find another long sandy beach, about 800 m long, that people tend to disregard because the sea has a fairly rocky bottom. If you keep going South, there is another secluded bay you can visit.

Kids swimming Falassarna, Crete.
Falassarna is one of the favorite beaches of our family.

Where to stay in Falassarna

Forget about the sophisticated lifestyle of touristic resorts in Falasarna. The magic of the place requires you to choose simplicity. Closeness to nature and no-frills are a must. Add to that the authentic character of the villagers: Few words but well spent and utter hospitality. Our place of choice is a quiet angle almost at the end of the (only) road.

During my different trips to Falassarna over the years, I’ve tried many different hotels and studios. I was never disappointed and I could recommend each of the following with equal enthusiasm. Find down here a list of the best places to stay in Falassarna.

Petalida, rooms in front of Falasarna beach.

Falassarna Bay is located very close to Falassarnas Big Beach, about 100 m, and has recently renovated their rooms, with open views to the spectacular bay of Falassarna. Rooms also include a small kitchen where you can prepare your quick meals to go to the beach or fix a drink to enjoy in your balcony. This place has excellent reviews, and you can book here.

Another place we enjoyed staying at a few years ago is Kalami Rooms & Apartments, also facing the grat bay of Falassarna. What we enjoyed the most in this hotel is that despite having all the facilities of a studio type of accommodation, and therefore your own private kitchen, they also serve breakfast, so it’s one thing less to worry when you get up in the morning. Check the reviews and book here ...if you find availability!

A very (really, very!) popular place to stay in Falassarna is Falassarna Beach. It is a family-run hotel where people like to come back every year, which makes it hard to find availability, so don’t doubt to book if you find an available room. The place is only 70 m from the main beach and there are a garden and a bar with sea views. All units have a small kitchen but you can also have your breakfast served in the dining area. There’s also a restaurant serving local dishes. This is a place you shouldn’t miss, check reviews and book here.

Sunset, Falassarna Beach, Crete.
Sunset, Falassarna Beach, Crete.

Petalida is a family-run hotel with incredible views of the sea and the mountains. When you wake up in the morning and step out on the balcony you can see the blue sea and the first sun rays in the mountains. You can have breakfast on the terrace facing the Small Beach of Falassarna. This is a family-run studio that offers the legendary Cretan hospitality. Unfortunately, you cannot book online, so you can contact them by phone (+30  6945 027066) or risk and visit without a reservation. Be sure they’ll be happy to welcome you to Falassarna.

Sunset, Petalida’s terrace.

Best place to eat in Falassarna

It’s no secret I am a big fan of Greek food, Cretan raki, and Hellenic hospitality. The place where I’ve learned the most about it all is Crete, specially Falassarna. My return proved me right. Every year, they welcome me like an old friend, with a hug, smiles and the (always unchanged) most incredible home-made dishes I have ever tasted in my life.

Besides and since I moved to Crete, we have made it our tradition to celebrate the 1st of May in this taverna opposite Falassarna Beach. On that day, every year we book our table and celebrate, dance local music, and sing from midday until late in the evening.

Michalis, in Spilios taverna.

Now, I’ve reviewed dozens of restaurants and I do not intend to diminish any of them. Especially in Greece, the culture of welcoming guests is so rooted in the heart of the nation that it’s quite hard not to find a wonderful place to eat. However, and even having eaten in different places in Falassarna, nothing beats Taverna Spilios.

Taverna Spilios combines perfection in food with extreme care for customers, attention for kids, joy and a special extra something that is so hard to explain in a review and so easy to see from the looks of those who are receiving you.

Things to do in Falassarna Beach, Crete

Don’t Miss the Sunset in Falassarna Beach

Sunset, Falasarna, Crete.
Sunset, Falassarna Beach, Crete.

The golden hour in Falassarna has often labeled as one of the most spectacular on the island. And I can’t disagree. The open and direct view of the West, together with a clear atmosphere, free of smog and contamination, resulting in one of the most stunning sunset spots on Crete.

Colors of the sunset, Falasarna.
Colors of the sunset, Falasarna.

At around 8.30 pm (in mid-summer) people start gathering in strategic points of the beach with their photo cameras and phones ready to shoot the moment when the sun goes down on Falassarna.

Sunset at the Big Beach of Falassarna.
Sunset at the Big Beach of Falassarna.

If you prefer to dine early, choose a table in one of the many tavernas up the hill or make yourself a quick dinner to enjoy from the privacy of your balcony. The sunset in Falassarna is really unique.

Golden hour, Falassarna, Crete.
Golden hour, Falassarna, Crete.

Visit Ancient Falassarna

This ancient settlement was a major trading and important naval center, the only closed harbor in west Crete, built taking advantage of the local lagoon with a channel that connected it to the sea making it particularly safe. The city flourished during the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.

Throne, Ancient Falasarna
Ancient Falasarna.

An area inhabited since the early Minoan period with an ideal position and a direct connection with the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Archaeological site Falasarna, Agios Giorgos church.
Agios Giorgos, the ancient city of Falassarna.

Two reasons that made its prosperity possible. One of the activities that helped the economic rise of Falasarna was piracy, which made Romans invade and destroy the city in 69 B.C.

The real reason for the decline of Falasarna was, however, the great earthquake of 365 A.D. Its most important result implied the elevation of the west coast of Crete by about 6,6 meters.

Archaeolgical site Falasarna,Crete
Visiting the ancient site.

This is the real reason making the ruins of Ancient Falasarna extremely interesting: the harbor of the old city now lies more than a hundred meters from the sea!

Finding Ancient Falasarna: follow the main road of the village until its very end, a little church, Agios Georgios, on the slope of the mountains, will be helpful to spot the area near the entrance. (Mondays closed. Entrance: free, donations accepted).

A few meters before the entrance it is also possible to visit the Throne of Falasarna, probably a podium used for public speeches.

Archaeological Museum of Kissamos

Archaeological Museum of Kissamos.
Archaeological Museum of Kissamos.

This museum comes in handy for a better understanding of the ruins of Falasarna. It’s a good idea to combine both visits on the same morning as they are not more than a few kilometers away from each other.

The museum is in a Venetian-Turkish building in the Venetian area of Kissamos. It shows the history of the district of Kissamos, from the Prehistoric period through Early Christianity. Even if you are not fond of museums, this one is easy to visit and appreciate, reasonably didactic for children and quite small too.

Checking the ancient coins.

The ground floor presents artifacts belonging to different cities of Crete (Polyrrhenia, Ancient Phalassarna, Drapanias), while the upper floor is devoted to Kissamos, mostly during the Roman period, overshadowed by the Minoan era.

There are unique mosaic floors belonging to important urban villas. The biggest of them depicts an allegory of Dionysus, but there is a smallest one, incredibly well-preserved, with a unique combination of the four seasons with three female figures representing Summer, Winter, and Spring. The collection of coins and jewelry is an impressive snapshot of the economic importance of the area.

Mosaics, Archaeological Museum of Kissamos

If you’re traveling to Falasarna and want to live a great experience, get in touch with…
– Petalida Rooms & Studios: +30  6945 027066
– Taverna Spilios: +30 28220 41010

Remember:
Since Falassarna is so close to Balos Beach and Lagoon, you will find more information about things to do in the area if you read my article about Balos. In it, there’s information about Polyrrinia, Sfinari Beach, and more.
If you want to explore the Southwestern coast, check Elafonisi Beach, but also Kedrodasos, Topolia, Elos and Chrysoskalithissa Monastery in my article about Elafonisi.

This post was originally published in October 2016, and it was last updated in December, 2019.

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About the author

Hola! I’m Gabi. I moved to Crete a few years ago to explore the island all year round. I love to backpack with my kids, taking pictures and driving around the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island, I’ve found heaven on earth!

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