Water Sports in Crete: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Sea Activities

water sports in crete

With a coastline that extends for 1,046 km (650 mi), Crete is a great destination to practice water sports and spend time enjoying countless thrilling sea activities. If you’re still not sure where exactly to go to enjoy a day at sea, or what to do during your days at the beach, then this article comes to the rescue. Bookmark this guide to the best water sports in Crete and keep it handy when it’s time to visit the island!

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Water Sports in Crete

Water Sports in Crete

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Here is a list of the most thrilling water activities that you can enjoy in Crete, including adventurous water sports, kid-friendly activities, relaxing sea exploration, and other unique experiences at sea on the island.

water sports in Crete

Let’s see now some of the most popular water sports to have wet fun in Crete!

Scuba Diving

water sports in Crete

Although we have a whole article devoted to the best scuba diving spots in Crete, which I recommend you bookmark and read later, this is one of the most popular water activities on the island.

Therefore, I’ve included it here and added some of the top-selling experiences for divers of all levels and ages.

Scuba Diving PADI Courses from Myrtos Beach, South Lasithi

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Even if you have never tried scuba diving before, you can take an Open Water Course and become the diver you were always meant to be! 
  • Open Water Course (PADI): It teaches you the basic theory and skills to be able to dive down to 18 meters anywhere in the world! It takes 5 fun days to complete and you will be diving in different spots to discover different underwater habitats and creatures!
  • To enroll in a PADI Open Water Diver course, you must be 10 years old or older. You need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required.
  • Advanced Open Water Course (PADI): This certification has been designed for those who wish to take the next step in their scuba diving education.
  • There are more than 10 different dive sites close to the diving center in Myrtos (reefs, caves, shipwrecks, wall dives, drift dives). The crystal clear waters allow the divers to enjoy diving with visibility even at 30m below the surface. You will be diving in Ierapetra, Agia Fotia, Makris Gialos, Arvi, Psari, or the island of Chrissi. 
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Discover Scuba Diving in Crete (Chania Region – Beginners)

  • HIGHLIGHTS: If scuba diving in Crete is what you’re looking for, this experience teaches you how to use the scuba gear for the first time with the help of the expert instructors, you will be a confident diver in no time enjoying the crystal clear waters of Falasarna. 
  • Afterward, you will have one 45-minute dive to complete in the sea and explore the marine life underwater. An amazing sensation for everyone who wants to know how it feels to be a scuba diver. 
  • Maximum depth: 6 meters, basic swimming skills necessary.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Other Scuba Diving Activities in the Rest of Crete:

You might also want to read: How Many Days in Crete? Discover How Much Time You *Really* Need on the Island!

Sea Kayaking, One of the most popular water sports in Crete!

water sports in crete

There are dozens of sea kayaking experiences available around the island. In fact, this is one more of the many popular water sports in Crete which sees hundreds of fans year after year. It can be practiced in every corner of the island!

These are the most popular activities offered this season:

Sea Kayak Excursion from Loutro Beach, Sfakia, Chania

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Paddle along a beautiful coast with centuries of history! This sea kayaking excursion offers a lovely trip around one of the most protected areas in Crete. This amazing outing is ideal for people with no experience at all, though previous paddlers will enjoy the sweet rocking of the ocean.
  • The natural landscapes filled with sea caves and wonderful beaches will catch your eye. It includes 4 hours of paddling and 2-3 hours of relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, walking, or exploring the small fishing village of Loutro.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Sea kayak Excursion from Bali Beach, Rethymnon

  • HIGHLIGHTS: The unique beach of Balí is not named after the Indonesian island.. but it can be as gorgeous and entertaining! You can enjoy its crystal clear waters paddling on a sea kayak!
  • Depending on the experience of the group and fitness level, you can cover a distance between 15 to 21k m.
  • This excursion is a must if you are staying in north Crete. Before or after the excursion you can relax in the many tavern or coffee shops in the area.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Other Sea Kayaking Activities in the Rest of Crete:

Snorkeling

water sports in crete
Snorkeling is a family-friendly activity and one of the many water sports in Crete that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere!

Nothing says summer holidays in Crete more than snorkeling! This is probably the easiest activity on the waters around the island, perfect for all ages, and guarantees hours of fun and entertainment.

You can go snorkeling all over the coast, but if you want to upgrade the experience, then check these different proposals:

Speedboat Tour with Snorkeling in Rethymnon

  • HIGHLIGHTS: You will explore the fascinating underwater world of Crete at untouched sites reachable only by boat and combine that with an exciting speedboat tour!
  • The tour is guided and supervised by certified instructors who take you to explore the gorgeous fauna and flora of Crete’s underwater world.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Snorkeling Tour on Agia Pelagia Beach, Heraklion

  • HIGHLIGHTS: During this tour, you will snorkel at the bay of Mononaftis, Agia Pelagia, and observe the local marine life. Agia Pelagia is a popular spot for diversified marine life, crystal and warm water, not too deep, and a safe diving spot.
  • Conditions: the tour is about 40 minutes with a 6-meter maximum depth and instructor.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Other Snorkeling Activities in the Rest of Crete:

SUP – Stand-Up Paddle

water sports in crete

One of the most popular activities in Crete in recent years, ok for almost any age as long as you are able to swim, SUP (stand-up paddle) is the perfect thing to do to have some fun time on the beach.

Stand Up Paddle Excursions, Chania

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Enjoy a half or full-day SUP in the area of Chania to explore our idyllic beaches of unique beauty, checking out amazing beaches, small bays, rocks, and caverns to be explored. Expert instructors will teach you the right paddling technique to avoid getting exhausted during your excursion and fully enjoy the experience.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Stand Up Paddle and Snorkeling in Loutraki, Akrotiri Peninsula, Chania

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Loutraki Beach, a well-known beach on the Akrotiri Peninsula, is a popular spot for SUP in the Chania region, the place has clear and calm waters that offer the perfect environment for stand-up paddling. It is an ideal location for first-timers who want to be taught the basic paddling techniques: how to turn, stop and stand up until their confidence builds up! 
  • On the 2-hour tour, participants get to explore a cute little bay with magnificent colors, dive, swim, snorkel, or relax under the hot Cretan sun. Cliff jumping is also an option for the more adventurous ones. 
  • Beginners will learn how to: 
    -Get the board out into in water so the fin is free from hitting the bottom
    -Start out on their knees and take a few strokes on each side of the board
    -Slowly stand up with one foot at a time and stay in the middle of the board with the feet parallel to the stringer – about shoulder-width apart
    -Keep a slight bend in the knees and the core centered over the board
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Stand Up Paddle in Falasarna and Elafonisi, Chania

water sports in crete
Falasarna beach.
  • HIGHLIGHTS: The activity takes place on Falasarna Main Beach, ideal for SUP activities. The sandy beach with waist-high water is a perfect playground. The activity includes a full range of paddleboards for all levels and needs. Everyone can have fun in the water in safety, from young kids to adults.
  • Conditions: When the wind is light, the beach is so calm that you feel as if you are flying on the surface. Flatwater, sandy bottom, crystal clear sea, everything is ideal for a SUP cruise!
  • Beginner SUP lessons are done with specialized beginner equipment. You learn the basic theory and safety issues. At the end of the course, you will be an independent rider, knowing how to paddle, turn around, and cruise in flat water. Intermediate lessons are also available.
  • Depending on the weather conditions you can choose either the Falasarna beach station or the Elafonisi station. 
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Stand Up Paddle, Kalathas Beach, Chania

The gorgeous Kalathas Beach, also part of the Akrotiri Peninsula, is another popular place for SUP fun!

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Kalathas is a kid-friendly beach about 20 minutes from the center of Chania with transparent blue-green waters. This beach is perfect whether you have experience in stand-up paddling or not. You can either rent high-quality equipment or have full training with friendly and expert trainers. In the area, you can enjoy the calm waters of the bay as well as explore several caves that are close by. You might even get to see some sea turtles that keep their nests close to the beach!
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Check out this incredible experience combining Guided Snorkeling & Stand-Up Paddling in Chania.

Canyoning

water sports in crete

With dozens of incredible gorges scattered all over the island, Crete is the ideal scenario to enjoy canyoning.

In fact, there are quite a few spots where you can have fun canyoning in Crete; the following are just some of the options; check them out and decide which is better for you:

Water Trekking Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Rethymnon

  • HIGHLIGHTS: They promise not to just stare at the fantastic waterfall but to abseil close to it down into the refreshing, breathtaking river! With your instructors, you will swim against it to the point where the waterfall hits the river’s surface. The activity includes hiking and jumping down the river to a beautiful place for a final picnic lunch.   
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Read everything about Kourtaliotiko Gorge here.

Canyoning in the Portela Gorge, Viannos, Heraklion

  • HIGHLIGHTS: You will descend this rocky canyon using various techniques in this activity. You will walk through spectacular gorges, abseil from 70-meter-high rocks down, scramble, climb, jump, and swim. An experienced instructor will teach you how to stay safe and how to use the equipment, and then he will take you to the most amazing places in southern Heraklion to enjoy both the canyons and the views.
  • Depending on your experience and the level of fun you are looking for, there are two different canyons to follow: Kavousi, with a maximum abseil of 25 m., or Valacha, with a maximum abseil of 65 m. 
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Canyoning in Seitan Limani, Chania

GREECE - CRETE - CHANIA - SEITAN LIMANIA
  • HIGHLIGHTS: Seitan Limania is one of the most picturesque beaches in the Akrotiri Peninsula but is also difficult to access; with this activity, you will discover a different and adventurous way to reach it!  You will walk to the canyon entrance with your instructors and start a unique experience together! Sometimes, walking through steep walls and other times abseiling down one of the six different rappels of the canyon, you will enjoy this adventure and bond as a team while taking pictures and sharing beautiful moments.
  • You will also have some free time to enjoy the crystal clear waters and have a snack before returning full of exciting memories.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Jet Ski

water sports in crete
Jet skiing is one of Crete’s many adventurous water sports, and it can be practiced on many different beaches!

Jet skiing is another of the different water sports you can take up in Crete. In this case, you will head to the blue waters of Heraklion Bay, only a few minutes from the center.

  • HIGHLIGHTS: The fee varies according to the rental time. It includes top-notch jet skis and certified instructors to help you jump on the jet skis safely and enjoy a ride with your friends and family. Friendly instructors will be next to you during your rental time.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Windsurfing

water sports in crete

Is there a better place on the island for a fun day at the beach than the magic coast of Elafonisi Beach? Well, it can get even better if you pair it with windsurfing lessons!

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Enjoy windsurfing lessons in Elafonisi! Ride the waves with a bit of help from the wind!
  • The station: Elafonisi Beach station is ideal for learning how to windsurf. If you are an experienced windsurfer, you can have private advanced lessons to learn new tricks and build your confidence on the board. Windsurfing is a fantastic experience, especially on the flat waters of the Elafonisi lagoon. 
  • Beginner lessons: These are done with specialized beginner equipment to learn basic theory and safety. At the end of the course, you will be an independent rider, knowing how to tack and jibe, going upwind, beach start, and return to the launch area. If you have a group of friends, you can take the beginner lessons together in a group of two or three people.
  • Advanced lessons: Chop Hop, Fast Tacks, Jumping, First Freestyle Tricks. Advanced lessons are private.
  • Free equipment usage is included when you book a lesson, subject to availability, so you can practice afterward.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.
  • Also, in Elafonisi, you can check for jet skiing, kitesurfing, parasailing, and more.

Surfing

water sports in crete

One of the most traditional water sports you could think of is surfing! This is also possible in Crete, currently, in two locations: Falasarna, one of the top places on the island due to its optimal winy conditions, and on the coast of Chania.

Surfing in Falasarna

Falasarna’s main beach is ideal for surfing activities. The sandy beach with waist-high water is a perfect playground for the first steps in wave riding. The station provides a full range of surfboards for all levels and needs. Everyone can have fun in the water safely, from young kids to adults.

  • Wave conditions in Falassarna: When the wind is west or northwest, waves are from 0,5m to 2m high. The spot is a beach break with sandy seafloor and waist-to-shoulder-high deep water. 
  • Lessons: Beginners (group and individual) and intermediate lessons are available.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.
  • Also, in Falasarna, you can check for jet skiing, kitesurfing, and more.

Surfing starting from Chania

The offer includes a full-day surfing trip with an instructor who will choose the best spots for surfing depending on the weather conditions and with top-notch equipment.

  • HIGHLIGHTS: The surf trip starts early in the morning. You’ll hop on a 7-seat Land Rover Discovery and head to the spots you’ll visit. After a fantastic day among the waves, you will return to Chania in the late afternoon. The itinerary is flexible and can be adjusted to the group’s level and requirements.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Parasailing

water sports in crete

Parasailing is also possible in Crete! Individually, in couples, and groups of three. Although technically, it is not 100% a water sport, fun and entertainment are fully guaranteed!

This activity takes place on the beach of Ammoudara, one of the most popular shores in Heraklion, only 10 minutes from the city center.

  • HIGHLIGHTS: A sensational parasailing flight on Ammoudara Beach with expert instructors to enjoy a fun activity to soak in the gorgeous views of Heraklion and the surrounding mountains. There is no need for experience or being sporty.
  • Parasailing is a fun activity accessible to everyone from 8 years old and up. A boat of 10 meters will pull you in the air smoothly while you enjoy the summer breeze.
  • Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Boat Wakeboarding

water sports in crete

Quickly becoming one of Crete’s most popular water sports, wakeboarding will guarantee hours of unbeatable fun! This sensational sport needs calm waters… and there is no better place than the Mirabello Gulf for this experience.

So, if you’re staying in Elounda or somewhere on the northern coast of the Lasithi region, then don’t miss this chance.

  • HIGHLIGHTS: The activity takes place at the Bay of Elounda, offering the best conditions to practice wakeboarding at all times. With the help of an experienced instructor, you will learn how to perform incredible tricks in the water. 
    The activity is suitable for beginners and experienced wakeboarders. The offer includes beginner’s lessons or coaching sessions to improve your techniques.
  • Wakeboarding is the perfect sport to try in Elounda!
  • Click here for more information and to check the prices.
  • You can also find out about the lessons.

Coasteering

water sports in crete

Have you ever heard of coasteering? I admit that the first time I heard of it, I had to run to Wikipedia because I had no idea what it was… 

Their definition was quite puzzling: “Coasteering is a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surfboards or other craft.”

Apparently, the term combines the words mountaineering and coast, and it is pretty much related to adventure swimming.

And although this was pretty new to me, apparently, it is possible to go coasteering in Crete too! You need to head to the southern coast, near the area of Lentas, south Heraklion. And incredible thrill and fun are guaranteed!

  • HIGHLIGHTS: Coasteering adventure filled with cliff jumping and an optional zipline with some of the island’s best views! It perfectly combines adventure activities and sports, water and land. In an average 3-4 hour session, you’ll be scrambling along the shore of a picturesque bay, climbing above water at low altitude, ziplining into the sea, swimming, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, and, most of all, cliff jumping. Sounds like your cup of tea?
  • Click here for more information and to check the prices.
  • Spoiler alert: it is pretty affordable!

So, there you go, a range of activities in Crete for the wettest, most thrilling adventure. No matter your age or fitness level, I’m sure you’ve found the right thing to do when eager for a water experience in Crete!
Have you practiced any of these water sports in Crete before?

Read more about Crete

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets. You can also get one of the digital travel guides I’ve written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

Pin This Guide to the Best Water Sports in Crete for Your Next Adventure!

Water Sports in Crete


About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the island. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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