Ancient ruins, rugged mountains, divine cuisine, hospitable people, glorious beaches… if that sounds like your idea of heaven, welcome to Crete. With a 650 mile long coastline, it is the perfect destination for anyone who likes their vacation to come with a good dose of sun, sea and sand. And as for the choice … well, you have a lot of possibilities. From pink sand beaches to eerie sand dunes, pebble coves to wide bays, there is literally a beach for everyone and a beach for everyone. But with choice, a problem arises. Holidays have a time limit. Unless you’ve figured out how to teleport, you won’t be able to pack all of Crete’s beaches in one trip. So how do you decide which ones can be lost and which ones cannot? It’s not to blow our own horn, but following our traveler’s guide to the best beaches in Crete is probably a good place to start.
There’s a reason that Crete’s beaches are often voted among the best in Europe, a reason that becomes clear the moment you set foot in Elafonisi. Tucked away in a remote part of the island’s southwest corner, this magical lagoon has it all: warm aquamarine waters shallow enough for bathing, swirling pink cotton candy sands filled with shells, and plenty of privacy in the coves and surrounding dunes. Although it can get a bit crowded on the weekends in peak season, visit during the week if you prefer a bit of peace and quiet.
Travelandleisure.com recommends that you make time to visit Mátala Beach during your adventures in Crete. Like us. Once a favorite hangout for hippies, today, Mátala is THE place to go for honeymooners and couples. As impressive as it is during the day, the beach really picks up its pace at dusk. One look at the wonderfully romantic caves with their lighting strings will tell you why.
As cntraveller.com writes, the greenhouses lining the short, winding road to Falassarna and blocking any hint of ocean views don’t inspire much hope. But as soon as you set your eyes on the huge expanse of beach in the background, all your negative thoughts will vanish in an instant. As wide as it is wide, this is a beach that can crowd tourists, but still seems blissfully empty. The crystal clear waters can get a bit choppy for kids, but for windsurfers, the waves are perfect. Visit at dusk for the most glorious sunset you can imagine.
Visit Vai Beach and you could be excused for thinking that you have suddenly been transported to St. Lucia. Dotted with hundreds of palm-fringed beaches and with the perfect package of sun-blush sands, sparkling aquamarine waves, and endless ocean views, there’s something distinctly Caribbean about the atmosphere. Although summer can be a bit crowded, early spring and late fall are wonderfully serene and still warm enough for a dip in the ocean.
First, Balos Bay gets very crowded. Really, really crowded. Visit at noon on the weekend in peak season and you’ll spend most of your time fighting for elbow room. But the crowd goes there for a reason, which is to say, it’s spectacular. Located in the Chania region of Crete, in the northwest corner of the island, Balos is a wonderfully exotic lagoon that offers everything you would expect from one of the best beaches in Greece: emerald waters, soft white sands and panoramic views, by far . The waves are gentle and shallow for families. Be aware that facilities are limited in the area, so be sure to pack your own supplies. Getting there can be challenging – it can be accessed by sea or a slightly bumpy off-road road, but it’s worth the effort. If you want to avoid the crowds, take the advice from dreamsinheels.com and visit in early spring or late fall.
If you like small, intimate beaches off the beaten track, then we present to you your new favorite spot: Stefanou Beach. Tiny, largely unknown, and a bit difficult to access (actually, forget about ‘a little’, the near-vertical descent can make even the most intrepid explorer’s heart skip a beat), it’s not even on the radar of most of the island’s tourists. . And let’s hope it continues to be the case. With a backdrop of rugged cliffs and consisting of a small mixed beach of sand and pebbles and a narrow strip of electric blue water, …