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With its stunning natural scenery, abundant cultural and archaeological attractions, and warm Mediterranean climate, Crete is one of the most visited Greek islands, and it’s easy to see why!

But Crete is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are unique beaches with pink sand, nearby islands that you can reach by walking through the water, dramatic cliffs, and turquoise water. And if you are going with the whole family, check out this packing guide for a family beach vacation to be sure not to miss anything important.

So, if you’re planning on visiting Crete this summer, you have to check out our ultimate guide to the best beaches in Crete! You will definitely find inspiration to get ready to explore Crete’s stunning coastline!

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a vacation planner app on iOS and Android

Elafonissi Beach

Elafonissi Beach, located on the island of Crete, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and one of the best places to visit in Crete. The water is a deep turquoise, and the sand is impossibly soft and white.

It’s famous for the pink sand, which actually are small pieces of corals. Just don’t expect the whole beach to be pink – the colored sand can be seen in a few separate places along the shore.

Just be sure to arrive early, as the beach is very popular and gets crowded during the day.

Visitors can explore the nearby coral reefs or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. There are also plenty of cushioned loungers and parasols, so you can relax in style. If you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area, and several restaurants nearby serve fresh seafood.

Elafonissi beach is kid-friendly, as there is a vast amount of water that is only knee-deep. You can actually walk to the nearby iland through the water if you are searching for a more private experience.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation spot, Elafonissi Beach is sure to exceed your expectations.

Kedrodasos Beach

Kedrodasos beach is one of the most unique beaches in Greece. It is filled with cedar trees and sand dunes and looks different than the other beaches in Crete. The water is in all shades of blue and so clear that you can actually see fish swimming between the rocks.

It’s just 1 km east of the most famous beach in Crete – Elafonissi. But it’s secluded and lesser known, so you won’t see such crowds of people here as in the pink-sanded neighboring beach.

If you are visiting Elafonissi beach it’s actually possible to walk to Kedrodasos beach. The trail is 1 km long and takes around half an hour. Keep in mind that you’ll need decent shoes as the trail leads over rocky terrain.

There are a number of great activities to enjoy at the beach, including swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. It’s also possible to camp nearby. Note that there is no service like WC, showers, and food. So be prepared for some wilderness.

If you’re looking for a truly special and secluded beach experience, Kedrodasos is the place for you.

Falassarna Beach

Falassarna beach is one of the most unique beaches in Greece, and it’s easy to see why. The white sand and clear water make it a perfect place to relax, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

If you just want to soak up the sun, there are plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas. And if you get hungry, there are several restaurants and cafes nearby. You can also get free Wi-Fi near the cafes. There are basic amenities like toilets available and plenty of free car parking spaces.

The views are amazing, especially if you stay until sunset.

Falassarna beach is accessible by a well-maintained road and just an hour’s drive by car from Chania. This is something to consider as some other great beaches in Crete are accessible only by a dirt road and an additional hike to the beach.

Balos Beach

Balos Beach is one of the best beaches in Crete for its dramatic scenery and crystal-clear waters. The beach is located on the island’s north coast, and it is well worth the dirt road drive to get there. If you come early in the morning before the first ferries arrive, the beach will be much less crowded and will leave a better impression.

It’s also possible to visit Balos beach by ferry as an organized tour from Kissamos, Chania, Rethymno, or even Heraklion.

Once you arrive, you will be greeted by a stunning view of the Aegean Sea. The water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. You can actually walk through the shallow and warm water to the nearby island.

If you get hungry, there is one canteen nearby. Toilets are available for 1€. Parasols and deck chairs are around 15€ per day.

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Stavros Beach

Stavros Beach is a hidden gem on the Greek island of Crete. It’s known for its clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, and craggy mountains nearby. Visitors can find a number of small beach bars and restaurants nestled in the cove.

The best things to do at Stavros beach are to relax on the sand, swim in the sea, and enjoy the food service right to your sunbed. This service is great if you have small children and want to be located in one place. There are sunbeds for rent and even cabins where you can change clothes.

The mountains and the beach cove form great natural protection from the wind so there aren’t many big waves. The entrance into the water has some rocks but not so many that you’d need to wear shoes. Overall this is a kid-friendly beach.

Stavros Beach is the perfect place to relax, swim, and explore. Just 20 km from Chania Town, this is a great beach to spend a day.

Seitan Limania Beach

Seitan Limania Beach, Crete

Seitan Limania is a unique gem on the north coast of Crete. This beach is only accessible by foot, and it takes some effort to get there – but it’s well worth it. It takes around 15 minutes to climb from the parking lot down to the beach and it requires better boots than flip-flops. And you can meet super-friendly goats on the way!

The sparkling turquoise water and dramatic cliffs make Seitan Limania one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The pictures don’t portray how magnificent the view truly is.

There are no sun loungers or beach umbrellas. The water is great for swimming but not as crystal clear as elsewhere, so snorkeling is not something you’d do here. During the peak season the beach might get crowded, so plan your visit either in the morning.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach experience, Seitan Limania is definitely worth a visit.

Marathi Beach

Marathi Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island of Crete. It’s well known for its clear blue waters, soft sand, and nearby resorts. There are also a number of great restaurants and bars in the area.

The best time to visit Marathi Beach is from June to September when the weather is warm and the water is calm. It’s a good place to go with the whole family. Just note that this is a popular destination and can get crowded. Due to this plan your visit either in the morning or later in the afternoon when it’s not so hot and you can actually get the chairs and an umbrella.

During this time, there are a number of different activities to enjoy including swimming, sunbathing, and SUP. There is a stand-up paddle rental so that you can go to the nearby island to explore. Marathi Beach is also a great place to watch the sunset.

With its beautiful setting and laid-back atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Marathi Beach is one of the most popular destinations on Crete.

Georgioupolis

Georgioupolis is a beautiful coastal town located on the northern coast of Crete. The main attraction of Georgioupolis is its long sandy beach, which stretches for over nine kilometers!

This beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. Georgioupolis beach is serviced with sunbeds, umbrellas, lifeguards, and restaurants lining the shore. This makes it ideal for those who want to stay active on their vacation and want to enjoy a good service while doing it.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach that offers both tranquility and excitement, Georgioupolis is the perfect place for you!

Potamos Beach

Potamos beach is one of the best places to enjoy the sun and the sea. With its crystal clear waters and soft sand, good service, and long, shallow entry, it’s no wonder that Potamos is a beloved destination for tourists and locals alike.

There are plenty of things to do at Potamos Beach, from swimming and sunbathing to exploring the many rock formations. If you climb up on the rocks on the eastern side you’ll get a nice photo of the beach. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some delicious food (gyros) and drink in the nearby tavernas.

The beach is really clean, has free parking, lifeguards, and good toilets, and you can rent a reasonably priced sunbed if you like.

If you’re looking for a relaxing day by the sea with fewer people than in other famous Cretan beaches, Potamos beach is sure to be the best place for you.

Voulisma Beach

Voulisma beach, Crete

With its turquoise water, sandy bottom, and stunning views, Voulisma beach is a great choice for photos.

It is situated on the island’s northern coast and is quite popular. Due to its popularity, it gets quite crowded and may not be the best choice for a relaxing day. The recent reviews from many tourists also say that there are quite a lot of plastic pieces in the water so swimming there is not enjoyable.

So if you wish to see this beach, stop for a couple of photos, but if you are looking for a place where to spend some time swimming and sunbathing, choose some other beach from this list.

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Vai Beach (Palm Beach)

Vai Beach, Crete

Vai beach, also known as Palm beach, is considered one of the best beaches in Crete. It’s located in the southeast corner of the island and is well-known for its beautiful sandy shore and clear turquoise waters. The beach is also surrounded by a palm forest, which provides plenty of shade for those who need to escape the sun.

In addition to its natural beauty, Vai beach is also a great place to go for a swim, sunbathe, or simply relax and enjoy the view.

Several restaurants and cafes are located nearby, so you can easily find something to eat or drink. Vai beach has all the amenities like parking, WC, and sunbed rental, and it’s quite touristy. But this also makes this beach great for families who enjoy the service and need a nice, sandy beach for the kids.

If you are someone who can’t sit at a beach the whole day, there are a few hiking trails from the Vai beach that lead to exceptionally beautiful viewpoints. There is also a nudist beach nearby, so don’t be surprised if you walk further away from the Vai beach.

Matala Beach

Matala Beach, Crete

While Matala gets a fair share of visitors, finding a quiet spot to relax is still possible. The beach is well-known for its dramatic cliffs waters.

There are also a number of caves that you can explore. They were built by hippies in the 1970s, and for a EUR 4 fee, you can climb up the mountain and see several levels of the caves. Just bring your shoes as there aren’t any real stairs and the stones might get slippery.

In addition to its natural beauty, Matala is also home to a number of restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to spend a day or night.

The beach might not be the most crystal-clear, or most turquoise-colored in Crete, but together with the caves and the nearby town, it’s an interesting place to explore if you are in Crete.

Triopetra Beach

Triopetra Beach, Crete

Triopetra beach is stunningly beautiful and quite rural, so don’t expect crowds of people here. The main difference here from other beaches in Crete is the three huge rock formations.

In the high season, there are two tavernas so you can enjoy a traditional Greek meal near the beach. The parking is free.

Beach is covered in small gravel and the water is crystal-clear. However, it gets deep quite fast, and there are big waves if it’s windy. There are also underwater currents, so don’t go to this beach if you have children. There are more suitable beaches for them in Crete.

Triopetra beach is great for those who are looking for a little bit of solitude and a refreshing swim.

Preveli Beach

Preveli Beach, Crete

Preveli beach is one of the best beaches in Crete. It’s a secluded beach located at the southern end of the island. It is known for its lush surroundings, providing a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.

The best way to get to Preveli beach is to drive to Dionysos beach and walk 8 minutes to reach Preveli beach. It’s easier than driving to Preveli beach parking and climbing down more than 300 steps.

Here you’ll find a palm forest and a river flowing into the sea. Take a walk through the palm forest and pass the river on foot. You can even try to walk a little bit up in the river to have a different experience than elsewhere in Crete.

This beach can get crowded in the high season, so plan to arrive early to enjoy all this beauty just by yourself.

Plakias Beach

Plakias Beach, Crete

Plakias beach is one of the best beaches in Crete for several reasons.

First, it has a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. There are plenty of sun loungers for those who want to relax and soak up the sun, as well as a range of water sports on offer. The water is shallow for quite a long so the beach is kid-friendly.

Secondly, the beach is clean and well-maintained, with regular garbage collections taking place. This ensures that the beach is enjoyable for everyone.

Finally, the local restaurants and bars offer a great selection of food and drink, meaning that visitors can enjoy a complete day out without having to leave the beach.

If you are looking for a less crowded beach with natural beauty, Plakias beach will be great!

Souda Beach

Souda beach, Crete

Souda beach is a stunning stretch of sand located on the north coast of Crete. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing; the views are simply stunning. This is a quieter beach due to its remote location.

There are also plenty of beach umbrellas and sun loungers for visitors to use. You can also find showers and WC here. In addition, there are several bars and tavernas nearby, so you can easily get a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. If you order a drink, you might even get a sunbed for free!

The Souda beach can get windy, so check the weather forecast before coming here!

If you’re looking for a relaxing day by the sea, Souda Beach is the perfect place for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which part of Crete has the best beaches?

When it comes to beaches, there’s no shortage of options on the beautiful island of Crete. From the secluded coves of Elafonisi to the dramatic cliffs of Balos, there’s something for everyone. However, if you’re looking for the best beaches on the island, you’ll want to head to the west coast. This is where you’ll find some of the most stunning stretches of sand, with crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. The beaches here are also well-equipped with everything you need for a perfect day by the sea, including sun loungers, umbrellas, and beach bars.

Is it safe to swim in Crete?

If you’re planning a trip to Crete, you may be wondering about the safety of swimming in the local waters. After all, with its rocky coastline and strong currents, the Mediterranean Sea can be treacherous. However, there’s no need to worry—with a little caution, swimming in Crete is perfectly safe. The best way to stay safe is to swim at one of the island’s many crest-mooned beaches with lifeguards. If you do venture out into open water, make sure to wear a life jacket and stay close to shore. And of course, always heed the warnings of the lifeguards on duty. With a little common sense, you’ll be able to enjoy Crete’s beautiful beaches without any worries.

Is the sea warm in Crete?

The water temperature here in July averages a perfect 25 degrees Celsius, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and doing other water sports. What’s more, the Mediterranean Sea is relatively calm, so you can enjoy all your favorite water activities without having to worry about big waves.

Are there dolphins in Crete?

There’s no doubt that dolphins are some of the most lovable creatures in the animal kingdom. But what about dolphins in Crete? You can see the Common Bottlenose Dolphin near the coast of Crete. They are known to form groups of up to 100 individuals.

Are there sharks in Crete waters?

There are sharks in the Mediterranean sea, but they don’t approach the shores of Crete. There have been no shark attacks in Crete.

Are there poisonous fish in Crete?

Lionfish are found in the sea around Crete but it’s unlikely that you can get stung by them. They are more afraid of you than you are afraid of them, so they will swim away and hide.

What is the best month to go to Crete?

There’s no bad time to visit Crete, but the best time to go is in May. The weather is perfect at that time of year – not too hot, and with just a hint of a breeze to keep things comfortable. The island is also relatively quiet in May, so you’ll be able to enjoy all of its attractions without having to fight the crowds. And if you’re looking for a bargain, May is the month to find it, as hotel prices are lower than they are during the peak summer season.

Are 5 days in Crete enough?

5 days is barely enough time to get a taste of what Crete has to offer. You can find breathtaking beaches, traditional towns, ancient ruins, and stunning hikes in Crete, and if you have only 5 days, you will manage only to see half of the highlights.

Is Crete worth visiting without a car?

While having a car can certainly be convenient, it’s not necessary to enjoy all that Crete has to offer. Many hotels and resorts offer paid tours to the most popular attractions. So whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins or relax on a sandy beach, you can do it without renting a car. Just be prepared to pay a bit more and plan ahead as the tours often are sold out.

Conclusion

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream beach vacation to Crete today! You won’t be disappointed with its stunning coastline, picturesque villages, and delicious food. And if you need help finding the perfect beach for your needs, be sure to check out our ultimate guide. We’ve got you covered, from family-friendly beaches to secluded spots ideal for couples.


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