Crete is an incredible island, and its beaches are mostly equipped to satisfy every needs; you can however still find many small free beaches, especially those which are difficult to reach and less touristy. For those who love rocks, then, there will be even fewer problems to find a quiet corner, as the cliffs overlooking the sea are numerous and accessible only by those who can venture on climbing the rocks.
Crete is an island that attracts many tourists who can find everything you would expect from a beach holiday: sun, crystal clear sea, culture and so much good food. The most important cities are located on the northern coast, such as Chania and Heraklion, which are easily accessible by ferry. These two towns are very picturesque and offer travelers and tourists who come to visit the very best of Greek culture. Even from a gastronomic point of view, Chania and Heraklion are the best and of course you will find many beautiful beaches in the surroiundings. The south coast, although certainly full of beautiful places to visit and amazing beaches, it is a bit wilder than the northen one. In any case, from north to south and from east to west, the sea is always beautiful, with clear and warm waters, and occasionaly colder traits. The water is very pleasant for swimming, diving or performing other water sports.
– The first beach we propose in this short list is certainly one of the most striking, although not easy to reach; it is called the BALOS lagoon. This charming place is located in the northern part of the coast, in the Gramvousa peninsula; the beach presents white sand and the water is low. If you’ll be taking over the rocks, the depth increases dramatically to the delight of snorkelers.
Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Olaf Taush
– Always on the northern coast, but this time only 10 minutes drive from Chania, there is the small town of STAVROS along Cape Akrotiri. It is a small bay with a protected side by a rocky ridge. Near the port is the main beach which is very well equipped; The smaller beach is very pretty. Both boast fine sand and they are sheltered from the wind. Nearby there are also several Orthodox monasteries to visit. A curiosity: it seems that here some scenes of the movie Zorba the Greek were shot!
– The ORTHI AMMOS beach is located about 80 km away from Chania, in the south of the island. It is a beach formed by sand dunes and the sea shows a beautiful emerald green colour, although sometimes it gets huge waves in the windiest days. This beach has an area reserved for nudists.
– A KASTELLI, which is a quite important town in the Gulf of Kissamos, 40 km west of Chania, there is a beach that has a beautiful stretch of sand and pebbles. It is a fairly quiet beach, suitable for families.
– In the area west of Heraklion, on the other hand, we find the PALEO KASTRO beach, about 15 km away from the town. It is a sandy beach, and it is equipped; its particularity comes from the castle (more precisely the ruins of a castle) located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach. It is not uncommon to see young people that plunge from the rocky ledges. The landscape is magical but very difficult to reach, since the access to this beach is not really the easiest one.
– Only 5 km from Heraklion city center there is the AMOUDARA beach, which is an organized beach, big enough for tourists and locals; there is still a part of the beach that remains free. It is very convenient for families. The beach has been awarded the blue flag.
Photo CC-BY-SA böhringer friedrich
– Again, close to Heraklion, about 20 km away from the town, there is the beach of Agia Pelagia, presenting pebbles and equipped for tourists. Bathing and swimming is very pleasant here because this area is protected from the ocean currents.
– On the east coast, in the Gulf of Massara, there is the MATALA beach. Here we find a beautiful stretch of sand, but also a cliff with prehistoric caves dug into the rock.
– Staying in Matala, only 800 meters from the main beach, there is a real natural gem: THE RED BEACH. Its name comes from the reddish color of the sand; the visual effect is stunning, especially at sunset. This beach is certainly not easy to reach on foot: you must follow a path and climb a little on the rocks, but the reward at the end is also very worthwhile! It is a beach mainly used by nudists, but not only and everyone is welcome.
– Always on the east coast there is a lagoon which offers a heavenly landscape: we are talking of an area called ELAFONISSI. The beach, partially equipped, has white sand, and the water is shallow. The lagoon is a protected area because here the sea turtles “caretta caretta” come and reproduce. Not far from the beach there is also a monastery, namely the Chrissoskalitissa Monastery.
On the coast, whether on the north or the south, including the cities and small fishing villages, the beaches are so numerous that it is impossible to mention them all. You will find also closeby many campsites and hotels available to accomodate you and your family.
Wheter you prefer the convenience of sandy beaches with sun beds and umbrellas or instead the peace and tranquillity of small hidden coves, or even an exciting adventure by climbing wild cliffs to see breathtaking sunset, the island of Crete is undoubtedly the right choice to spend a relaxing holiday in nature!