Crete is the largest island in Greece, well known for its beachy destinations all over the world. With soft, golden sands and crystal clear waters it’s an ideal place to spend the hot summer months. This island actually has a mix of pebble beaches and sandy beaches, so make sure you bring both sandals and shoes to get the best of both worlds.
The north side is busier, while the south side is more low key. No matter what your taste is, go through our list to find the best beach for you in Crete!
Best Beaches in Crete
- Elafonissi Beach Located in a remote part of southwest Crete, this beach still attracts droves of crowd due to its natural beauty with the pastel pink sand and aquamarine waters. The pink beach is created by years of thousands of shells washing up on the shoreline and tinging the white sands into a pinkish hue. Lots of sunbeds and umbrellas are ready to welcome you, but come here during low season if you don’t want to fight for your spot. The calm waters is just the right height for family holiday.
- Balos Beach This beach is on the northwestern peninsula of Crete, and can only be reached by boat from the Kissamos port or by a 25-minute walk from the parking spots. But the limited access have never discouraged the crowds that come in frequent boats arriving frm off shore. Balos is known for the postcard perfect array of greens and blues thanks to the patches of grass near the beach. It’s also well known for being visited by Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana via their private yacht. It’s the perfect beach to lounge, sunbathe, and swim – thanks to the shallow lagoons and calm waters.
- Falassarna Beach Located about an hour away from Chania, this beach is not that difficult to reach – there’s a decent road that leads to it. It offers the same beauty and charm as Elafonisi and Balos, without the hassle and the crowd. Don’t forget to stop over at the ruins of ancient Minoan harbour just a few kilometers of the beach on your way over. There are five beaches to choose from at this area, so you’ll never feel too crowded in this spot. You can even rent some chairs and umbrellas to get comfortable here. The catch is the prevailing wind from the west and onshore make the waves a bit large – so you need to be more mindful when swimming here.
- Preveli Beach Located in a secluded area, Preveli is located between two steep hills so this beach is only accessible via boat from Plakias or a short walk from the steep descent down a stone road. At the back of the beach, you can enjoy the palm trees. We’d like to warn you that this beach is pretty undeveloped, so you won’t find any chairs or umbrella for
rent and come prepared with your own amenities. The water is clear blue, but the shore is made of small pebbles; so you need to have proper shoes coming here.
- Kommos Beach Located in the southern Crete, Kommos surrounds the Messara Bay in a beautiful wide arc backed by sand dunes and patches of grassy green hills. To get here, you must walk a steep, winding road leading to choppy blue waters and pearl white sands. The wind is a little rough here, so the waves are bigger than other beaches in Crete. That’s why it’s not really suitable for kids. Go to the southern end to lounge on sunbeds and umbrellas, then order a sunset drink from the tavernas. You can also enjoy the view of ancient Minoan settlement ruins from your sunbed.
- Matala beach Located on the south coast of Crete, Matala is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It’s a popular stop over during daytrip from Heraklion; taking just about an hour from the city. If you want to enjoy some seafood restaurants, come over to the left side of the bay that’s perched on the higher ground with breathtaking views. The beach is long and wide made up from small pebbles and soft sand. The waves are calm and friendly, protected by the bay. It’s also the perfect spot for snorkeling and watching colourful fish going around the bay. There’s also the famous caves at one end of the shore – which you can visit for a small fee.
- Voulisma Beach Located on the north coast of the island, Voulisma is one of the best beaches on Mirabello Bay. There’s a long curving stretch sand with cliffs right behind. Another plus point is it’s easily accessible by the gravelly road. This beach gives you beautiful blond dans and clear, calm waters. The bay protects it, so it’s perfect fo swimming even for beginners. It’s underdeveloped, so you won’t find too many options on food and drinks, but there is one restaurant above the beach that provides service for visitors. Voulisma also has a number of water sport activities, with jet skis and inflatables available for rent.
- Vai Beach Getting here has been proven to be quiet difficult, as it’s located at the very easternmost part of Crete. Some even say that driving there feels like you’re going to the end of the world. But once you get there, you’ll be welcomed with one of Europe’s largst palm groves – which is what Vai means, palm. It is said that the grove has around 5000 palm trees, providing beautiful sceneries around the beach. There’s clear soft waters, soft sand and endless views of the sea for you to enjoy. It’s underdeveloped and not crowded at all, so the sand is clean and the water is bright turquoise, it’s almost blinding. Sit out
near the waterline if you want to get a tan, or sit a bit to the back near the palm trees if you want some shades.
9. Plakias Beach
This long, wide crescent beach is located along the south coast and faces south towards Africa – which means it has long days of sunshine. There are chair and umbrellas you can rent here, and restaurants and shops to visit. If you’re after some peace and tranquility, head to the eastern end that offers few bars and softer sands. The waves tend to be quiet small thanks to the bay protecting it, so you can swim all day if you want. If you’re after another beach, there’s also Agia Galini located just about 35 minutes from Matala along this coastline before reaching Plakias. Agia Galini is less busy and definitely worth a visit.