Beaches are everywhere in Crete and everybody has their own favourite, or a bunch of favourites which they will visit according to the time of year, wind direction or just mood. The following is a list of popular favourites and we will be pleased to advise you on your choices.
Chania city beaches
Chania city has two beaches: Nea Chora and Koum Kapi. The area of Koum Kapi has become a little run down and its beach is best seen as a convenience for a dip rather than a place to spend time. Nea Chora beach, described elsewhere in our site, is clean, sandy and well served by restaurants, cafes and convenience shops. Umbrellas and loungers are available to hire. A further sandy beach, Khrissi Akti, is another 10-15 minutes’ walk along the coast.
Marathi and Loutraki
These two beaches are a short drive, some twenty minutes, from Chania on the Akrotiri Peninsula. Loutraki is slightly closer to Chania and worth a visit first – it is tiny and can get crowded – for its crystal clear water. When no space is available it is a short drive on to Marathi which is longer and is served by two tavernas. Both are excellent when not too crowded.
Another small and beautiful beach on the Akrotiri peninsula, famous as the place where much of Zorba the Greek was filmed. A bonus – Stavros is well sheltered and calm when the wind is blowing everywhere else. Once again, crowds from Chania tend to descend, particularly on summer weekends.
If you drive West from Chania you reach Falassarna where land stops and sea starts. Sandy, clean and long enough to find a quiet spot of your own – can get very windy.
Beautiful and romantic, Balos beach and Gramvoussa Island – an idyllic lagoon and an island with a history of piracy. They are on the Gramvoussa Peninsula at the North West tip of Crete and are reachable by car and pathway or by boat from Kissamo.
Certainly a candidate for Europe’s Most Beautiful Beach, Elafonissi is reminiscent of South Sea Islands. Pinks and blues and turquoise and crystal clear waters. It is located near the south west tip of Crete and is reached by what some would consider a challenging drive along mountain roads.
The beach has the distinction of being next to a Venetian castle said to be haunted by its former defendants. Sandy and well served by tavernas, sunbeds, umbrellas, etc.
Like Falassarna, Sougia beach on the south coast is long and clean but is rarely windy. An idyllic spot to find some privacy and soak in the sun
A favourite area for locals, Paleochora has a number of beaches, all with crystal clear water, some with sand and others with pebbles, some deep and others shallow – basically, something for all tastes. Paleochora also benefits from plenty of cafes and tavernas serving local produce. Paleochora even regularly hosts a world famous chess championship.
Preveli beach on the south coast is quite unique. It is at the base of the Kourtaliotis Gorge and the mouth of the Preveli River. The river forms a small lagoon before entering the sea allowing the bather to alternate between sweet and salt water. As a bonus, Preveli also has its own forest of palm trees. A boat from Plakias makes a daily run to Preveli beach – otherwise there is a demanding hike down (and up, of course) from Preveli Monastery.