Crete is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world thanks to its unique beaches and colorful sea. There are up to 100 of them and each one is as beautiful as the next. Discover here a selection of the most beautiful of them for your next vacation.
Rent a boat and visit the beaches of Crete!
Sometimes it is very crowded on the beaches you will discover below.
For those who would like to live a more personal experience, why not rent a boat for a day or more, with or without a skipper, to discover the incredible Crete from the sea?
Dream day on the azure blue sea of Crete with friends or family, aperitif, diving, snorkeling… Discover the beaches of Crete by motorboat, sailboat or catamaran with our partner Click&Boat.
1. Seitan Limania
Most beautiful beach in Greece?
Seitan Limania is one of those places shaped by time and magic that would make even a bad photographer great. Difficult indeed, or even impossible to take a picture that does not make all its beauty to this beach of Crete.
Beach or creek, you make your own opinion.
Very famous place of the social networks now and even of some stars or influencers (like the American model Emily Ratajkowski), the other side of the coin, you can imagine: Seitan Limania is a rather crowded place all year long. Especially in the high season, when sea bathing is sometimes “sticky-tight”.
How to get to Seitan Limania beach?
For those who live not far from Chania, you can choose to go to this dreamy cove by boat as part of an organized excursion:
It is only recently that a road has been built to Seitan Limania. Watch out for cows and goats on the way!
Not far from Chania (30 min by car or bus), the cove is in the northwest of the island of Crete.
Where to sleep around Seitan Limania?
The incredible Cretan cove remains a rather wild place and especially, preserved from hotels and other complexes. It will be necessary to stay in Chania or a little further away so as not to be too far from Seitan Limani. Book your stay in Crete with this map :
2. Glyka Nera beach
An incredible creek
Still called freshwater beach, Glyka Nera beach is located on the southern coast of Crete.
It is crossed by fresh water springs and is surrounded by steep cliffs, bays and a chapel.
For a sea with unreal tints.
How to get to the beach of Glyka Nera?
You can get there by foot and by boat.
There are also organized excursions if you wish:
If you are in Loutro (which is 33 minutes and 15 kilometers away) or in Chora Sfakion (which is 14 minutes and 8.5 kilometers away), the ferry shuttles will take you there easily.
Where to stay near Glyka Nera
To sleep not far from this incredible beach, you will have to aim for the village of Loutro and its surroundings. An absolutely fabulous part of Crete, very typical. To book your stay on the spot, find your establishment on this map:
3. Elafonisi Beach
It is a tropical and paradisiacal beach which owes all its beauty to its fine sand with pink reflection and its limpid waters of which one can clearly see the bottom.
It takes its name from the island on which it is found.
The beach of Elafonisi is located in the west of Crete and faces the village of Elafonisos.
It is very large and you can find many stores, taverns and other luxury hotels in Crete all around. So you can easily rent deckchairs and find a place to quench your thirst.
How to get to the beach of Elafonisi?
There are many organized excursions to the land paradise of Elafonisi Beach, as below:
To go swimming in Elafonisi, several day trips leave from the main cities of Crete:
To admire the multicolored sea of Elafonisi, you can go there by bus or by car. This beach in Crete is 2 hours and 75 kilometers from Chania.
You can also get there by boat, from Palaiochora.
Where to sleep near Elafonisi?
Like the other beaches we have seen above, Elafonisi is just as exceptional and just as wild and remote. It is also part of a protected area and therefore, spared from hotel complexes. To sleep near the lagoon of Elafonisi, you will have to move away a little. Book your stay on the map below:
4. Balos Beach
The beach of Balos is distinguished by its shallow azure green waters and white sand.
It is located on the northwest coast of Crete, just 1 km from the island of Gramvoussa and offers a very wild environment with a panoramic view of the landscape.
It is one of the protected beaches of the island. There are over 400 types of marine plants and an infinite number of bird species. It is shaped like a lagoon and right next to it is a Venetian dating from the 16th century. It is perfect for nature lovers.
How to get to the beach of Balos?
Again, being one of the main tourist attractions of the island of the Gods, many organized excursions allow you to go more easily to the lagoon of Balos :
To get to Balos Beach, note that several excursions leave from the main cities of Crete:
First of all, you can choose to go there by boat from Kissamos. Or by car to Gramvoussa, through rather difficult roads, but not impossible. Do not hesitate to rent a 4×4.
Where to stay near Balos Beach?
To enjoy Balos Beach once or more, but also all the wonders of the west coast of the island of Crete (Gramvoussa or Elafonisi for example), we advise you to take a hotel in the resort of Kissamos or nearby, thanks to this map!
5. Vai Beach
It is a beach that you must visit.
It is located in the northeast of Crete and is surrounded by a multitude of palm trees under which one finds a very fine white sand.
Its waters are blue and clear. You can climb the mountains that are right next to it to get a great view of the sea.
How to get to Vai beach?
To find the beautiful palm trees of Vai Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete, and its clear waters, you can :
- come by car from the seaside resort of Sitia: 29 min and 23 km only
- come by bus for only 2 to 4€ : a bus leaves twice a day from Sitia to Vai Beach, for a 40 min trip
- come by car from Kouremenos at 9 min and 6,8 km distance
Or choose to go there as part of an organized tour, as below from Agios Nikolaos :
Where to sleep near Vai Beach?
To enjoy the beach on a regular basis, we advise you to find a hotel either in Sitia or in Kouremenos, by consulting the map below:
6. Matala Beach
At one time it was one of the most famous beaches in Crete because of its cliffs full of caves.
It was the refuge of hippies for many years.
It is located right next to the palace of Phaistos in the center of the South Coast of Crete. In addition to the beauty of the sea, its blue waters and fine sands dotted with small pebbles, this beach offers one of the best sunsets on the island. Because of its high waves, a lifeguard is on duty to ensure safety.
How to get to Matala beach?
In organized tours first:
To go to Matala and experience a memorable day, visit these different excursions:
Very easy to reach, the beach is only a few minutes away from the main road of Matala. You can do it by car, or by bus from Heraklion (1h20).
Where to sleep in Matala?
Unlike many of the beaches of Crete mentioned above, it is quite possible to sleep in Matala and its surroundings. A really nice village to live in. Find your accommodation on the map below:
7. Preveli Beach
The beach of Preveli is one of the most popular and beautiful beaches of the island of Crete. The beach is located in the area of Preveli, in the region of Rethymno, about 30 km south of Rethymno. The beach of Preveli is a long sandy beach that is bordered on both sides by the rivers Megalopotamos and Kourtaliotiko. The beach is known for its incredible palm forest and clear waters. Preveli beach is popular for sunbathing, swimming and relaxing.
It is one of the few beaches on the island that is protected from the wind, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the sun. It is surrounded by palm trees, rocky cliffs and other natural beauties that give it an exotic charm. Preveli is also famous for its river, which flows into the sea through the rocks. It’s a great place to take a boat ride or swim in the clear waters.
How to get there?
To get there, you can of course rent a car. On site, to access the beach easily, pass a small tavern “Preveli Hotel Restaurant” (address Αμμούδι 740 60, Greece), then on a paved road and over a stone bridge. Then you arrive at a large free parking lot with access to the beach of Preveli by some stone stairs (10 min max). This will save you the 450 steps of the paid parking lot.
You can also go through an organized tour:
8. Voulisma Beach
Beach and coves
Voulisma, located only 12km from Agios Nikolaos, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. It often appears on many postcards of Crete.
Voulisma or Golden Beach is an incredible white sand beach with totally transparent and turquoise waters. The beach is very well organized, although we would like it to be more isolated.
If you want to get away from the crowds, you can move to the smaller beach in the western part of the bay, which is very well protected from the wind and less organized.
Here and there, you will also find beautiful coves. A heavenly place, not to be visited after a rainy episode though…
How to get to Voulisma?
To get to Voulisma Beach, head first to the villa of Istron. The beach is only 500m away. You will see, the landscapes are made of olive trees, one would sometimes think of Provence.
You can also get there by bus from Agios Nikolaos: it takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
A path will then take you to the golden beach via the mountains and stairs.
Where to stay near Voulisma?
To enjoy Voulisma Beach but also the many beautiful destinations in the east of Crete, we advise you to stay in Agios Nikolaos :
9. Falassarna Beach
The waves of Falassarna
The beach of Falassarna is one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete. It has large stretches of sand, small coves with pebbles, whitish sand reflecting the turquoise waters, and small sand dunes. This beach is particularly popular.
It also offers a wonderful walk through the olive groves to reach the ruins, which are an ideal place for sunsets. It is also subject to the Mediterranean winds, which can make it offer very nice waves to tourists, kitesurfers and other windsurfers, just like the beaches located in the west and north of the island.
Because of the diversity of its flora, it is part of Natura 2000.
How to get to Falassarna
You can choose to visit the beach and Balos in the same day as part of an organized tour:
Falassarna can also be reached by car, which is a convenient and economical option. The journey is very easy. If you come from Chania, take the national road Chania-Kastelli. Continue to Platanos, then pass by Kissamos-Kastelli. Follow the signs to Falassarna. Continue down the hill until you reach the waterfront.
Where to stay near Falassarna?
The area being classified as “Nature 2000”, you will find very few hotels in the area. However, some of them allow you to get closer to the place and enjoy it for a few days:
10. Chrissi Island
A wild and paradisiacal island
Chrissi, which means “golden”, refers to the beautiful sandy beaches of this islet. This small uninhabited island, of low altitude, measures 7 km by 2 km. Its highest point is only 30 meters. There are many beaches on the rocky island, which is accessible by boat from spring to fall.
This protected nature reserve is located off the southern coast of Crete. It has beautiful beaches, shallow waters suitable for snorkeling and sections of an ancient cedar forest.
The whole island is a beach paradise.
How to get to Chrissi Island?
You can of course choose to rent a boat for an incredible day !
Or choose to go on an organized tour:
Impossible to lodge on the spot on the other hand!
Crete beach: our other favorites!
The beaches in Crete are obviously legion.
The island is also one of the most popular places in Europe for its beaches. A must. And since it is very difficult to mention the most beautiful beaches of Crete without mentioning other extraordinary places, go and discover :
- Red beach,
- the beach of Kedrodasos,
- the beach of Gramvoussa…