Bali Crete is a great spot for holidays in Greece. It’s a small fishing village that has grown into one of the most picturesque Crete resorts, with five beaches clustered around a gorgeous gulf on the north Crete coast.
The Bali Crete beaches are all very easy to reach. Bali Greece village is just off the main road across the island. Once you’re there, a 2-mile (3 km) walk will take you to all five Bali beaches, with a couple of steep hills along the way.
Much of the appeal of the Bali beaches Crete is that they’re sheltered from the gusty northerly meltemi wind, which means you can swim on days when conditions are too rough on other beaches.
It’s an ideal place for Crete holidays, whether you want to stick to Bali village or explore other places nearby. Which Bali beach in Crete is best?
WHERE IS BALI IN CRETE?
Bali is located on the main Heraklion – Rethymno – Chania highway that runs along the north coast of the island. It’s 30 km east of Rethymno and 45 km west of Heraklion. It’s in one of the best areas in Crete for exploring the island, with beautiful beaches like Spilies and Geropotamos less than ten minutes away by car. It’s also a short drive from Arkadi Monastery, one of the most important historic sites in Crete.
GETTING TO BALI CRETE
This is very easy – it’s off the main highway, so you can drive there or catch the regular buses that run between the Crete capital Heraklion and Rethymno and Chania.
DESCRIBE BALI CRETE
Bali has been taken over by tourism, no question about it. In peak season every Bali beach Crete is packed with umbrellas and sunbeds. That said, it’s still a relatively quiet place perfect for holidays in Crete. Most Bali Crete hotels are in the mid-range bracket – 2- and 3-star hotels and apartments are what’s on offer here. Most visitors tend to be European. It’s an ideal place for family holidays in Crete, especially because of the sheltered beaches.
Expect some excellent Crete holiday deals, especially towards the end of the October shoulder season. At this time the sea is usually warm enough to swim in, and it’s not nearly as crowded as in August.
LIVADI BEACH BALI
Livadi beach is the first beach you reach off the main highway. It’s the longest Crete Bali beach, a few hundred metres long, but it’s pretty narrow, with very little sand between the umbrellas and sunbeds and the waves lapping the shore. There are plenty of beach bars to choose from.
Livadi beach also faces due north, so is the most exposed beach in Bali. When the water is calm and flat in the coves further up the village, the waves are often piling in here.
It’s a pleasant enough spot to linger for a drink or meal, but if your soul yearns for some space on the sand, it’s not ideal.
VARKOTOPOS BEACH BALI
The next Bali beach you reach is Varkotopos beach. It’s a small beach, 100 metres or so long, in a sheltered cove at the base of a very steep hill. The main road through the village is directly behind the beach, and there are cafes and restaurants along here. Varkotopos is more pleasant than Livadi because it’s much more sheltered. However, it’s also very busy in peak season.
Mythos beach is the secret beach of Bali. A small sign – ‘Zum Strand’, German for ‘To the Beach’, directs you to Mythos Apartments. Head down the stairs from there – you emerge outside after a couple of short flights of steps.
Once you’re outside, follow the next set of steps down to the beach. It’s very small and narrow – a lovely spot as long as you don’t mind a relative lack of space while you soak up the sun. Perhaps not so secret after all!
LIMANI BEACH (ALSO KNOWN AS HARBOUR BEACH)
This is the town or harbour beach – when guidebooks refer to Bali Beach Crete, this is the one they mean. It has a lovely setting, with the houses of the surrounding steep streets looking down onto it.
There are steps down to the beach from the harbour, or you could paddle around the base of the cliff at Mythos beach (to the immediate right). The views to the mountains are magnificent, and the water is nearly always very calm. Space is at a premium once again, but somewhere like this would make many people think about holidays in Bali Crete.
KARAVOSTASI BEACH BALI
We’ve saved the best until last. Karavostasi is the northernmost of the Bali beaches, a short walk from the harbour and down a track to a sublime place.
Again, Karavostasi beach is calm and sheltered, with sometimes fierce waves pounding the other side of the headland to the north. Its location is the most dramatic, tucked away between cliffs either side, with stunning azure water to swim in. Another tiny beach is also hidden away behind the headland to the south.
Karavostasi beach is quite small and intimate. As well as the usual range of sunbeds and umbrellas, it’s also the ideal environment for snorkelling. A few cafes and tavernas provide meals and drinks, some sheltered in the shade of the trees just behind the beach. An exquisite place, worthy of a place in our list of the best beaches in Crete.
David Angel is a British writer and photographer who has been travelling and photographing the world for over 25 years. His work is regularly featured in worldwide media including the BBC, the Guardian, the Times and the Sunday Times.