BEST BEACHES IN CRETE

 

In seeking out the best beaches in Crete, we’ve been overwhelmingly spoiled for choice. Many people decide where to spend their holidays based on the Crete beaches close to their hotels. We booked some of our Crete holidays with the same thing in mind, wanting to discover the very best of Crete Greece during our time there.

Its amazing beaches are up there with the best things to do in Crete. Crete’s inland mountain scenery is staggering, but much of its coast takes the breath away.

We visited a huge variety of beaches in Crete, from some of the popular Crete beach resorts on the north coast of the island to some of the most remote places in Crete. Our guide shows you many of the best places to visit in Crete, so if you’re wondering where to go in Crete, read on.

 

WHERE ARE THE BEST BEACHES IN CRETE?

 

Here are our top 10 best beaches in Crete – in no particular order:

 

Balos

Agios Pavlos

Elafonissi

Kedrodasos

Gramvousa

Falassarna

Stavros

Gialiskari

Kalypso

Geropotamos

 

We’ll reveal what we think the best Crete beach is at the end of the article.

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST BEACHES IN CRETE FOR FAMILIES?

 Elafonissi

Balos – the south (lagoon) side with the shallow water

Falassarna – the section north of Agia Paraskevi church is by far the best, with two natural sheltered rock pools

 

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST BEACHES IN CRETE NEAR CHANIA?

 Stavros

Seitan Limania

WHAT ARE THE BEST SANDY BEACHES IN CRETE?

Kedrodasos

Falassarna

WHAT ARE THE BEST BEACHES IN CRETE FOR SNORKELING?

 

Kalypso Beach

Karavostasi Beach, Bali

Spilies Beach

CRETE WEATHER

 

The weather in Crete is perfect for spending time on the beach from April through to October, even November.

Crete in April can be wonderful, with temperatures already touching the mid 20s Centigrade (mid 70s Fahrenheit). It doesn’t tend to touch 30°C until June. However, don’t expect the sea to be warm enough to swim in until late May, possibly early June. The Mediterranean takes a few months to warm up after the winter.

The Greece summer season is relatively short because of this. July and August are the peak months, and this is when many – especially those with families – go on their Crete Greece holidays. September is still hot, and the Crete temperature starts to fall back towards the mid 20s Centigrade in early to mid-October. The sea is usually warm enough to swim in until late October, sometimes even into November.

 

 

BALOS BEACH

 

Balos Beach Crete has featured in many a best beaches list – Crete, Greece, the Mediterranean, Europe, the world. It’s one of the top Crete travel destinations, a beach you can visit on a tour from just about every travel agency between there and Heraklion. It features on just about every what to do in Crete list.

 As we say in our Balos beach guide, it is definitely worth the hype. The beach is part of a lagoon in the north-west corner of Crete, between the island mainland and Cape Tigani, a mountain that looks like, but isn’t, an island. The shallow lagoon water is to the south of the sand, and the sea side of the beach is to the north. As with some of the other most popular beaches in Crete, it gets packed in the summer months, and is a much more enjoyable experience in the warm autumn months. Even if you’ve come by boat, climb the hill towards the car park for the astounding view. One of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

 Getting there: by boat from Kissamos, or by dirt road from there. The ferry service is operated by Cretan Daily Cruises, and runs may to the end of October.

 Facilities: a couple of snack bars, a WC and a limited supply of sun beds and umbrellas. The ferry rents out umbrellas for 4 euros plus a 5 euro deposit.

 

GRAMVOUSA BEACH

 

Gramvousa could lay claim to being one of the best beaches in Greece, never mind Crete. What a place. It’s on the remote island of Imeri Gramvousa, off the coast of north west Crete but on the ferry route from Kissamos to nearby Balos beach.

 

The ferry schedule usually allows you up to two hours on Gramvousa Island. Some opt for the hike up to Gramvousa Castle, a Venetian fortress with outstanding views over the beach and back to Crete. The other option is a dip in the brilliant turquoise water of Gramvousa beach. It’s one of the most idyllic locations we’ve ever visited. Getting to Balos beach Crete involves a fair bit of effort and it’s worth it. So is Gramvousa beach.

 

Getting there: on the Kissamos to Balos ferry

Facilities: WC

KEDRODASOS BEACH

 

Kedrodasos is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, without a doubt. It’s only a 2 km hike from Elafonissi but what a contrast. Its name means ‘cedar grove’ but the trees that populate this series of coves and dunes are junipers. The walk from Elafonissi  involves a fair bit of rock-hopping and scrambling – it’s on a section of the E4 long distance hiking trail across Crete.

 Spending time at Kedrodasos was one of the highlights of our holidays in Crete. It’s a blissfully beautiful place, with some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen. Even in summer you won’t find many others around. The seclusion of Kedrodasos makes it popular – meaning you might just find ten people there – with naturists. The busy Crete resorts have their charms – but Kedrodasos is something else.  One of the best places to visit in Crete.

 Getting there: You can get to within ten minutes of the beach by car, after which you have to walk. Otherwise you need to walk on the E4 trail, either from Elafonissi or Krios beach, to the east.

 Facilities: None

 

ELAFONISSI BEACH 

Elafonissi is the pink beach Crete is famous for. It’s a stunning sight, one of the best places in Crete to visit. Most of the sand is not actually pink – the fringe along the shoreline is, like a frosting of candy floss. It’s a remarkable sight, best experienced late in the season (towards the end of October) when the crowds have left.

Elafonissi (also spelt Elafonisi) is one of the most popular Greece beaches, so in summer it is crammed with visitors. It’s in a remote location in the corner of south west Crete. It actually consists of several beaches – the main sea-facing beach, the adjoining lagoon beach, and more beaches along Elafonissi Island, to which you can often paddle on foot.

Getting there: many opt to visit on tours to Elafonissi, often from Chania or Rethymno. A

ferry also runs from Paleochora during the season.

Facilities: Umbrellas, sun beds, beach bars, snack bars, WC

FALASSARNA BEACH

Falassarna Beach Crete is a magical place. It’s on the west coast of Crete, around 12 km (8 miles) as the crow flies down from Balos Beach. Also spelt Falasarna, this beach has an awe-inspiring feel, with dramatic high mountains at either end. It has a real end of the world feel that reminded me of amazing beaches like Rhossili and Llanddwyn Island in my home country, Wales.

 At Falassarna you get five beaches in one. They stretch over 3 km (2 miles) end to end, and vary greatly. The glorious main beach is one of the best sandy beaches in Greece, with some of the clearest water for swimming we’ve ever seen. There are also sections to the north with natural rock pools where our son was swimming every day. Throw in some dunes and rocks to explore back from the shore and you have something for everyone. As a family we loved Falassarna – so much that a three-night stay turned into two weeks.

 Getting there: Good surfaced roads run from Kissamos, 20 km away. Buses also run several times a day until mid-October from Chania and Kissamos.

 Facilities: Several tavernas, some sections with sun beds and umbrellas. Watersports hire on the main beach.

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