Georgioupolis Crete is a village on the north coast of the island with a very long beach. Indeed, locals claim that it is the longest of all Crete beaches, 10 km (6 miles) in length.
As with many other resorts in Greece, Georgioupolis (also spelt Georgioupoli, pronounced ‘Yore-yee-OO-polee’) started out as a fishing village, becoming a beach resort from the 1960s onwards.
Georgioupolis is an ideal base for Crete holidays, with the west and south coasts also accessible from there, as well as some of the ancient Crete villages inland. It’s also home to one of the most iconic sights in Crete, a gorgeous white chapel built on a causeway out to sea.
So, everything you ever needed to know about Georgioupolis, Greece follows right here.
WHERE IS GEORGIOUPOLIS?
Georgioupolis is located within Chania province, 38 km (24 miles) from Chania city. Rethymno is 21 km (13 miles) to the east.
The village of Georgioupolis is located at the western end of the long beach. Other sections to the east include Peristrates and Kavros.
GETTING TO GEORGIOUPOLIS
There are two international airports in Crete – at Chania and the capital Heraklion. Chania is closer, around a 45-minute drive away, while Heraklion is two hours away.
Once you’ve arrived on Crete, getting to Georgioupolis is straightforward. It’s located next to the main coastal highway, so there’s no difficulty finding your way if you ‘re driving.
If you’re travelling by bus, hourly services call at Georgioupolis, Peristrates and Kavros. All are on the main Heraklion – Rethymno – Chania route. If you’re relying on buses, you’ve got one change to make, either way.
There is a small ticket booth on the village side of the road.
HISTORY OF GEORGIOUPOLIS
Georgioupolis came into being during the 19th century, starting out as a small fishing village at the mouth of the Armyros river. It was originally known as Armyropoulis, but its name was changed in honour of a Greek prince.
WHAT IS GEORGIOUPOLIS LIKE?
Georgioupolis is a very touristy village. If you’re looking for accommodation in Crete near the beach and mountains, it’s a great place to check out.
It’s a fairly quiet village, with a good selection of Georgioupolis restaurants and cafes to choose from. There are also plenty of shops selling Greek souvenirs, from olives and Cretan honey to beautiful ceramic plates. There are also other amenities including a supermarket and a pharmacy on the village square.
If you’re planning to explore several places around Crete Georgioupolis makes a very good base – especially if you’re hiring a car. It’s centrally located for many of the best attractions in Crete. It’s also well placed for day trips to Chania or Rethymno.
The beach at Georgioupolis is what is called an ‘organised’ beach. Much of the Georgioupolis end of this long beach is taken up with beach umbrellas and sunbeds. Typically, a two-bed and umbrella set costs around 8-10 euros for the day. You can then have food and drink brought to you as you relax in the sun.
The further you move from the village, the more spacious the beach gets. Cross the river over the wonky (but safe) bridge and you reach a lot more wide-open sand. There are still some beach bars, like the Blue Boat and Mike’s Oasis, which have the full bed, umbrella, drinks and food package on offer. I preferred this area simply because there’s a lot more room to roam.
You can also hire jetskis or snorkelling equipment – there’s a stall on the beach near the bridge.
AGIOS NIKOLAOS CHAPEL
One of the most popular things to do in Georgioupolis is walking out to the strikingly picturesque white chapel on a rocky causeway near the end of the beach. I’m surprised it’s not one of the most Instagrammable places in Greece. It’s such an iconic spot – the simple whitewashed chapel, the deep blue sky above, the clear azure water below.
There was a steady stream of visitors when I went to see it. The sea was very calm when I visited, and even then some waves were lapping over the causeway. In rougher conditions, the rocks would become very slippery.
You also get a good view of the chapel from the estuary breakwater.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN GEORGIOUPOLIS
As mentioned, Georgioupolis is a good base with many parts of Crete within reach.
Apart from Chania and Rethymno, you can also explore the fantastic coastline on a cruise from the harbour.
Georgioupolis is also close to Kournas Lake, the only freshwater lake in Crete. We didn’t get there on our recent trip to Crete, but it’s one of the most popular Crete destinations, with amazing clear water and mountain backdrop. A tourist train runs from the Corissia Park and Georgioupolis seafront, also calling at Argyroupoli, which is known for its beautiful waterfalls.
Where better to start than the beach? Georgioupolis Beach Hotel is a 4-star hotel right on the seafront. Rooms at the front have views of the beach and the gorgeous Agios Nikolaos chapel.
Also along the beach, the main Georgioupolis resort is the complex of Corissia hotels. There are three Corissia hotels and a park within short walking distance of each other – the 4-star Corissia Princess and Corissia Harmony, with the 3-star Corissia Beach very close by.
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.