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Voulisma Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches in Greece

Voulisma Beach in Crete is many people’s idea of a perfect tropical beach – a long strip of golden sand and a bay full of pristine clear turquoise water.

We visited Voulisma beach as a family, and in this guide pass on several tips to make the most of this amazing beach. Following the wind forecast – as well as the weather – is key.

And if you follow our tips everything is set for you to enjoy an amazing day at one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see.

We also advise on getting there, places to stay nearby and places to visit around Voulisma, Agios Nikolaos and along the north coast of Crete. Enjoy!

Why Visit Voulisma Beach

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A summer day at Voulisma Beach
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One of the small coves at the western end of Voulisma
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Voulisma Beach and Mirabello Bay
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Faye and Our Little Man at Voulisma Beach

Voulisma Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete.

It’s a gorgeous corner of tropical paradise, with a strip of perfect golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise water.

Voulisma Beach is one of the best beaches in Crete for families, especially those with small kids, as the water is so shallow. This means accompanied toddlers can safely paddle some way out from the beach.  It’s also a great place for the little ones to learn to swim.

The main beach is stunning, but the side beaches are also magnificent, considerably quieter and more sheltered from the wind than Voulisma Beach.

What To See And Do At Voulisma Beach Crete

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Looking along the length of Voulisma Beach

The most obvious thing to do at Voulisma Beach is to get down onto those golden sands and get into that wonderful crystal-clear water.

If you visit on a calm day with little wind, you can float for hours in tropical bliss. The water is amazingly clear – comparable to some of the beaches we’ve visited in Western Australia, the highest praise we can give.

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Beach umbrellas at Voulisma

During the main season – June to September – there are sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach. You can pay for a standard €10 package – two beds and an umbrella.  There is also a VIP package for €20 which includes use of a lockable safe box on the table below the umbrella. So you don’t get your phone nicked. I haven’t seen this in many places in Greece.

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Faye reading the menu at the Golden Beach Bar in Voulisma
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The entrance to Golden Beach Bar

There are also sunbeds and umbrellas at the Macrame Beach Bar on the cliff overlooking Voulisma Bay. They also have a small pool and chillout music.

The Voulisma Golden Beach Bar is also at the top of the cliff, and they serve sandwiches, snacks and drinks. They also run the beds and brollies down on the beach.

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Looking east along Voulisma Beach
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And the view the other way

Voulisma Beach is the central beach on the bay, a 400-metre-long narrow strip of sand. In season it’s packed with beds and umbrellas. In comparison, it’s nearly empty outside the busy months.

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One of the fantastic rock formations at Voulisma Beach

There are beaches just along the bay on either side of Voulisma Beach. There are two small, similar beaches just to the west of the main beach which are just as enticing, with the added attraction of unusual rock formations.

One of these coves is only accessible by walking around the corner of the cliff from the other beach.

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One of the narrower parts of Voulisma Beach
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Another rock formation on the western side of Voulisma Beach

As you head in the opposite direction, the beach eventually becomes a bit narrower and rockier. There are far less sunbeds and umbrellas in this area, which is called Istron Beach or Istron Town Beach on maps.

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An inflatable alpaca at Voulisma

I visited this corner of the beach by myself while Faye and Our Little Man were swimming close to Voulisma Beach.  I loved the small snack bar just off the beach, where I treated myself to an ice-cold bottle of Alfa beer. If you find the main area of the beach too crowded, this may well be an option.

When To Visit Voulisma Beach

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Voulisma on a still, calm day
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Perfect conditions for swimming at Voulisma

You normally get endless sunshine in summer in Crete, and it’s similar much of the time in the spring and autumn shoulder seasons too.

But there’s another factor to consider when planning a visit to Voulisma Beach – the wind.

We regularly use the Windy app to check on wind speeds when visiting beaches in Crete. We chose a day with very low wind speeds, less than a metre per second. This meant we had a flat, calm sea, ideal for our nine-year-old son to have a swim, and perfect for kids much smaller than him.

We also read up on social media before travelling to Voulisma Beach. On windy days, people have reported rubbish – mainly plastic bottles – being washed up on the beach.  The beach is also narrow, so bigger waves mean less dry sand as well.

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One of the two smaller coves at Voulisma
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Looking back to Voulisma from Istron Beach

July and August are peak season in Crete, and Voulisma Beach can get packed at this time. If you’re visiting at this time of year, look to arrive early in the day (it’ll be quiet at 9.00 am) or late (5.00 pm onwards). Between midday and then it’s packed, and you’re unlikely to find an umbrella and sunbeds free on the beach.

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Istron Beach
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The Patriotis snack bar at Istron Beach

As we’ve found at places like Elafonissi Beach and Balos Beach, on the western side of Crete, the shoulder season is the best time to visit. We visited Elafonissi twice in the late October shoulder season, and both times there were only 300-400 people there – as opposed to 4000 or more in peak season. So June and October are the best times to visit Voulisma Beach. The seawater is warm enough to swim in during these months.

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An ice-cold bottle of Alfa beer at Voulisma Beach

If you’re visiting in April or May you won’t find any sunbeds and umbrellas around, and it’ll be too cold to swim in the sea. But you’ll have the place to yourself.

Where Is Voulisma Beach

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Voulisma Beach

Voulisma Beach is in eastern Crete, 12 km (8 miles) south-east of Agios Nikolaos, the main city on the region. It’s at the southern end of at the southern end of Mirabello Bay, on which Agios Nikolaos stands.

Voulisma beach is 74 km (48 miles) from Heraklion, the capital Crete.

And it’s 40 km (26 miles) from the resort town of Malia, and 34 km (22 miles) from its neighbour Hersonissos.

How To Get To Voulisma Beach

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Buses to Voulisma depart from Agios Nikolaos bus station
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Our Little Man leading the way down to Voulisma Beach

If you’re driving, Voulisma Beach is easy to reach. The main Agios Nikolaos to Sitia road passes the beach car parks on the edge of the village of Istron.

Voulisma Beach is also straightforward to reach by bus, with around ten services a day running from Agios Nikolaos bus station to Istron.

The buses in both directions stop above the beach. Timetables are regularly updated on the KTEL Herlas regional bus website. It’s a 20-25 minute journey from the bus station to Voulisma beach, passing Almyros beach on the way.

Places To Visit Near Voulisma Beach

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Stunning Sissi
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A fishing boat in Sissi harbour

Voulisma Beach is in the Lassithi region of eastern Crete, close to the regional capital of Agios Nikolaos.

The seaside city is also on the Bay of Mirabello, and there are several great Agios Nikolaos beaches along its shores, including Almyros Beach. To the north of the city, the villages of Elounda and Plaka have stunning settings overlooking the Bay and mountains to the east.

Boats depart from both villages to Spinalonga, the medieval Venetian island fortress used as a leper colony in the early 20th century.   Spinalonga has become one of the most popular day tours in Crete in recent years, largely thanks to Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island, which is set there.

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Sunset on Malia Beach
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Perfect Potamos Beach

Agios Nikolaos is very close to the varied charms of the North Crete coast. The beautiful harbour village of Sissi Crete is one of the prettiest on the island, offering amazing views back up the river to the peaks of the Dikti mountains to the south.

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Sarantari Beach

Sissi is as world away in feel, but just a few miles from the party resorts of Malia and Hersonissos. Some of the Malia beaches are well worth a visit, especially Potamos Beach, while Sarantari Beach is our pick of the Hersonissos beaches a few miles along the coast.

To the east, the beautiful fishing village of Mochlos is a few miles’ drive beyond Voulisma. Then you’re into the far east of Crete, with the port city of Sitia, the famous palm beach at Vai and the untouched wild beaches of Xerokampos await.

Alternatively, Kritsa is one of the most beautiful villages in Crete, and one of the gateways to the Lassithi Plateau. This is one of the best areas of Crete to visit. Its scattered villages and windmills below the Dikti mountain range are a step a century back in time. It’s especially beautiful in springtime, when the snow melt from the mountains turns the landscape a fresh green (like my native Wales!) for a few weeks.

Voulisma Beach – Final Words

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Voulisma Beach

Voulisma Beach is breathtaking. If you’re staying anywhere nearby – east of Heraklion, basically – I’d say it’s one of the top beaches in eastern Crete to seek out.

It is a popular beach, so in peak season get there early or late in the day. Otherwise shoulder season (June or September-October) is a good time to visit.

And watch that wind forecast – it can make such a difference to your day.

Check out more of our articles on Crete here:

Image of David Angel found of Delve into Europe Travel Blog / Website

David Angel is a British photographer, writer and historian. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe. He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.  David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.