Sand or gravel? Relaxation or action? On Crete you are spoilt for choice! In this article we reveal our top 10 beaches in Crete.
All Beaches at a Glance
Beach 1: Balos Beach in Crete
Our first beach is not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most famous beaches on Crete. In the northwest of the island, Balos Beach enchants with white, partly pink sand, turquoise blue water and a breathtaking environment. Nestled between the mainland and the wild peninsula of Cape Tigani, which is also ideal for hiking, you will find a true paradise at Balos Beach. The vastness of the beach promises enough space for everyone and the shallow access to the sea also creates ideal conditions for a carefree beach holiday - even with children. You can easily reach the beach by car and enjoy the view of the sea at all times. Absolutely recommendable!
Beach 2: Plakias Beach in Crete
For our next beach tip we head towards the south of the island. The beach of Plakias is one of the longest beaches in the south of Crete and impresses with its good accessibility, the relatively few tourists and its high diversity. At Plakias Beach, almost everybody finds exactly what he is looking for. While fine gravel, flat beach sections, quick access to hotels and accommodations as well as lots of taverns await you on the main beach, you will find a sandy beach in the east, numerous offers for sports activities and a textile-free section at the outer end. Plakias Beach is therefore perfectly suited for almost every target group and will certainly sweeten everyone's holiday on Crete.
Insider tip: When on Plakias Beach, make sure you stop by the Kalypso Cretan Village Resort and linger between the sea and the imposing rocks. You will find the resort at the lower end of the beach and you can also get ready for another, completely different beach experience.
Beach 3: Matala Beach in Crete
Not far away from Plakias Beach you will find our next recommendation: Matala Beach. The coastal village Matala in the south of the island is particularly famous and popular among hippies. If you stroll through the alleys of the village, you will immediately feel both the influence and the lightness. But you will not only recognize the unique flair of this area there, but also on the beach. Be prepared for lots of entertainment, a fantastic panorama and fine gravel. But be warned: the beach has become very popular and if you are looking for peace and tranquillity, you are probably better off at another beach. On the other hand, if you enjoy company and like to sip a cocktail or two at the beach bar in the evening, this is the place to be.
Beach 4: Elafonisi Beach in Crete
Elafonisi Beach is the epitome of a dream beach. The sand here is whiter than on almost any other beach on the island and in many places it even has a pink shimmer. The beach at the most south-western point of Crete is extensive, ideal for exuberant walks and continuously shallow. Elafonisi Beach is therefore suitable for families with children and snorkellers who will be able to discover a lot in the crystal clear water here. While the eastern part of the beach is very lively and you will find a lot of entertainment, bars and taverns, the peninsula is a little more quiet. As the water is shallow and calm everywhere, reaching the peninsula is no problem at all. At the far end, friends of textile-free bathing will also get their money's worth here and there is enough space to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Beach 5: Preveli Beach in Crete
Mystical, idyllic and natural at the same time - this is probably the best way to describe Preveli Beach in the south of the island, not far from Plakias Beach. The relatively small beach section lies directly at the estuary of the Megalopotamos stream, which flows into the sea here. On the beach itself, a real natural spectacle also awaits you: wherever you look, Preveli Beach is surrounded by palm trees, palm trees, palm trees. However, the beach is not so easy to reach. You can either take a 30-minute walk along the creek or arrive by boat. But in the end, the view and the unspoiled nature of the beach are definitely worth it!
Beach 6: Stefanou Beach in Crete
We head to the northwest of the island, just a few kilometres away from Chania. At Stefanou Beach you will encounter wild nature, numerous gorges and steep cliffs. The Stefanou Beach is located on the Akrotiri peninsula and only has a small but unique beach section. The bay is especially popular among the locals and attracts passionate swimmers, divers and adventure seekers. The stone path down is steep, but connects the beach with the car park quickly. The bay can also be easily reached by boat. The water here is particularly deep and sometimes a strong current awaits you. Therefore, the beach is not suitable for families with children or non-swimmers.
Beach 7: Listis Beach in Crete
For our next tip, we cross the island to get to the southeast of Crete. In contrast to many other beaches, you can expect a fine white pebble beach here. Besides, you will come across high cliffs and some caves. Listis Beach is particularly suitable for the adventurous who like to jump into the water from a stone cliff or those who like to dive in caves. The way to the beach is also steep and requires good shoes and strong nerves. Nevertheless, it is also an excellent place to relax, unwind and simply enjoy the turquoise blue water. In general you can expect a lot of peace, idyll and little tourism.
Beach 8: Ammoudara Beach in Crete
From the south we go upwards again to the north of Crete for Ammoudara Beach. The bay is probably one of the most varied, but also one of the busiest beaches of the island. A wide range of different sports activities, entertainment programmes and numerous bars and taverns await you here. Ammoudara Beach is especially popular among families with children and young people because of its lively bustle. However, the spaciousness and width of the beach promise enough space for everyone and the fine sand and shallow access to the water guarantee a perfect beach holiday with lots of fun.
Insider tip: Your accommodation is located at Ammoudara Beach? You are planning an excursion during your holiday, but don't know when? Then we definitely recommend the weekend. As the beach section is not far from Heraklion and is also very popular among the locals, it can quickly become crowded and noisy here at the weekend. For this reason, Saturday and Sunday are perfect for discovering other places on the island.
Beach 9: Kali Limenes Beach in Crete
Small but nice - this is probably the best way to describe the beach of Kali Limenes at the southern tip of Crete. Here you will find fine sand, a hilly and quiet landscape and turquoise blue water. The access to the water at Kali Limenes is very shallow and therefore also suitable for children and non-swimmers. Even during the season you will rarely meet a large number of tourists here and you will find enough space to spend a few quiet hours on the beach. But there is one small drawback: the beach is located next to the ship refuelling station of the island. Therefore you have to expect bigger ships from time to time. Nevertheless the water is crystal clear and you can enjoy less tourism and absolute silence most of the time.
Beach 10: Almyros Beach in Crete
Our last recommendation is another beach of superlatives. The Almyros Beach, located in the northeast of the island, stands out due to its fine sand, the calm and at the same time crystal clear water as well as its tidiness. The beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Crete and has been awarded with the Blue Flag (quality mark). The bay can be easily reached by car and a short walk from the car park. Accessibility has also been taken into account and the shallow access to the calm sea is ideal for the whole family. The Almyros Beach is therefore a real dream beach for young and old.
Flights to Crete With Austrian Airlines
Sun, beach and sea - what more could you wish for? Crete is perfect for a relaxed, exuberant or even adventurous beach holiday. Do you also feel like visiting the largest Greek island? Then book your next flight with Austrian Airlines right here and get ready for the Greek sun and dream island: