Crete is the biggest island in Greece, and it offers tourists abundant natural beauty with secluded coasts and high peaks. And though there are also a lot of cultural things to be seen on the island, there’s no denying that the beaches are the main element to be explored here. Are you heading to the island soon? Let me show you the best beaches to visit on Crete island.
Due to the size of Crete, you can set up a base in one of the main cities (Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion) to explore various parts of the island. In this post, you’ll learn more about the best beaches near Chania.
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Best Beaches on Crete
Elafonisi is a famous beach on Crete because of its pinkish sand and shallow lagoon. The sand isn’t always pink, since lots of factors such as light, wind, and time of the day can impact it, but regardless of the sand’s color, the beach is still one of the best on Crete and the easy access from Chania makes it a perfect place to visit during your stay.
Though not as isolated as other less popular ones, the beauty of Elafonisi is undeniable and makes it one of the best beaches on Crete. And because of its relatively easy access, it usually gets crowded during the day, so plan on visiting on a weekday and going early morning.
Pro tip: The cove on the other side of the dunes boasts an electric blue ocean and more privacy not only for naturalists but also for those trying to escape the massive number of tourists.
Want to know more? Read the Ultimate Guide to Elafonisi Beach with all the details to plan your visit.
Getting here: You can get to Elafonisi with a tour from Chania or by car on 1h30-drive.
Seitan Limania used to be a secret beach on Crete, but since it’s one of the most magnificent places on the island, it now attracts many visitors who want to spend the day here.
You can either visit Seitan Limania to have the perfect view from the cliff overlooking the fluorescence-blue water or go down for 15 minutes on a path over loose rocks to get to the beach to stretch your towel, relax, and go for a swim.
Have in mind that there are no facilities on Seitan Limania, so bring water and a picnic if you’re planning on spending the day.
Getting here: you can reach Seitan Limania from Chania by car and the drive takes approximately 40 minutes to the parking lot.
Kedrodasos is one of the best beaches on Crete Island – a gorgeous beach with a fluorescent blue sea that will dazzle you as soon as you arrive at the parking lot that gives access to the beach and offers the best aerial viewpoint. Less crowded than the most popular Balos and the nearby Elafonisi, Kedrodasos is possibly more beautiful than them with the benefit of being a secluded paradise.
To reach Kedrodasos you’ll have to go down an unpaved path for about 10 minutes (totally worth it!). Also, there’s no infrastructure on the beach, so bring water and snacks and stretch your towel under a juniper tree for shade.
Getting here: The drive to Kedrodasos takes approximately 1,5 hours from Chania. The beach is also very close to Elafonisi (10 minutes), so you can visit both on the same day.
Balos is one of the most popular and beautiful beaches on Crete. Whether by boat or by car, the shallow blue water and soft white sand will enchant visitors who spend the day on this stunning part of the island.
Read the Complete Guide to Balos to get more information about places to stay nearby, getting here, and more.
Getting here: You can get to Balos with a boat tour or by car for 1h30 followed by a 40-minute walk.
This big beach is different than most of the beaches on Crete island. Here, though the sea still provides flawless shades of blue, the waves and wind offer plenty of alternatives for those looking for water sports. Windsurf and other water activities are one of the many allures of Falassarna.
While here, you can rent a chair and umbrella in one of the many rental places lining the beach, or you can also find a spot for your towel on the sand. Regardless of where you choose to settle, plan on spending the day or arriving in the afternoon, since Falassarna is also a perfect place to appreciate the sunset on Crete.
Getting here: You can reach Falassarna by car from Chania in one hour, and you can also reach from Balos on a 45-minute journey.
Stavros is the best beach near Chania. It’s closed to the open sea, so the still, shallow waters and the lack of wind make it the perfect beach for kids but also for grown-ups who want to practice water sports like kayaking or stand-up paddle.
Getting here: It takes around 30 minutes to get from Chania to Stavros.
Marathi is a shallow, quiet beach with clear waters and access to many restaurants. Because of this, it’s perfect for families who want to spend the day.
In Marathi, you’ll find umbrella and chair rental services, and you can also rent water equipment for stand-up paddle or kayak.
Getting here: Marathi is located approximately 30 minutes by car from Chania.
The pristine neon blue waters of Loutraki beach are one of the most remarkable on Crete. It’s not a very popular beach among visitors as it’s mostly known by locals and savvy tourists. However, Loutraki is as stunning as Elafonisi yet has the bonus of having fewer visitors. So, be sure to add it to your Crete itinerary.
Getting here: Loutraki is located approximately 30 minutes by car from Chania. It’s also 5 minutes away from Marathi, so plan on visiting both on the same day.
What to know for visiting Crete, Greece
Greece is part of the European Schengen zone, which provides 90 days of free entry every 180 days to visitors from many countries. This allows tourists to enter Greece and travel between other European countries for up to 90 days per stay.
When planning your trip to Greece, be sure to check the EU Schengen website for the latest information and requirements for your specific country.
The currency used in Greece is the Euro (EUR). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR to 1.10 USD. You can check the current euro exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I personally use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the true exchange rate.
Best time to visit Greece
The best time to visit Crete and explore its beaches is between April and October. July and August can be very crowded, so I recommend the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October. I was on Crete in the middle of September and had perfect sunny days and warm temperatures.
Best tours on Crete
Some of the best tours and things to do on Crete Island are:
- Day trip from Chania to Elafonisi
- Balos Boat Cruise from Kissamos Port
- Wine and Olive Oil Tour from Chania
Where to stay on Crete (Best Hotels near Chania)
I recommend booking your hotels on Booking.com to get the best rate and other perks such as genius discounts and free cancellation, in case your plans change.
These are the best hotels to stay on Crete:
- Domes Zeen Chania – for a seaside luxury experience, this is one of the best options. It has a picture-perfect pool, outdoor gym, beach service with chairs and umbrellas, it’s good for families, and is part of the Luxury Collection of hotels. Its sophisticated and comfortable rooms have Byredo amenities, and many have private plunge pools. Read my full review of Domes Zeen Chania.
- Domes Noruz Chania – another seaside hotel with modern bright rooms featuring private pools. It’s the best option for couples since it’s adults-only and is also part of the Autograph Collection.
- Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa – placed in the heart of Chania’s picturesque old town, this authentic 17th-century Venetian mansion has a rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the Venetian Harbor.
Transportation on Crete Island
Public Transportation: You can find a bus system on Crete to get to a few places on the island. Check out their routes and timetable on their website.
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Crete and visit its beaches is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you get on the island, so you can explore the beaches above at your convenience.
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