Crete is the largest island in Greece and its coastline of 1,046 km or 650 miles makes for some extraordinary beaches. With crystal clear waters and sand in a variety of colors, Crete’s beaches are unforgettable – in fact, this year of the 486 Blue Flag awarded beaches in Greece, 112 of the eco-labeled beaches are located on Crete! Let’s look at the top ten beaches on the Greek island of Crete.
1. Elafonissi beach in Chania
This is the beach that you want to go to if you are into sparkling water and beautiful pink sand! Located on the southwestern side of Crete the beach has both soft white and pink sand and the coast is lined cedar trees. There are sunbeds and umbrellas available on part of the beach.
2. Balos beach in Chania
Located on the northwestern side of Crete, this beach gives you a view of the sea and an island with a Venetian Castle on top. There are many ways that you can reach this beach – either by car through a track road from Kissamos or by excursion boat from Chania Town and Kissamos.
3. Matala beach in Heraklion
Once known as a popular hippie destination in the 60’s and 70’s, this beach is now a popular family destination. Surrounded by caves where hippies once dwelled for months on end, there is much to explore and enjoy at this sandy beach!
4. Vai beach in Lassithi
Why not go to a beach that is surrounded by the largest palm tree forest in Europe while on Crete? This beach is surrounded by over 5,000 trees and offers clear blue water. This beach once was a free camping site but now in recent years free camping has been made prohibited.
5. Falassarna beach in Chania
Another beach on the west side of the island and close to Kissamos town, this beach offers many organized facilities and activities which makes it an ideal beach for families. Above the beach you can visit the archaeological site of Ancient Falassarna. Also there are many activities such as windsurfing which you can access from a windsurfing station at the beach during the summer months.
6. Plakias beach in Rethymno
Want to get away form it all? This beach is the perfect escape as it has a mellow atmosphere and sits just in front of the village. There is part of the beach where you can access umbrellas and sunbeds, or you can bring your own and enjoy this sandy beach.
7. Istro beach in Lassithi
While visiting the east of the island in the region of Lassithi, stop by and check out this beach located near the town of Agios Nikolaos. The large beach has golden sand and turquoise water – not to mention you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas.
8. Preveli beach in Rethymno
This beach is located in the south side of the prefecture of Rethymno and has a river which meets the sea and forms a lake! It’s a lovely beach that is surrounded by palm trees and offers activities such as exploring the lake. The beach itself has no organized facilities so bring your sunbeams, towels and umbrellas and dive in!
9. Rodakino beach in Rethymno
This beach is located on the southern side of Rethymno near the village of Plakias. The beach is sandy, large and does have some organized sunbeds for rent. Also, there are some seaside tavernas and apartments which surround this beach.
10. Tymbaki beach in Heraklion
This beach is large and has both sand and pebbles and is also known as Kokkinos Pyros. You can pass the entire day at this beach! It is complete with an organized section in case you want to rent sunbeds and umbrellas, not to mention this beach also has few seaside tavernas serving up local dishes!