Crete's most beautiful beaches: Guide to the best beaches in West Crete, in the Chania Region and Rethymno. From the paradisiacal beaches of Balos, Elafonissi and Falassarna to the less known but no less beautiful ones! Let's find out together ..
Crete most beautiful beaches: West Crete – Chania and Rethymno provinces
Beaches of the province of Chania:
- The lagoon of Balos – Gramvoussa
Balos beach is located at the northwest end of the Gramvousa peninsula (it is 45 kilometers from Chania and 15 km from Kissamos), and is certainly one of the must-see places in Crete. Fine sand, warm sea and shallow, crystalline water make the Balos lagoon a tropical postcard beach. In some places the water may not exceed the level of the ankle even for a hundred meters away from the shore!
A recommendation for all tourists who want to go to Balos: do not throw any waste on the ground, take the rubbish with you when you leave. The site is several kilometers from the inhabited centers and it is not easy for the workers to clean all the dirt that is brought in by the thousands of tourists who pass by the beach every year.
How to get to Balos:
Immediately after Kissamos, in the direction of Falassarna, there is the crossroads for Balos.
The paved road ends as soon as you enter the Gramvousa nature reserve: from this point you have to travel by car for about 7 km on an unpaved road up to the parking lot (journey time about 20 minutes). From here starts a two kilometer long path that descends towards the beach, from which you can enjoy a splendid panorama of the lagoon. If you don't want to walk, you can complete the final journey on the saddle of a mule. Alternatively, the lagoon of Balos is connected by ferries departing from the port of Kissamos. For ferry info:
Surely the ideal time to go to Balos is in the early morning or late afternoon, as these are the times when the heat is least felt (walking the path under the midday sun can cause heat strokes or sunstroke) and the beach is less crowded (the ferry lands in Balos around 11.30 and returns to Kissamos around 18.00).
Falasarna is a long beach (about 1-2 km) located on the west coast of Crete, just south of the Gramvousa peninsula.
The beach can be reached from Kissamos, following the road to Platanos. The water is crystal clear and its quality has been awarded as the second cleanest in Greece! The beach has points equipped with deck chairs and umbrellas for hire, but also large spaces of free beach: the beach is one of the best known in Crete, but despite this it is never crowded given its size. The beach on some days can be very windy (winds blowing mostly from the West), with strong gusts that make it impossible to stay on the sand. In this case the only option is to change the beach or try to see if the nearby old beach of Falassarna blows less wind. On the beach you can rent jet skis or surfboards. There are also some kiosks and bars where they organize parties in the evening.
According to many, the most beautiful beach in Crete, Elafonisi (Greek Ελαφόνησος) is a paradise lagoon located in the southwest part of Crete. The sand is of a wonderful pink colour, the waters are crystal clear and its seabed is so low that you can walk to the island in front of the lagoon (sometimes it is even connected by a strip of land when there is low tide). . It remained a secret and little-known beach for a long time until it was discovered by mass tourism about ten years ago. Now it is an equipped beach where hundreds of tourists flock every day: arriving early is essential to find a place! Do not miss the spectacular sunset over the lagoon.
How to reach Elafonissi beach:
Elafonissi can be reached from Kissamos and Chania by car with a journey of about an hour to an hour and a half crossing the mountains of Crete.
available bus connections from Chania and a daily ferry from Paleochora. Near the lagoon you can visit the monastery of Chrissoskalitissa, which is about 5 km from the beach. For Ferry Information: http://www.west-crete.com/ferry-boat-south-crete.htm
- Glyka Nera Glyka Nera
beach (also called Sweet water beach) is located west of Sfakia, on the southern coast of Crete overlooking the Libyan Sea.
It is a quiet pebble beach close to steep cliffs that plunges into the turquoise waters of the Libyan Sea. Wild camping is tolerated and you can camp peacefully under the shade of the trees that line the shore. Under the pebbles of the beach there are springs of fresh water: just dig a little for the hole to fill up with fresh water. Glyka Nera beach can be reached by small boats along paths that start from Lutrò or Sfakià.
- Stefanou Stefanou
beach is located in a narrow cove between the rocks, similar to a small fjord, on the east coast of the Akrotiri peninsula, which extends north of Chania.
To reach it you have to take the path that crosses the Diplohahalo Gorge, near the village of Chordaki, or take the path that starts from the side of the church of Agios Spyridon.
The two beaches of Stavros develop one on a small bay of great beauty (here the scenes of the film Alexis Zorbas were filmed) and the other on a longer, sandy and almost deserted beach. The place is quiet and above all well sheltered from the winds. Behind the beaches are some taverns and bars. The beaches of Stavros are located in the homonymous tourist resort, only 15 kilometers from the city of Chania.
Kalyves is a town where there are many sandy beaches. the westernmost beach, just outside the village, is the quietest, while the eastern beach is more crowded, even if the atmosphere of the place remains calm and relaxing. Kalyves is located about twenty kilometers east of Chania and can be easily reached by car or bus.
- Agia Marina, Stalòs, Plataniàs and Màleme
A long sandy beach borders the coast from Maleme to Agia Marina. Platanias and Agia Marina are the main tourist resorts of the province of Chania: here are the resorts and the imposing hotel structures of all-inclusive tourism. It follows that the three kilometers of coastline in front are well equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas and water sports offers (windsurfing, jet skiing...) and are very crowded during the high season.
- Agii Apostoli
Two very beautiful sandy beaches, in the middle there is a promontory where a small monastery stands. Calm and shallow waters. It is located just outside Chania to the west and can get busy on weekends.
Long pebble beach that extends east of the Rodopu peninsula. The village is quiet and is about twenty kilometers from Chania.
Quiet beach of white sand mixed with pebbles. Kissamos is a typical Cretan village located in the bay about 40 kilometers west of Chania. The village, which maintains a provincial and non-touristy atmosphere, is the ideal starting point for exploring the beaches of western Crete. There are numerous room rentals, small hotels and a couple of campsites nearby.
Connections from the port of Kissamos
From the port of Kissamos ferries leave for the island of Kythira, the Peloponnese and Piraeus.
Cruises to the islands of Gramvoussa and Balos lagoon also depart daily. Kissamos Kythira Ferries:
- Krios Krios
beach is located a few kilometers from Paleochora, on the southern coast of the island of Crete. The beach is made up of three small gulfs of fine gravel mixed with sand.
Beaches of the province of Rethymno:
The quiet tourist resort of Plakias is located along the southern coast of the island of Crete, in the middle of a valley surrounded by mountains and covered with olive groves. Plakias is a long beach of sand and small pebbles.
- Georgioupoli Georgioupoli
beach is a beautiful sandy coastline about 9 km long, located on the north coast of Crete, between the cities of Chania and Rethymno. The beach is located in a very touristic area, equipped with hotels and resorts. The area is often beaten by constant northern winds, the meltemi, and the rather strong currents force the lifeguards to prohibit swimming: pay attention to their indications. Nonetheless, the beach is well organized and equipped, it is full of bars, taverns and places to practice water sports.
- Ayia Galini
- Pirate Fjord