My 15 Best Beaches in Crete (With Map)

Tristan Balme the best beaches in crete for you to visit

From the pink sands of Elafonissi Beach to the crystal-clear waters of Seitan Limania, there’s something for every beach lover on this list.

In this post, you’ll find detailed information on each beach, including what to expect, what we liked (and didn’t), and how to get there. We’ve also included an infographic map and a Google Maps list with pins for each beach to help you plan your trip.

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Read on to discover our top picks for the best beaches in Crete.

Why Trust Me? (My Beach Reviewing Credentials)

Before we dive into the list, I’d like to make a confession.

I’m the guy who lays in bed a Googling ‘Best beaches in [location]’ and then spends the next hour doom-scrolling Google reviews.

When did beaches get google reviews anyway!?

I’ve been traveling the world on and off for over a decade, and during that time, I’ve visited countless beaches in different countries. I feel like it’s my mission to discover (for myself) them all.

I figured I’d write this article to spare you time of scouring google maps for user reviews – like i probably did.

My Overall Favorite Beach in Crete

Before we get into the top 11, I want to share my overall favorite beach in Crete. It’s none other than Elafonissi Beach.

This stunning beach boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters and pink sand. Yes, you read that right – pink sand! The sand gets its color from millions of broken seashells, and it’s truly a sight to behold. I could spend hours lounging on this beach, taking in the breathtaking views so if you only make it to one beach while you’re in Crete, make sure it’s this one

The 11 Best Beaches in Crete

Now, let’s get to the top 11 beaches in Crete. I’ve divided them into different sections for easy browsing.

Best Beaches: West Crete Beaches:

1. Balos Beach

Balos Beach is located on the northwest coast of Crete and is only accessible by boat or by hiking. The beach is surrounded by turquoise waters and has white sand, making it a popular spot for tourists. The shallow waters are perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of rocks to climb and explore.

Tristan Balme Balos beach panorama in crete greece

What I Liked

  • Surrounded by turquoise waters
  • White sand
  • Shallow waters perfect for swimming
  • Plenty of rocks to climb and explore

What I Didn’t

  • Only accessible by boat or a steep hike

How to Get There

  • By boat: Take a ferry from Kissamos or Chania
  • By hiking: Hike the E4 trail from Kaliviani or drive to the parking lot and hike from there

2. Gramvousa Beach

Gramvousa Beach is located on the northwest coast of Crete and is accessible by boat. The beach is surrounded by clear blue waters and has soft, golden sand. The shallow waters are perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of rocks and caves to explore.

Tristan Balme birds eye photo of gramvousa beach in crete greece

What I Liked

  • Clear blue waters
  • Soft, golden sand
  • Shallow waters perfect for swimming
  • Plenty of rocks and caves to explore

What I Didn’t

  • Only accessible by boat

How to Get There

  • By boat: Take a ferry from Kissamos or Chania to Gramvousa Island. From there, you can take a short hike to reach the beach.

3. Elafonissi Beach

As mentioned earlier, Elafonissi Beach is my favorite beach in Crete. Located on the southwest coast, this beach is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Crete. The sand is pink, the water is clear, and the views are stunning. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but it’s well worth it.

Tristan Balme Crete Elafonissi Beach
Photo credit: DaLiu from Getty Images

What I Liked

  • Pink sand
  • Clear water
  • Stunning views

What I Didn’t Like

  • A bit of a trek to get there
  • Waaay too crowded

How to Get There

  • By car: Elafonissi Beach is located about 75 kilometers from Chania. Take the national road to Kissamos and then follow the signs to Elafonissi.
  • By bus: There are several buses that run from Chania to Elafonissi during the summer months. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

4. Falassarna Beach

Falassarna Beach is located on the western coast of Crete and is known for its long stretch of golden sand. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and the water is a beautiful shade of blue. There are plenty of amenities here, including umbrellas, sunbeds, and tavernas.

Tristan Balme Crete Falassarna Beach
Photo credit: DaLiu from Getty Images

What I Liked

  • Long stretch of golden sand
  • Beautiful shade of blue water
  • Plenty of amenities including umbrellas, sunbeds, and tavernas

How to Get There

  • By car: From Chania, take the national road towards Kissamos. After Kissamos, follow the signs to Falassarna.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Chania to Kissamos and then transfer to the bus to Falassarna. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

Best Beaches: East Crete Beaches

5. Voulisma Beach

Voulisma Beach is located on the eastern coast of Crete and is known for its crystal-clear waters. The sand here is white, and the beach is surrounded by cliffs. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas available, and there are several tavernas nearby.

Tristan Balme Vouisma Beach in crete

What I Liked

  • Crystal-clear waters
  • White sand
  • Plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas
  • Several tavernas nearby

What I Didn’t

  • N/A

How to Get There

  • By car: Voulisma Beach is located about 70 kilometers east of Heraklion. Take the national road towards Agios Nikolaos and follow the signs to Voulisma Beach.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos and then transfer to the bus to Voulisma Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

6. Vai Beach (Palm Beach)

Vai Beach, also known as Palm Beach, is located on the eastern coast of Crete and is famous for its palm trees. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation and has white sand and clear waters. It’s a popular spot for tourists, so it can get crowded during peak season.

Tristan Balme Crete Vai Beach
Photo credit: Mustang_79 from Getty Images

What I liked:

  • Surrounded by lush vegetation
  • White sand
  • Clear waters

What I didn’t:

  • Can get crowded during peak season

How to Get There:

  • By car: Vai Beach is located about 24 kilometers east of Sitia. Take the national road towards Palekastro and then follow the signs to Vai.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Sitia to Vai Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

Best Beaches: South Crete

7. Preveli Beach

Preveli Beach is located on the southern coast of Crete and is known for its palm trees and freshwater river. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and has golden sand. There’s a taverna nearby, and it’s a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.

Tristan Balme preveli beach on the south coast of crete greece

What I liked:

  • Palm trees and freshwater river
  • Golden sand
  • Good spot for swimming and snorkeling

How to Get There:

  • By car: Preveli Beach is located about 35 kilometers south of Rethymno. Take the national road towards Plakias and then follow the signs to Preveli.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Rethymno to Preveli Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

8. Plakias Beach

Plakias Beach is located on the southern coast of Crete and is known for its turquoise waters and stunning views. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Plakias Beach
Photo credit: A_Pobedimskiy from Getty Images
  • What I liked:
    • Turquoise waters
    • Stunning views
    • Several tavernas and cafes nearby

  • How to Get There:
    • By car: Plakias Beach is located about 35 kilometers south of Rethymno. Take the national road towards Plakias.
    • By bus: Take the bus from Rethymno to Plakias Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

9. Matala Beach

Matala Beach is located on the southern coast of Crete and is known for its caves. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Matala Beach
Photo credit: dmitrynaumov

What I liked:

  • Caves

How to Get There:

Matala Beach is located on the southern coast of Crete. You can get there by:

  • By car: Matala Beach is located about 70 kilometers south of Heraklion. Take the national road towards Moires and then follow the signs to Matala. There are several parking areas available.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Heraklion to Matala Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

10. Seitan Limania Beach

Tristan Balme Crete Seitan Limania Beach
Photo credit: KatarzynaTyl from Pixabay

What I liked:

  • Crystal-clear waters
  • Stunning views

What I didn’t:

  • No umbrellas or sunbeds available
  • A bit of a hike to get there

How to Get There:

  • By car: Seitan Limania Beach is located about 22 kilometers northeast of Chania. Take the national road towards Souda and then follow the signs to Seitan Limania. Parking is limited, so arrive early.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Chania to the village of Chordaki and then walk to the beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

Best Beaches: North Crete

11. Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is a small town located on the eastern coast of Crete and is known for its beautiful beaches. There are several beaches in the area, including Ammoudi Beach, Almyros Beach, and Kitroplatia Beach. Each beach has its own unique charm and is worth a visit.

Tristan Balme Crete Agios Nikolaos
Photo credit: jackcousin from Getty Images
  • What I liked:
    • Each beach has its own unique charm
  • What I didn’t:
    • N/A
  • How to Get There:

By car: Agios Nikolaos is located about 65 kilometers east of Heraklion. Take the national road towards Agios Nikolaos.

By bus: Take the bus from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

12. Souda Beach

Souda Beach is located on the northern coast of Crete and is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning views. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Souda Beach
Photo credit: Nemo1963 from Getty Images
  • What I liked:
    • Crystal-clear waters
    • Stunning views
    • Several tavernas and cafes nearby
  • What I didn’t:
    • N/A
  • How to Get There:
    • By car: Souda Beach is located about 7 kilometers east of Chania. Take the national road towards Souda and then follow the signs to Souda Beach.
    • By bus: Take the bus from Chania to Souda Beach. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

13. Georgioupolis Beach

Georgioupolis Beach is located on the northern coast of Crete and is known for its stunning views and long stretch of sand. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Georgioupolis Beach
Photo credit: DaLiu from Getty Images

What I liked:

  • Stunning views
  • Long stretch of sand

How to Get There:

  • By car: Georgioupolis Beach is located about 38 kilometers east of Chania. Take the national road towards Rethymno and then follow the signs to Georgioupolis.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Chania to Georgioupolis. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

14. Ammoudara Beach

Ammoudara Beach is located on the northern coast of Crete and is known for its long stretch of sand. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Ammoudara Beach
Photo credit: IgorSPb from Getty Images

What I liked:

  • The long stretch of sand

How to Get There:

  • By car: Ammoudara Beach is located about 5 kilometers west of Heraklion. Take the national road towards Rethymno and then follow the signs to Ammoudara.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Heraklion to Ammoudara. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

15. Frangokastello Beach

Frangokastello Beach is located on the southern coast of Crete and is known for its castle. The beach is surrounded by cliffs, and there are several tavernas and cafes nearby. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring.

Tristan Balme Crete Frangokastello Beach
Photo credit: Saro17 from Getty Images Signature

What I liked

  • Castle nearby
  • Great for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring

What I didn’t

  • N/A

How to Get There

  • By car: Frangokastello Beach is located about 80 kilometers from Chania. Take the national road towards Rethymno and then follow the signs to Frangokastello.
  • By bus: Take the bus from Chania to Frangokastello. Check the KTEL website for schedules and fares.

Infographic Map

To help you plan your trip to Crete, I’ve created an infographic map of all the beaches mentioned in this post. You can find it [here](insert link).

Google Maps Pins

Finally, for those who want even more information about these beaches, I’ve created a Google Maps list with pins for each beach. You can find it [here](insert link).

I hope this post has inspired you to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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