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The 10 Best beaches in crete (tips, map & photos)

Crete is one of the most beautiful Greek islands to visit, with stunning blue waters, historical sites, and some of the best beaches in the world.

The 10 best beaches in Crete

Absolutely you will find the best beaches in Crete, Cretan beaches are some of the most beautiful in Europe, and every summer they draw visitors from around the world. The long stretches of white sand, the crystal-clear waters, and the picturesque sunsets create an idyllic getaway to help relax and unwind. For those looking for something a bit more adventurous, Crete offers a bounty of activities such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and scuba diving. Whatever your preference, Crete has you covered in its vast array of beaches.

best beaches in crete
best beaches in crete map
Cretan beaches are renowned for their beauty and stunning views. From the golden sands of Balos to the secluded coves of Elafonissi, the variety of beaches on the island offer something for everyone. Elafonissi beach, one of the best beaches in crete, offer a perfect spot to relax, while Balos is renowned for its strong winds and fantastic surfing opportunities. Further along the coast, Preveli beach is surrounded by dense palm trees and features a unique river that flows directly into the sea.

Best beaches in Crete map

What are the best beaches in Crete?

The beautiful island of Crete is known for its stunning beaches. From the secluded coves of Elafonisi to the stunning sunsets at Balos Beach, there are plenty of beach destinations on the island that offer travelers an unforgettable experience. Preveli Beach is a popular spot thanks to its lush greenery and gorgeous palm trees, while Vai Beach is known for its unique palm forest. For those seeking a little more action, Matala Beach is also a great choice with opportunities for diving, snorkeling, and other watersports. 

List of the 10 best beaches in Crete

  1. Elafonissi Beach
  2. Falassarna Beach
  3. Preveli beach
  4. Balos Beach
  5. Stavros beach
  6. Seitan Limania beach
  7. Plakias Beach
  8. Livadia Beach
  9. Matala beach
  10. Ammoudara Beach

1. Elafonissi Beach

best beaches in crete map
Elafonissi Beach 1# of 10# best beaches in crete
The tropical beach of Elafonisi is located near a small island of the same name, located in front of the village of Elafonisos. The island may be small, but  Elafonisi Beach certainly isn't. Elafonisi is the second-largest beach in western Crete and looks like a tropical beach paradise from June. Elafonisi is easy to reach by car; You can also take the bus from Chania and Paleochora. Go to the first beach of Elafonisi.


This beach is surrounded by six places where you can rent sun loungers and parasols. There are taverns here where you can eat and drink. The water in Elafonisi is so clear that you can see the bottom almost everywhere.

Elafonissi Beach INFO

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, South Crete, Paleochora area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Turquoise
  • Sand type: White Sand
  • Depth: Shallow
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Crowded place
  • Facilities: Lifeguard, Food / water nearby, Umbrellas / Sports, beds, Showers, Blue Flag
  • Other Information: Ideal for snorkeling / spearfishing
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road

2. Falassarna Beach

best beaches in crete map
Falassarna Beach 2# of 10# best beaches in crete
Falasarna is a very popular seaside resort on the west coast of Crete, in the department of Chania in the bay of Livadi. Falasarna is one of the best beaches in Crete. It is located 52 kilometers from the city of Chania  and can be reached by car in one hour through the town of Platanos. It has a large sandy beach and all kinds of water sports, sun loungers and parasols. The water has beautiful turquoise colors.


There are some beach bars near the beach and there is a small fishing port on the south side. Beach parties are regularly organized on Falasarna beach, attracting thousands of young people from the area. And The sunsets in Falasarna are spectacular.

Falassarna Beach INFO

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, Kissamos Area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Turquoise
  • Sand type: White Sand, Rocks in places
  • Depth: Normal
  • Sea surface: Usually wavy
  • Crowds: Normal
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Food / water nearby, Umbrellas / beds, Lifeguard, Sports, Blue Flag, Showers, 
  • Other Information: Ideal for snorkeling / spearfishing
  • Accessibility: Paved road

3. Preveli beach

best beaches in crete map
Preveli beach 3# of 10# best beaches in crete
Preveli, also known as Préveli, is a magnet on the south coast of Crete and famous for all visitors to the island. The area is home to two monasteries (Kato Moni and Piso Moni) and a beautiful palm-fringed beach also known as Palm Beach. 


The distance from Rethymnon is 38 kilometers, with a driving time of about 45 minutes. The palm grove and beach of Preveli are located at the end of the Kourtaliotiko gorge. The last part of the gorge is about three kilometers long, and half of it is here a small stream that flows from Megalo Potamos into the Libyan Sea. A must-visit when in Rethymnon!

Preveli beach INFO

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture, West Crete, South Crete, Agios Vasilios area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue
  • Sand type: Sand
  • Depth: Normal
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Crowded place
  • Other Information: Palmtrees, Ideal for snorkeling / spearfishing, Tree Shade
  • Accessibility: Paved road

4. Balos Beach

best beaches in crete map
Balos Beach 4# of 10# best beaches in crete
Balos beach is located on the peninsula of Imeri Gramvoúsa. It is a nature reserve that guarantees the quality of natural habitats of protected flora and fauna. In Gramvoúsa you will find 400 different (sea) plants, almost 100 protected or endangered species of birds, wild donkeys, the green turtle and the lobe of the Mediterranean Sea in Gramvoúsa.Balos beach is a lagoon and is located in a bay shaped by the seawater's colors shallow lagoons are exotic because of their green to blue color Nearby there is a 16th-century Venetian fortress on the cliffs that is worth a visit. This beach is one of the best beaches in Greece.

Balos beach INFO

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, Kissamos Area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Turquoise
  • Sand type: White Sand
  • Depth: Shallow
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Crowded place
  • Facilities: Umbrellas / beds, Food / water nearby
  • Other Information: Seaturtle nesting point
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Dirt track, Boat, Walking

5. Stavros beach

best beaches in crete map
Stavros beach 5# of 10# best beaches in crete
Stavros Beach is located on the north side of the Akrotiri Peninsula, east of Chania. It is a sandy beach in a round bay with a river flowing through it, and it is known because part of the film "Zorba the Greek" was filmed there. One side is dominated by a high, bare mountain. In addition to the main beach, a little further away, there is another quieter beach. There are also remains of an ancient city or fortress carved into the rock and an ancient Minoan cult. Cave that can be reached on foot.

Stavros Beach info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, North Crete, Chania city area (Kydonia) (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue, Green
  • Sand type: Sand
  • Depth: Shallow
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Normal
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Food / water nearby, Umbrellas / beds, Sports, Showers, Blue Flag
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road

6. Seitan Limania

best beaches in crete map
Seitan Limania beach (Stefanou Beach) 6# of 10# best beaches in crete
Stefanou Beach is located at the position of Seitan Limania (i.satan ports), 22 km northeast of Chania and 2 km east of Chordaki village, on the east side of Cape Akrotiri. The wider area is called Seitan Limania after the rugged landscape, steep cliffs and strong sea currents that are considered dangerous. There are three parallel and narrow bays here, well protected from the waves.


The beach is made up of fine gravel and sand brought here from the nearby quarry through Diplohahalo Canyon. Huge marble rocks rise to the right and left of the bay to protect the beach from bad weather. The beach's fame has soared since 2010, a few years after the paved road reached the site; The beach is crowded during high season. There is a steep, narrow path leading from the parking lot to the beach, so be sure to wear shoes.

Seitan Limania info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, North Crete, Chania city area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Deep blue
  • Sand type: Fine Pebbles
  • Depth: Deep
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Crowded place
  • Accessibility: Paved road, Walking

7. Plakias Beach

best beaches in crete map
Plakias Beach 7# of 10# best beaches in crete
The enchanting Plakias Beach is a long, wide crescent in a large bay. Located on the south coast, it faces south, towards Africa, and offers long sunny days not always found on the north coast. Especially on beaches surrounded by cliffs. The waves here are rather small as the prevailing wind is offshore. Parasols and sunbeds can be rented at various points on the beach. If you like a beach with a lively atmosphere and restaurants and shops, stay in the center or west side of.

If you are looking for peace and quiet with a few small beachside restaurants serving only drinks and snacks, head to the east end. The east end of the beach is optional. The area you choose. The beach gets sandier the further east you go, and the sheer cliff face and peninsula jutting into the ocean make for great photo opportunities.

Plakias Beach info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture, West Crete, South Crete, Agios Vasilios area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue
  • Sand type: Sand
  • Depth: Shallow
  • Sea surface: Usually calm
  • Crowds: Normal
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Lifeguard, Showers, Food / water nearby, Umbrellas / beds, Sports, Blue Flag
  • Other Information: Tree Shade, Seaturtle nesting point
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road

8. Livadia Beach

best beaches in crete map
Livadia Beach 8# of 10# best beaches in crete
The bays of Livadia are located near the village of Livadia, 72 km southwest of Chania and 31 km south of Kissamos. The coves are not popular with visitors to the area as they are very rocky and hilly, like most beaches in western Crete. They are mainly preferred by residents and visitors of the city of Livadia and by those who want to stay away. There are some tourist services in town. The coast of Livadia is an ideal destination for divers, but only on calm days.

Livadia village is located in the middle of the European Hiking Trail E4, a coastal path of outstanding natural beauty that starts from Sfinari village and passes through the villages of Livadia, Chrissoskalitsa and finally ends at Elafonisi beach. The route is typical of the rugged beauty of Crete, with amazing changes in scenery between olive and acacia trees and black and red volcanic lava rocks smashed by the sea.

To get to the beach, you can walk along the shoreline in the village of Livadia and past the port to the last large sculpted black rock formations that are considered a natural monument. Behind the rocks, you can see a group of small ponds with greenish water. The sandy and pebbly bays are ideal for a refreshing swim. Another option is to swim at the pebble beach in the small port of Livadia.

Livadia Beach info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture, West Crete, Kissamos Area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue
  • Sand type: Pebbles, Rocks in places
  • Depth: Normal
  • Sea surface: Usually wavy
  • Crowds: Quiet
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Food / water nearby
  • Other Information: Nudism friendly, Ideal for snorkeling / spearfishing
  • Accessibility: Paved road

9. Matala beach

best beaches in crete map
Matala beach 9# of 10# best beaches in crete
This is one of the best beaches on the south coast of Crete. Set in a bay overlooking the Libyan Sea, Matala Beach is famous for the caves at one end of the shoreline, which were inhabited by hippies in the 1960s, including singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The hippies are long gone, but the charm of what drew them here remains. You can visit the caves for a fee. The long and wide beach consists of small pebbles and soft sand.

Umbrellas and beach chairs are spread out along the length of the beach, but you are welcome to provide your own gear. Matala is also a great for snorkeling. Heraklion and Matala are incredibly scenic, and the drive takes just over an hour. The left side of the bay consists of numerous restaurants located on a hill with a fantastic view. Behind them is a street full of shops selling all kinds of clothes and souvenirs.

Matala beach info

  • Location: Matala beach, 702 00, Grèce (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue
  • Sand type: Pebbles, Rocks in places
  • Depth: Normal
  • Sea surface: Usually wavy
  • Crowds: Quiet
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Food / water nearby
  • Other Information: Nudism friendly, Ideal for snorkeling / spearfishing
  • Accessibility: Paved road

10. Ammoudara Beach

best beaches in crete map
Ammoudara Beach 10# of 10# best beaches in crete
If you are in Heraklion, make sure to visit Ammoudara Beach. This seven-kilometer stretch of golden sandy beach is just a five-minute drive from the old town and the best beach in crete. Due to its incredible length, this is an ideal beach for those who enjoy beachcombing. Sun loungers and parasols for rent. 

Windy most of the time, this beach attracts a large number of wind sports enthusiasts, including windsurfers. Here is a kitesurfing school if you want to try this sport. 

Parking and access are easy, restaurants and shops are close by and have everything a beach goer might need.

Ammoudara Beach info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture, Central Crete, North Crete, Malevizi area (Agia Pelagia), Heraklion city area (see map)
  • Seawater color: Blue
  • Sand type: Sand
  • Depth: Shallow
  • Sea surface: Usually wavy
  • Crowds: Normal
  • Facilities: Accommodation options nearby, Food / water nearby, Umbrellas / beds, Lifeguard, Showers, Blue Flag, sports.
  • Accessibility: Bus services, Paved road, Handicap friendly

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