It is no coincidence that the beaches of Crete are considered among the best in Greece. During sunny summer days, there is a lot of entertainment available for all categories of tourists. Whether you’re into water sports, diving, or good old-fashioned sunbathing on the beach, Crete is sure to have the right beach to suit your needs.
Elafonisi beach is world famous for its exotic species. Almost tropical landscapes (protected by the islet of the same name), white sand with pink corals and greenish-blue waters with bright red starfish — what else do you need for happiness? The water on Elafonisi is incredibly warm, calm and shallow, and you can get to the islet through a short ford along a sandy spit.
Kouremenos Beach is one of Crete’s top destinations for windsurfers. No wonder it’s almost always windy here. The pipe effect creates ideal conditions for windsurfing. If you want quiet, then the nearby beach of Hiona is much more protected. This is a beautiful long sand and pebble beach with several taverns and bars. In the summer, a real community of windsurfers who come here in vans settle down here.
Matala Beach is famous for its once-founded community of hippies living in caves. But today it is purely a tourist town with excellent infrastructure and hotels. Matala is indeed one of the best beaches in Crete, with a frenetic vibe and plenty to do. This is a very romantic place, with a cocktail by the sea at sunset and caves illuminated at night. Behind the hill of Matala is the equally beautiful Red Beach with reddish-golden sand and nudists.
The palm-fringed Vai Beach contrasts greatly with the spiritual tranquility of the nearby Toplou Monastery. Lying on the fine sand early in the morning, especially in early spring and late autumn, it’s easy to imagine being on a Caribbean island. In summer, the beach is filled with tourists, but for several hours in the evening, you can still enjoy the peace and tranquility, admiring the beauty of the sunset.
Myrtos is a charming village with white houses and a long pebbly beach. Even in August, when Myrtos is filled to overflowing with tourists, the pace of life here remains slow, and the atmosphere is pleasant and calm. In addition to sunbathing on the most beautiful beach of Crete, here you can go diving or rent a pleasure boat. The surrounding countryside has preserved several important Minoan sites, and on particularly hot days, you can go on an excursion to the mountains, where there is always a coolness.
Another outstanding beach of Crete is located just 3 kilometers from Horafakia. Stavros is an almost perfect beach surrounded by a calm bay. It is almost always completely calm here, and the sandy shallow shores make Stavros a good destination for families with small children. 100 meters from the beach rises a steep mountain slope with a cave and an ancient sanctuary. Stavros beach is often crowded, but there are also remote areas where there are fewer people. In any case, it is easily able to accommodate everyone.
The best way to escape the sweltering summer temperatures of Irajetra is to take a boat trip to Gaiduronisi (donkey island), located about 10 km from the coast. The real uninhabited island does not exceed 4 km in length, with a beautiful cedar forest, excellent sandy beaches, several taverns and a picturesque shell beach. It is completely covered in shells from countless generations of molluscs.
Francogastello beach is considered one of the best places in Crete for a relaxing holiday. It is famous for its fine sand and perfectly clear water, which is conducive to scuba diving. Among the sights of Francogastello, it is worth noting the castle, where tourists always gather. If you want privacy, head west along the coastline. There are beaches in the east, where a kilometer from the village there are kilometers of deserted sandy strips surrounded by rocks.
Sweetwater Beach in Crete is a long, extremely narrow strip between rocks and deep sea. It is isolated from the land by mountains and endless sea spaces. It was called a freshwater beach for a reason, but because of the numerous springs right on the shore, providing fresh, cool drinking water. You can dig a hole anywhere on the beach and you will surely find fresh water.
Gavdos is the largest of the islands off the coast of Crete. Its attractiveness lies in its relative isolation from most tourist flows. Here you will find a great beach and a small tavern where freshly caught fish is fried. The pebble beach of Kamareles is a beach in Tripiti, the southernmost point in Europe. These places are famous among divers for their rich underwater world. Any traveler who comes here must perform one ritual: he climbs a high rock, where you can sit on the very edge of the continent.