7 Incredible Beaches to Explore on the Island of Crete

Aerial view of turquoise beach

Posted by on 14 Sep 2023

When it comes to beautiful beaches in Greece, Crete is an island that stands out with its unique pink sands and brilliant turquoise waters.

Crete is the largest among the Greek islands, sitting about 160 km off the mainland. Perched right in the middle of the Aegean and Libyan Seas, it is home to dozens of stunning beaches—each with something unique to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a lively beach with an abundance of tavernas and sunbeds to lounge on or an uncrowded, untouched beach you can enjoy all to yourself, Crete has it for you. Here are seven of the best beaches in Crete that you should check out on your next Greek holiday.

Balos Beach

The most iconic of all Crete beaches has got to be Balos Beach. This beach doesn’t have your typical coastline. Instead, it has a calm, turquoise lagoon surrounded by beautiful pink and white sandbars and two huge headlands on either side of it. Its colours swirl together, making it look like a sight straight out of a painting.

Balos Beach is in Chania, the northwest region of Crete, which is known for its abundance of beautiful beaches. It’s a popular beach destination that you can easily get to by boat from Chania or by car through the town of Kissamos.

Falasarna Beach

Falasarna Beach on the western part of Crete is the perfect beach to visit for those who love surfing. When the waves start to pick up when it’s windy out, surf enthusiasts come out to play.

But when the seas are calm, you can relax and enjoy the coast’s golden, pink-hued sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a beautiful beach and a lively surfing scene wrapped into one.

Several tavernas that line the beach serve hearty, authentic Greek food and refreshing drinks readily available as you lounge on the shore.

Preveli Beach

Next on our Crete beach guide is Preveli Beach—a unique, scenic beach that sits at the end of the tranquil Kourtaliotis River, where the water pours out into the Libyan Sea. There is a gorge next to the beach rich in lush greenery, making it a sight to behold for nature lovers.

The waters at Preveli Beach are calm and shallow, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Note that the beach gets quite popular in the summertime, so it’s better to visit the area early in the morning before the crowds get there.

Vai Beach

Vai Beach can be found in Lassithi, Crete. Like many of the beaches in Greece, Vai Beach has beautiful crystal clear waters and sandy shores. But what sets it apart from other beaches in Crete is that it’s surrounded by the biggest palm tree forest in all of Europe. Thousands of tropical palm trees line the beach, creating a beautiful, Caribbean-like backdrop as you soak in the sun.

If you’re looking to get a tan on your trip to Crete, Vai Beach is one of the best places for sunbathing. This beach is also popular for all kinds of water activities, like snorkelling. The water is calm enough for a good swim as well.

Seitan Limania Beach

While most Crete beaches have a peaceful, relaxing ambience, others have a more adventurous and rugged vibe. One of these is the majestic Seitan Limania, which translates to “Satan’s Harbours.”

Seitan Limania Beach sits at the mouth of a huge gorge. The only way to get down there is by traversing through challenging, zig-zag terrain. At the end of your hike, you’re rewarded with a small but spectacular beach with cerulean waters. There are rocky cliffs surrounding the beach, which keeps the water nice and calm.

Glyka Nera Beach

Glyka Nera literally translates to “Sweet Water.” This beach was given that name because its clear, azure waters come from both the saltwater from the Libyan Sea and nearby freshwater springs.

This stunning beach sits in a cove in the White Mountains of Sfakia, surrounded by tall cliffs. While the beach isn’t that big, it’s the perfect spot for snorkelling and discovering marine wildlife, thanks to its crystal-clear waters.

The easiest way to get to Glyka Nera Beach is by boat. But if you’re the adventurous type, you can also hike for 2-3 hours down the Samaria Gorge until you reach the beach. Not only will it give you spectacular views of the mountains, but it will make seeing the cerulean waters of Glyka Nera Beach at the end of the hike even more satisfying.

Livadi Beach

If you’re looking for a beach that is untouched and secluded, Livadi Beach is the spot for you. This hidden gem is just as beautiful as the more popular Crete beaches but is still relatively unspoiled by tourism. This beach is fantastic for those looking for a quiet afternoon by the sea.

The beach is perched next to the village of Livadi and the hills of olive trees surrounding it. There are tons of tavernas and beach shacks in the area, as well as sunbeds, umbrellas and deck chairs lined up on the shore so you can relax while enjoying the view of the clear waters.

The Best Crete Beaches for Your Next Greek Summer Holiday

Crete may be a bit out of the way from Greece’s mainland, but a side trip to this island is worth it for its mesmerising beaches.

Whether you go for the popular Balos Beach, the adventurous Seitan Limania or the quiet, serene Livadi Beach, a trip to Crete’s most stunning beaches will make your summer holiday.

Put them on your bucket list and enjoy that laidback tropical vibe with a touch of authentic Greece Crete beaches have to offer.

Looking for other places to discover on your holiday? Explore more of Greece by checking out our other Greek destinations and packages!

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