The Chania Prefecture (or nome) encompasses some of the most famous and striking beaches in Crete: Frangokastello with its Venetian fortress, the turquoise waters of Elafonisi, Falasarna repeatedly declared the best beach in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the world and the iconic Balos with its unusual sea-lagoon and shallow blue-green waters.
As well as these more renowned examples, to the south exist at the feet of the steep-sloped White Mountains other impressive, albeit not so publicized, strands which can only be accessed by foot or by boat. The sublime and majestic settings of Domata, Aghios Pavlos and Glyka Nera (Sweet Waters) will take your breath away!
Along the coastline north and west of Kasteli Kisamou up to the settlement of Kalyviani, you will meet with some small and deserted coves, but also a splendid rocky beach with clear blue water – ideal for a moment’s relaxation and for camping too.
Imeri Gramvousa, one of two rocky islets off the northwest side of the Cape, lies some two nautical miles from the Balos lagoon. During the summer season boats run daily from Kasteli Kisamou to here – a journey of around an hour. After a stopover of two hours, the boat goes on to Balos, which it reaches after another 15 minutes.
On the northwest coast of Cape Gramvousa, in a bay formed between the lesser capes of Tigani (the Frying pan) and Vouxa (Trypti), lies the sea-lagoon of Balos.
The beach here is exceptionally beautiful. In effect it is a number of large sandy stretches that together run on for 3 km.
This is a quiet, secluded beach, with sand and scattered rocks, with deep clear waters that are ideal for those looking to relax and get away from it all, but also for snorkeling enthusiasts.
At a distance of 60 km from Chania and 32 km from Kastelli Kissamos is located the beach of Sfinari. This beach is the perfect choice for those keen on diving, because of its magnificent sea-bed. It is quiet otherwise, a place in whose blue waters you may bathe. It has both sand and pebbles – and sufficient tamarisks around and about to allow you to take your rest in their shadows.
This, also known as Afratolakkoi, is quiet and remote enough that is around 69 km from Chania and 30 km from Kastelli Kissamos. It is pebbly, with deep and clear water, and used chiefly by the locals. It is not organized and so lacks infrastructure – though some tavernas and rent rooms exist nearby.
Keramoti Beach is a quiet, long beach, located 71 km from Chania and 27 km from the magnificent Elafonisi. A quiet but long beach, close to the village of the same name, but still undeveloped. Be sure to take all you require for your comfort with you when you visit.
This beach is one of the most emblematic of the island, and is featured on countless postcards. It is to be found just 80 km from the Chania and 43 km from Kastelli, next to the Chrysoskalitissa monastery (of the Golden-Steps).
South of Elafonisi is another area of wild and remarkable beauty – Kedrodasos or the Forest of Cedars. Access can be made by car (up to a certain point) by a dirt-road through the plastic green-houses, or on foot following the E4 walking-route from the beach of Elafonisi itself.
This beautiful beach, almost quite undeveloped and quiet, is a spot suited to rest and relaxation. Characterized by crystal waters and a beach of small pebbles (larger to the east), it stretches a long way, and can be seen as three run together. The infrastructure is limited to a single café-canteen, and in one small area umbrellas are provided for those who want them. West of the main beach is an idyllic and secluded cove in which nudism is ‘permitted’ (i.e. tolerated).
The beach is set on the small promontory of Trachili (the Neck). This, cloaked in a wonderful cedar forest (junipers in fact), divides the beach in two.
This is the first one encounters on the road. The large rock (volaka) which gives it its name is set at its east end. The beach is again pebbly and with a striking sea-floor.
Palaiochora, nicknamed the Bride of Libya, is a delightful town. It is built up on a peninsular which fronts the Libyan Sea and divides the seashore in front of the town into two large and attractive beaches. To the west is the welcoming Pacheia Ammos, extending for 2 km with golden sands...
This, the first, is situated at the mouth of the gorge of the same name, which begins 3 or so km inland at the village of Anhydroi (The Waterless Place). It is quite a large beach with thick sands and gorgeous turquoise waters. The scenery, especially to the east end, is particularly characterized...
This lovely spot is that of the old city of Lissos, in its lushly green valley setting. The beach is secluded, with sand, pebbles, rocks and deep waters; it is open to the strong south winds.
This lies at the mouth of the impressive gorge of Aghia Irini: an old city (once termed Syia, or the Place of Hogs), it too acted as a harbour-town for Elyros.
In the neighbourhood called Charei is the beach of Aghios Antonios. Secluded, it has pebbles, stones and rocks – ideal for fishing. It is not organized, but you can relax in the shade of pine trees that grow on all sides.
East of Trypiti, where the Kladi Gorge meets the Libyan sea, the beauty of the natural wilderness has melded with the unusual conglomerate-rock formations occurring where a river meets the sea – at Domata.
The village is located at the mouth of the Samaria Gorge, as it meets the Libyan Sea: it is built on the ancient city of Tara, but today is small and isolated, 56 km south of Chania.