Beaches in Chania

Beaches in Chania

The Chania prefecture encompasses some of the most famous and striking beaches in Crete. Heading east towards the peninsula of Akrotiri, nearby the airport and still plenty close to the city, you will find the sandy coves of Marathi. Here there is also a small islet that you can choose to swim to if you are feeling brave. Next to Marathi, the family-friendly beach of Loutraki offers another excellent option. Heading further north, you will be mesmerized by the remote beauty of Seitan Limani, a beach that has recently achieved cult status and become a favourite choice of visitors, despite the strenuous and challenging hike it takes to get there.

There are also options if you don’t wish to leave the city at all. On the west side of the old harbour, you can relax by Nea Chora beach and walk back to see the sunset over the lighthouse; keep walking to reach Agioi Apostoloi with the three small protected bays, perfect for the kids. This area has some great hotels as well, seaside restaurants, mini markets and all amenities, making it a great alternative to staying in the city.

But even when you choose to head out of the main centre, the distances are not that long. In one hour, (about 80 km) you can be lying on the southern coast, looking out towards the Libyan Sea, at Frangokastello beach, with golden sand and the Venetian fortress framing the scene. The west coast is where you will find Elafonisi, Falasarna and Balos Lagoon, as well as Sfinari, a lesser-known tranquil spot on the central part of the west coast. These are the beaches that have made Crete famous. Falasarna has been declared one of the best beaches in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the world. The turquoise waters of Elafonisi and pink-hued sand (from microorganisms in the corals) is part of a precious natural habitat that houses rare and protected plant life and animals. Balos on the northern end is an iconic spot, often featuring in brochures, with its unusual sea-lagoon and shallow blue-green waters.

In addition to the more well-known examples, there are plenty more beaches to discover. In the south, at the feet of the steep-sloped White Mountains, you will find beaches that can only be accessed by foot or by boat. Some of these are the sublime and majestic beaches of Domata, Agios Pavlos and Glyka Nera (Sweet Waters) that will take your breath away!

Ombros Gialos

Ombros Gialos

Ombros Gialos is a small cove, not quite a beach, with exquisite turquoise waters and a fascinating seabed, that is popular with divers. There is no sand, but large rocks that dip into the water but most people chose to jump straight in. It is located close to the villages of Kephala and Drapanos, east of Chania. The distance is about 40 km and will take visitors through the villages of Almyrida and Plaka as well. This is not an…

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Chrissi Akti Beach

Chrissi Akti Beach

Only 2.5 km from the city of Chania, Chrissi Akti beach consists of two sandy beaches with clear and shallow waters which are separated by a small hill. This is one of the most popular beaches in the area, and with good reason. Golden Beach (as Chrissi Acti translates to) boats, soft sand, plenty of space and plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. The west beach is organized with all the amenities: umbrellas, sunbeds, a lifeguard, facilities for water…

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Georgioupolis Beach

Georgioupolis Beach

Georgioupoli is one of the most popular seaside resorts, located 43 km east of Chania on the way to Rethymno. The beach of Georgioupoli is a sandy expanse of more than 12 km, with clear blue-green waters that drop away suddenly. They are known to be quite cold because this is where the river Almyros meets the sea. It is a very well organized beach with umbrellas, sunbeds and showers and lots of options for water sports enthusiasts. The beach…

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Gerani Beach

Gerani Beach

Gerani is located 13 km west of Chania, between Maleme and Platanias and according to some researchers could be the site of ancient Kydonia. Nowadays, Gerani is a popular resort that attracts international and domestic visitors. The beach has a length of more than 2.5 km and is inside the Gulf of Chania. To the east, Platanias, Agia Marina and Agioi Apostoloi are also popular destinations. Some parts of the beach attract loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta); visitors need to pay…

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Kalyvaki Beach

Kalyvaki Beach

Next to Georgioupoli, Kalyvaki beach requires a long walk from the tourist resort to the west, across the river of Almyros. Kalyvaki has sand, and cold waters. It is fully organized, and protected from wind and waves, compared to other local beaches. The area around Georgioupoli is blessed with countless bays and beaches to suit all preferences. While a popular area that attracts domestic and international visitors, it is also relaxed and retains an old school character and vibe. East…

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Kalyves Beach

Kalyves Beach

Located 19 km from Chania, Kalyves is a coastal village and a popular holiday destination for domestic and international visitors. The beach in front of the village, from which it takes its name, is a quiet bay with very shallow water, sand and a few trees to protect visitors from the sun. It is also fully organized, with sunbeds, umbrellas, and access to toilets. Various restaurants, cafes and bars are found in the area to provide snacks, and drinks during…

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Kavros Beach

Kavros Beach

Kavros is the name of the long beach that lies between Georgioupoli and Pyrgos. It is only 4 km east of Georgioupoli and is close to the Hotel of the same name. The area has seen strong tourist development, but less so than the neighbouring Georgioupolis. It is a sandy beach, with clear shallow waters, but unfortunately, because it is open to the winds, it often has quite strong waves. Visitors will have access to several amenities, including restaurants and…

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Kyani Akti Beach

Kyani Akti Beach

Kyani Akti is a fairly long and sandy beach with shallow waters. It is situated 18 km east of Chania and spans the area between the settlements of Kalives and Kalami. Parts of it are organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, offered by various beach bars owned by the hotels on the beachfront. It is a lively area full of canteens and restaurants, with easy access to snacks, coffee or food. There are also plenty of water sport activities on offer….

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Kolymbari Beach

Kolymbari Beach

Kolymbari is a seaside village that has witnessed a lot of tourist development in recent years. It is located 24 km from Chania, on the edge of Rodopou peninsula, at the westernmost point of the Bay of Chania. It is a very long beach with both sand and pebbles and it has relatively deep waters. The beach is organized and open to the northerly and westerly winds. This is a great spot for a leisurely walk or dinner with a…

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Koutalas Beach

Koutalas Beach

A small, secluded beach with pebbles and stones, ideal for those seeking seclusion – but with no amenities. Koutalas is 25 km from Chania and 1 km from Kokkino Chorio, on the edge of Cape Drapanos. It is suitable for fishing and a quiet swim, as long as you bring what you need with you since there are no facilities. The seabed is quite rocky and active, meaning sea urchins might make an appearance. It is recommended to bring proper…

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Maleme Beach

Maleme Beach

Maleme is a sandy beach on the west side of Chania but is mostly known for the World War II German Military Cemetery, and the place German paratroopers landed in. The area is also of archaeological interest, and a Late Minoan tholos tomb is located nearby. The distance from the cemetery to the site is less than a 5-minute walk. Unfortunately, the tomb was looted some time in the 20th century and later damaged due to the bombing during World…

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Menies – Diktenna & Agios Georgios Beach

Menies – Diktenna & Agios Georgios Beach

Menies, on the east side of the Rhodope Cape, looking over the Gulf of Chania is a remote part of Crete island that is seldom visited by tourists. Here, Between the sheltered bays, we find two quiet beaches – Diktenna and Aghios Georgios. The area is 45 km from Chania and the path, after the village of Rodopos, is mostly on dirt roads. Diktenna A lovely beach with sand alternating with pebbles, and crystalline waters that deepen suddenly. Sheltered by…

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Moni Gonias Beach

Moni Gonias Beach

A visit to the Monastery of Panagia Odigitria, or Moni Gonias, as it is locally known, on the southeast flank of the Rhodope Cape, should include a soothing swim at the beach in front of the monastery or one of the small coves nearby. The monastery started being built in 1618 and was completed in 1634, just in time for the Ottoman Occupation that began in 1645. Just like most other Orthodox Christian monasteries on the island, it suffered greatly…

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Platanias Beach

Platanias Beach

From all the villages in the area west of Chania, Platanias is the one most known for its nightlife. With many top rated resorts, hotels, and apartments, as well as traditional tavernas, restaurants and cafe-bars, Platanias has everything visitors could need for their holiday. Moreover, banks, chemists, medical centres and supermarkets are not more than a short walk away. The area is popular with international and domestic travellers, but also locals as it is well connected with public transport from…

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Rapaniana Beach

Rapaniana Beach

The beach of Rapaniana is a small part of the beach that starts at Kolymbari and extends for several kilometres towards Chania. It is 4 km from Kolymbari and 20 km from Chania and spans the settlements of Platanias, Agia Marina, Stalos, and Agioi Apostoloi among others. The eastern coast between Chania and Kolymbari is characterized by hotels, resorts and various other accommodation options, tourist shops, restaurants, activities and beach bars. The area is a favourite with international and local…

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Stalos Beach

Stalos Beach

As with the rest of the villages in this area, Stalos has experienced strong tourism growth. The beach of Stalos has sand and clear waters. It is fully organized and connected by public bus transport to the city of Chania. If you are here for a swim, you can also visit the picturesque village of Pano Stalos. From Chania, the distance to Stalos is less than 10 km. A lot of people that stay near the city centre, may even…

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Stavros Beach Akrotiri

Stavros Beach Akrotiri

On the northwest flank of the Akrotiri peninsula, we find the beach of Stavros (meaning “Cross”). This is a sheltered bay with soft sand and turquoise waters, close enough to the city of Chania but still under the radar of most visitors. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers and a lifeguard and plenty of activities including water-sports. It was here that Michalis Kakoyiannis filmed ‘Zorba’, based on the book by famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. The film received…

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Almyrida Beach

Almyrida Beach

Almyrida is a seaside resort, located 23 km from Chania. It has two small sandy beaches separated by a small peninsula. The water is clean, calm and shallow, making it perfect for families with children. There are also facilities for water sports and other tourist attractions. You will have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fish at the tavernas on the beach, after of course visiting the ruins of the Christian basilica excavated at the entrance of the village and admiring…

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Agioi Apostoloi Beach

Agioi Apostoloi Beach

One of the most popular and easily accessible beaches in Chania is Agioi Apostoloi. Located 4 km east of the city centre in the area of Daratso, this is an area popular with holiday-goers, with plenty of accommodation options and a variety of restaurants, shops and amenities located nearby. The Old National Road Kissamou – Chanion is lined with hotels and room-to-let signs and is a long stretch of beaches until you reach Kolymvari.  Agioi Apostoli is practically a cluster…

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Agia Marina Beach – Chania

Agia Marina Beach – Chania

Agia Marina is a seaside village with significant tourist development. It is 9 km from Chania and 2.5 km from Platanias and is nestled between the beaches of Agioi Apostoloi and Gerani. Gerani could be the site of ancient Kydonia and as such is of significant archaeological significance. This part of the beach is preferred by the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) as a nesting place. So if you come here, be cautious of any markings that should not be disturbed….

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Sougia Beach

Sougia Beach

One of the most popular beaches on the southern coast of Greece, Sougia lies between Paleochora and Agia Roumeli. A scenic fishing village, Sougia retains the charm that made it popular with hippies in previous generations and the relaxing vibe that makes visitors forget their worries and return year after year. Sougia lies at the mouth of the impressive gorge of Agia Irini. This was an old city, once named Syia, or the place of Hogs and it acted as…

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Lissos Beach

Lissos Beach

This lovely spot is where the old city of Lissos once stood, in a lushly green valley setting on the southern coast of Crete island. In between Sougia and Paleochora, Lissos can be reached on foot through the gorge of Lissos or you can always take a ferry. The beach is also accessible by car, either from Sougia (30 km) or Palaiochora (20 km). The waters of this protected bay are a striking turquoise colour, with small pebbles and rock…

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Domata, Fournoti & Kalogeros Beaches

Domata, Fournoti & Kalogeros Beaches

East of Trypiti, between Sougia and Agia Roumeli, where the Kladi Gorge meets the Libyan sea, we find the beauty of the natural wilderness and the distinctive rock formations that is Domata. Domata Beach This area gets its name from the three terraces that have formed on the slope, achieving a landscape of unique physical beauty. The terraces resemble roof-lines (which relates to its Greek name). Pebbles of all shapes and sizes surround the beach that offers crystal clear waters….

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Agios Pavlos Beach

Agios Pavlos Beach

The beach of Agios Pavlos is one of the most striking landscapes in south Crete and is set at the mouth of the Elygia Gorge. The small church of Agios Pavlos, which has given its name to the beach, has stood here since the early 11th century AD, when Agios Ioannis Xenos, one of the most influential people in Cretan history, built it in honour of Saint Paul the Apostle who was shipwrecked here on his way to Rome. After…

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Agios Antonios & Trypiti Beach

Agios Antonios & Trypiti Beach

Agios Antonios On the southern coast of Crete island, in an area called Charei, is the beach of Agios Antonios. It is one of the most remote and secluded beaches on the island, with pebbles, stones and small rocks and is ideal for fishing. It is not organized, but you can relax in the shade of pine trees that grow on all sides and enjoy the peace and solitude. If you visit around the 1st of July, it is worth…

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Pervolakia, Glyka Nera & Ilingas

Pervolakia, Glyka Nera & Ilingas

Pervolakia and Timios Stavros On the southern coast of Crete, between Chora Sfakion and Loutro, three consecutive bays house three small beaches. The two westernmost are known as Pervolakia – Small and Large, whilst the one on the east is Timios Stavros (the Holy Cross). Isolated and inaccessible by road (they can be reached on the E4 Walking Trail), they have small pebbles and rocks and are favoured by nudists. Quite undeveloped, they often lack natural shade. Glyka Nera Beach…

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Marmara, Lykos & Finikas Beach

Marmara, Lykos & Finikas Beach

On the southern coast of Crete, west of the town of Loutro, we find a bay with three beautiful beaches. Beginning our exploration, we can move from west to east, and discover those inaccessible by road. Marmara Beach The beach of Marmara (meaning marble) is located at the exit of the stunning Aradena Gorge. A most suitable name considering the layers of white marble and otherworldly appearance of the rocks that surround it. There is no road access to Marmara…

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Loutro Beach

Loutro Beach

Loutro is a small fishing village on the southern coast of Crete, built low against a sloping terrain, looking out towards the Libyan Sea. It is a charming village, dominated by the colours white, blue and indigo, and as such feels more like an island in the Cyclades. Its name means “bath” and originates from the ruins of the baths that were located here, and are still visible today. Loutro was the port of the ancient city of Anopoli, and…

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Filaki & Vritomartis Beach

Filaki & Vritomartis Beach

On the southern coast of Crete, west of Chora Sfakion, we come across two beautiful, and relatively unknown beaches that are frequented by those that prefer swimming in the nude! Vritomartis Vritomartis was the ancient Minoan goddess of hunting and mountains and was worshipped in this region. The beaches around this area are secluded, with pebbles and stones and relatively exposed to the south winds. Crystal clear and refreshing waters welcome you as you take in the view of the…

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Krios Beach and Lake Krios

Krios Beach and Lake Krios

Cape Krios is located on the southwestern tip of Crete island west of Paleochora. Krios Beach This is a beautiful beach, relatively undeveloped and unknown to visitors in the area. It is a place suited to rest and solitude, with crystal clear waters and small pebbles. The beach stretches on for quite a long way which is why it is often thought of as three distinct beaches. On the west part of the main beach, we find an idyllic and…

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Grammeno Votsalo & Kountoura Beach

Grammeno Votsalo & Kountoura Beach

East of Krios Cape, on the road to Palaiochora, we find the villages of Agia Kyriaki and Gialos. Here, there is an especially pretty beach called Grammeno Votsalo (or the Inscribed Pebble but it is most often referred to simply as “Grammeno“). The name comes from the multi-coloured pebbles found on the beach, which are so streaked and veined with various minerals that seem as though they have words written on them. Grammeno Votsalo is set on a small mass…

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Anydri & Gialiskari Beach

Anydri & Gialiskari Beach

On the southern coast of Crete between Palaiochora and Sougia, we find the stunning beaches of Anydri and Gialiskari. Starting in Palaiochora, we drive east towards the Gulf of Selino until we pass Camping Paleochora. After about 4 km, we spot the two sandy stretches of land. Anydri beach Just like most beaches on the southern coast of Crete, in the region of Chania, Anydri is secluded and reaching it will take some planning and a bit of patience. It…

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Elafonissi Beach

Elafonissi Beach

If there is one beach visitors are often aware of in Crete, it is Elafonissi. Recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, countless times, it is a unique experience and enchants everyone that visits. It would be fair to say that Elafonissi is an emblem of the island, and is featured on countless postcards. It is to be found just 80 km from Chania and 43 km from Kastelli, next to the monastery of Panagia Chrysoskalitissa. According…

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Frangokastello Beach

Frangokastello Beach

Frangokastello beach is huge, with massive sand dunes, and shallow turquoise waters all beneath the towering walls of the Venetian fort. The fort and this beach are in a small plain southeast of the White Mountains to the south of Chania. Frangokastelo is well-known for its Venetian fortress that dates back to the 4th century which witnessed scenes of bloodshed during a battle in 1828 between the Cretan guerrilla leaders who had taken refuge here and the Turks. During this…

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Orthi Ammos Beach

Orthi Ammos Beach

In the region of Sfakia, on the southern coast of Crete, we find the beach of Orthi Ammos (meaning “standing sand”). It owes its name to the lofty sand-dunes that surround it. Just like most of the beaches on southern Crete, Orthi Ammos is relatively quiet, with crystal clear and icy waters, that open up towards the Libyan Sea. The closest town is Frangokastello to the west; you can reach it by driving south from Chania through the villages of…

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Agios Ioannis – Sarakiniko

Agios Ioannis – Sarakiniko

The beach of Agios Ioannis in Gavdos is smaller than that of the popular Sarakiniko nearby and less well known. The beach and area are completely unspoilt, with no infrastructure, so you will have to plan and bring everything, including water and food with you. A small taverna (Sophia’s) operates during the summer months but it is best to ask ahead to avoid surprises. The water is clear and shallow; the beach ends in dunes with cedar trees that offer…

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Imeri Gramvousa

Imeri Gramvousa

Imeri Gramvousa is one of two rocky islets off the northwest side of Crete island, that lies two nautical miles from Balos lagoon. During the summer season boats run daily from Kastelli Kisamou to the small island – 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. While on the island, do not miss the chance to visit the famous castle that dominates the highest…

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Sfinari & Platanakia Beach

Sfinari & Platanakia Beach

Sfinari The beach of Sfinari in the prefecture of Chania is a tranquil spot, ideal for relaxing family holidays. In addition to its beach, the village is known for its fish taverns. It is located at a distance of 60 km from Chania and 32 km from Kastelli Kissamos. It is the perfect choice for those keen on diving, because of its magnificent and lively sea-bed. On the surface, it is far quieter, with calm waters and soft sand or…

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Falassarna Beach

Falassarna Beach

Falassarna has been declared one of the best beaches in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the world. In effect, Falassarna is a long stretch of sand that runs on for more than 3 km. The main beach is Pachia Ammos (Deep Sands), it is about 1 kilometre in length and made up of soft white sand and turquoise waters. The whole area has been established as a tourist destination and has all the necessary amenities including sun-beds…

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Agia Roumeli Beach

Agia Roumeli Beach

Τhe village of Agia Roumeli is located at the mouth of Samaria Gorge, 56 km south of Chania, where the land meets the Libyan Sea. This was the location of the ancient city of Tara, but today is small and fairly isolated. Up until 1954, the village was situated some 2 km north of its present position within the gorge itself, but after serious flooding was destroyed. Today, amidst lush scenery, the ruins of the old houses stand alongside those…

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Kedrodasos Beach

Kedrodasos Beach

The southwesternmost part of Crete island is characterized by narrow and windy roads, lush forests and small picturesque bays that are formed like magic where the rugged mountains meet the coast. South of Elafonisi is an area of wild and remarkable beauty called Kedrodasos or the Forest of Cedars. Reaching this area can be tiresome but worth it, as so many visitors can attest to. Elafonisi is arguably one of the most popular and well-known beaches on the island and…

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