Crete Beaches

Agiofarago Beach

Crete has over 1000 kilometres of coastline to offer, along which you will find beaches to cater for every taste: beaches with endless stretches of sand, beaches made up only of pebbles; some organized and cosmopolitan in tone, others yet deserted and pristine; beaches suited to camping, beaches for diving and scuba enthusiasts, fishing and water-sports.

The endless coastline and numerous coves, bays and lagoons around the island make it almost impossible to list every single one of them. Starting with the northern side, and most accessible part of the island, it is easy to see that it creates one long stretch of beaches, one after the other.

The southern coast is a bit harder to reach, with access to some beaches only possible if you hike, through mountainous terrain. If you base yourself in one of the main urban centres, Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia and Ierapetra, you will have plenty of choices within walking distance or a short drive away. In Chania, you can even swim near the harbour, even though most locals and visitors will prefer the sandy coves of Golden Beach near Agioi Apostoli that stretches west.

Visitors that are looking for a more remote experience will not be disappointed either. If this is the case, it is best to rent a four-wheel or 4×4 car for peace of mind through the more mountainous and bumpy terrain. Some rental companies even have specific clauses that prevent visitors to drive conventional cars to Balos or other dirt roads.

Swimming in the Mediterranean is a completely different experience from the rough ocean seas. The water is like a warm embrace throughout the summer but also up until October, and most beaches are kids friendly and perfect for snorkelling. There are a lot of diving and surfing spots around the island too, however, that you will soon discover.

It is impossible to pick the best beaches on the island, so we will leave it to you to find your favourite one. You can explore our in-depth guides of beaches in each different region here:

Gouves Beach

Gouves Beach

Gouves is a seaside tourist destination, located about 18 km from Heraklion on the northern coast of Crete island. It is an ideal spot for quiet family holidays and has all the necessary infrastructure you will need. The beaches of Gouves are small, sandy, with shallow and warm waters, perfect for families with young children. Most of the beach is well organized and protected from the winds by small artificial breakwaters. The area has many restaurants, hotels, shops and cafes…

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Gournes Beach

Gournes Beach

Gournes is a tourist village located between Kokkini Hani and Gouves, some 16 km from Heraklion. It consists of a series of small sandy coves that are open to the winds; breakwaters prevent the waves from causing too much erosion. The largest beach in the area is located in front of the now-abandoned US military base of Gournes. The base is what prompted the development of the area, which had until then been a quiet sleepy village. There are no…

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Kokkini Hani Beach

Kokkini Hani Beach

Kokkini Hani is a coastal tourist development, 15 km from Heraklion, found to the east of Vatheianos Kampos. It has many beaches – large and small, with sand and shallow waters, which are affected by the strong north winds that frequently blow. The area is easily accessible from the Old National Road from Heraklion to Malia and Agios Nikolaos. As you pass through this area, you can take various exits that lead to various different spots on the coast. The…

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Vatheianos Kampos Beach

Vatheianos Kampos Beach

The area of Vathianos Kampos is located 15 km east of Heraklion. This expanse of land takes its name from the Vatheiano River, which flows through the plain in the winter towards the beach. There are two settlements here, Epano/Upper and Kato/Lower Vatheia that lie close to each other. The beach of Vathianos Kampos is one of the most well known and popular on the north coast of the Heraklion prefecture. The westernmost part has taken its name from a…

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Karteros Beach

Karteros Beach

Karteros beach is located right next to Heraklion airport, in a small bay that forms on its west side. This is about 7 km from the town itself and the beach is in total about 1 km long. It has soft sand, and shallow clean waters and is popular primarily with locals. It is organized in some places, where there are hotels and beach bars with a young clientele. Karteros, just like most other beaches on the northern coast of…

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Ammoudara Beach

Ammoudara Beach

One of the most popular beaches near Heraklion, that is easily accessible to most visitors and a great option if you don’t want to travel far. Ammoudara is a vast sandy beach that stretches from the western boundaries of the city of Heraklion and extends east to the mouth of the River Almyros. It has shallow waters, and most parts are organized. You can also find quiet stretches of sand if you so prefer. The beach is located right in…

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Mades Beach

Mades Beach

Mades is a small bay 20 km west of Heraklion located in the coastal settlement of the same name. The beach is pebbly, the water clear and a beautiful seabed is there for underwater exploration, so don’t forget to bring your mask. This is a popular area, but much less crowded than nearby Agia Pelagia, with all the amenities and infrastructure visitors will need. In the village you will find lovely tavernas, shops, and various accommodation options. Alternatively, you can…

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Lygaria Beach

Lygaria Beach

The bay of Lygaria is home to the second largest organized beach in the Agia Pelagia district, and it takes about 25-30 minutes to get there from Heraklion. This long coarse sandy beach, located at the east end of the region (east of Agia Pelagia beach, the area’s main beach), is always quieter than its neighboring bays, particularly during the week.Except on weekends, as the locals from nearby Heraklion come, it is always a lot of fun, so it is…

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Agia Pelagia Beach

Agia Pelagia Beach

Agia Pelagia is one of the most popular summer destinations in the Heraklion prefecture. It is located 21 km from Heraklion and has a long beach, more than 450 m in length, with fine sand. The beautiful setting, crystalline waters and calmness of the sea, attracts a lot of visitors, so it is often busy. The area is also relatively protected from the northerly winds and fully organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, a lifeguard, and a plethora of water-sports. For…

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Psaromoura Beach

Psaromoura Beach

About 22 km west from Heraklion, and only walking distance from the coastal settlement of Agia Pelagia, is a small, enclosed cove called Psaromoura. While it is a small and quiet place, it attracts a wide range of visitors and is slowly picking up in popularity. The beach has soft sand, pebbles and crystal clear waters. It is also fully organized with umbrellas, sunbeds and showers, as well as a canteen for a snack and a drink. For those wishing…

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Mononaftis Beach

Mononaftis Beach

Mononaftis beach is 23 km from the city of Heraklion and just 1 km from the popular coastal settlement of Agia Pelagia. It is a beautiful beach, about 80 m long, with crystal clear waters that gradually deepen, soft sand, a few pebbles and a rocky bottom in some places, ideal for those that want to combine their swim with a bit of fishing and diving. As the beach is located in an open bay surrounded by rocks, it is…

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Beaches in North Crete

Beaches in North Crete

Crete is blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate and long hot summers ideal for lounging on the beach. The northern coast of Crete is home to the largest cities and most popular beach destinations on the island. This is where most visitors will arrive either by plane, in Chania or Heraklion, or by ferry. Whether you choose to base yourself on the west side, in Chania or head to Eastern Crete, towards Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, you will be spoilt…

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Beaches in South Crete

Beaches in South Crete

The beaches on the southern coast of Crete island are known for their solitary and rugged character, perfect for visitors looking to unwind and avoid the crowds. From wild and dramatic mountainscapes to intimate coves and stretches of golden sand, there is something here for everyone. Most visitors will arrive in Heraklion or Chania, either by plane or ferry, after which you can drive south. Depending on where you are located, it will take about an hour to reach the…

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03 Sfinari – Kefali

03 Sfinari – Kefali

Sfinari is a small fishing village on the west coast of Crete island, in the regional unit of Chania. It is located 56 km from Chania and 18 km from Kissamos. Right by the water, the beach of Sfinari is a quiet bay with a small sandy and pebbly beach and cold refreshing waters. You can also reach the village by bus. This route will take you south towards Kefali village, which is on the way to Elafonissi beach. There…

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