The most beautiful beaches of Crete

What are the most beautiful beaches in Crete? Crete, as befits the largest Greek island, offers many types of beaches — sandy, pebble, rocky, favorable for walking, or hidden in a remote bay. This article describes the most beautiful beaches on the island, which are worth a visit.

Vai Beach

This is one of the most recognizable beaches of Crete, it is also called “The Caribbean”. This is the merit of palm trees, more precisely, a palm grove. There is a special kind of Cretan palm tree, which has several trunks growing from one root. So you can feel like in the Dominican Republic or Cuba. In addition, there is a sandy beach, crystal clear water, and a beautiful observation deck.

Vai Beach is located in the eastern part of the island. The journey from the center takes up to three hours by car, but the difficulties of traveling are compensated by the beautiful views. On the way, you can stop at Agios Nikolaos, Istron, Sitia, and Moni Toplu Monastery. Wai Beach is probably known to many of you from an old advertisement for Bounty bars.

Golden beach on the island of Chrissi

There are more than 60 islands off the coast of Crete, most of which are uninhabited. One of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists is the “Golden Island of Chrissie”, which lies a few miles south of the city of Ierapetra (the southernmost city in Europe and the fourth largest in Crete). The trip from there takes about an hour, the boats depart from 10 to 11 in the morning and return around 17:30. The so-called golden beach on the island is considered one of the most beautiful in Crete. Its charm lies, first of all, in the crystal clear and turquoise waters. Chrissi is located in the Libyan Sea and has a length of 5 km and a width of 1 km.

The island is covered with cedar forest, where the average age of the trees is from 200 to 300 years. There is no infrastructure on the island, except for one tavern, which is in any season. Therefore, recreation here mainly consists of sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, walking, and admiring beautiful shells. This is an ideal place for those who crave communication with nature and appreciate such places.

Elafonisi Beach

Almost every person who comes to Crete has heard about the “pink sand beach” and asks how to get to it. Elafonisi is located on the southwestern part of the island, and the road to it from the eastern part of the island (for example, from Malia or Hersonissos) takes up to 5-6 hours. However, it is worth a visit, relaxing in the vicinity of Rethymno or Chania — the road by car will take a little more than an hour. Ideal conditions for swimming have been created here: fine sand, shimmering pink near the shore, and clear, unclouded water. The youngest visitors will also enjoy swimming and walking in shallow water.

Matala Beach

One of the beaches of Crete, which once received recognition from hippies. The charm of Matala is evidenced by the massive rock that surrounds it from the eastern side. In Roman times, tombs were carved in it, which years later became a haven for hippies who came to this place. The nature of this place is still evidenced by the spray-painted inscriptions “Today is life, tomorrow will never come”, appearing here and there. Until 17:00 you can enter the tombs (but only at your own risk and with extreme caution). The beach itself is pebbly, and the entrance to the water is steep and obstructed by rock slabs.

Balos Beach and Gramvousa Island

Another unique place on the west coast is Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon. The safest and most common way to get to these places is to first drive to Kissamos, and then take a cruise lasting about an hour to Gramvousa Island. After mooring, you will have about two hours left. Most people at this time prefer to climb the rocky path to the fortress, which offers a beautiful view of the emerald lagoon below. Those who do not want to strain themselves can stay below and take a dip, as well as watch the wreckage of a stranded ship from the beach. From there you can still swim to the beautiful Balos beach, from where you can climb to the most beautiful viewpoint of the entire lagoon. The view is breathtaking. This is a place you should see at least once.

How to get to Balos Beach by car

It is recommended to visit Balos Beach by car, but the trip will not be the most pleasant. At the end of the village of Kissamos, turn right — the gravel road, often winding and steep, stretches for 9 kilometers. During the trip, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Cretan goats, and at the end, you will have a fabulous view of the entire lagoon. Leaving the car in the parking lot, you will need to walk down a few more minutes — it’s tedious, but it’s worth it!

Preveli Beach

This is another rarity on the “beach map” of Crete. Preveli very often appears even on the cover of guidebooks on the island. However, it should be recognized that it is quite difficult to get to it, and it is poorly marked. The peculiarity of this place is evidenced by the river flowing into the sea, which passes through a gorge densely overgrown with palm trees. The most convenient way to get there is a cruise from a small resort in the south — Agia Galini (the boat departs at 10:30 in the morning).

Another option is to drive by car — head towards the monastery of Preveli and take the gravel road to the parking lot (exit about 1 km to the monastery). From there you will descend into the gorge. Those who are afraid to go down can at least get to the observation deck.

Sandy beaches of Crete

In addition to the beaches described above, it is worth mentioning those that may not stand out in any way, but offer excellent conditions for swimming and walking: the long sandy beach of Georgioupolis, Malia beach (behind the archaeological complex, 3 km from the center), Anissaras (between Gouves and Hersonissos), as well as the beaches of Istron, Kalamaki and Falassarna.

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