Greece’s largest island, Crete, provides hundreds of beautiful beaches that draws crowds in the summer months. Below are just five of my favorites, plus some extra suggestions for you to check out on your next visit to Crete. Do you have a favorite? Please comment and share 🙂
Falassarna Beach: I’ve taken some of my best photos on Falassarna, catching shots of the big waves and vibrant skies. My favorite beach in all of Crete, Falassarna stretches far along the coast and makes an especially nice spot for sunset lovers since the beach faces west. There’s no need for an Instagram filter or Photoshop, the natural beauty of Falassarna does all the work.
Elafonisi: The early bird gets the worm, or better, a sunbed to lie on at the always-crowded Elafonisi beach. Don’t let the crowds deter you, though. Elafonisi is one of the most sought-out beaches in the world for good reason: the pretty pink sand contrasts brilliantly with the tranquil turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Do visit, but be diligent in picking up after yourself so others can enjoy the same clean and colorful environment that you did.
Balos: You haven’t visited Crete until you’ve sunk your toes in the white powdery sand of Balos beach. Relax and wade into the shallow blue lagoon or venture to the small uninhabited island of Gramvousa, opposite the coast. The top of Gramvousa offers a great view of the dreamy lagoon below, and visitors can walk along the remains of a 16th century Venetian fortress. Access Balos via a rocky track road, or by ferry from either Kissamos or Chania Town.
Vai: Vai gives off serious Caribbean vibes with 5,000 trees surrounding the shore and crystal clear water as far as the eyes can see. Vai boasts the largest palm tree forest in Europe. The Phoenix theophrasti (Cretan date palm) does not offer up coconuts but a normally-inedible fruit consumed only by a few daring locals.
Seitan Limania: Don’t let the name (satanic/evil harbor) mislead you—this virtuous beach, nestled in a small canyon, offers deep blue waters, warm white sand and scenic surroundings. Be warned though, you must work for this beach by climbing (or scrambling) down 200 meters’ worth of steep rocky hill. The climb is well worth it, you won’t be disappointed. Do note, there are no food vendors at this beach so be sure to pack snacks before you descend.
Other notable beaches: Paleochora, Sougia, Chrisi Akti, Platanias, Glyka Nera, Matala, Rodakino . . . basically, head to the shore and you’ll land on a great spot. You just can’t go wrong when it comes to the beaches of Crete.
Images provided by Tony Kariotis, from iamgreece.net