Back in July, we went to Crete for 10 days. It was our first time there and we loved it. The number of beaches to visit in Crete that are beautiful is amazing. Nick and I went to Greece for the first time a year ago when we stayed in Rhodes. We went for our 11th Wedding Anniversary so we didn’t bring the girls. Whilst there, we also visited Symi. This year we really needed a family holiday after all that was happening with COVID19. We’re so glad we did because the girls absolutely loved it and have asked us every day if we can go back. Bless them!
Crete is a big island with so many gorgeous beaches to visit. Apparently, it is considered to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. A lot of the beaches to visit in Crete are perfect for families. While we were there, we tried to visit as many beaches as we could. Each of them blew us away! Each beach that we visited had its own charm and they are all definitely worth a visit.
Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Crete
I thought I would make a list of beaches to visit in Crete that we went to which could be helpful if you are planning to travel to Crete in the future.
Our accommodation was in Rethymno and the coast has amazing beaches. The beach in front of us was Platanias and it was 2 minutes walk from our accommodation, so this was the first beach we visited. It is a beautiful sandy beach and very well organised. You can see several Greek taverns offering local food and drinks.
We enjoyed the most amazing sunsets here. It was interesting to see a few people gathering just to see the sunset. Because it is a long beach (about 4km) you always feel you have your own space so it wasn’t crowded at all.
On our 3rd day in Crete, we hired a car with a sunroof, perfect to explore nearby beaches. We were recommended to drive to the south of the island as apparently the sea is more transparent and has more sand. We didn’t want to go too far for our first trip so we went to Plakias beach. It was beautiful. The only thing is that it was a little bit windy when we visited but despite that, we had a lovely day out.
Plakias has a sandy beach with wonderful clean waters and is very organised. You can find sunbeds, umbrellas, various sea sports, hotels, rooms for rent, taverns, cafes and restaurants. Definitely a lovely area to visit.
3. SCHINARIA BEACH
Schinaria beach was very close to Plakias and we visited on the same day, so it was very windy too. This beach is also very beautiful and the sea was very calm. It was very lovely to have a swim with the girls. The water was very clear. The beach is small but the view is so pretty.
The beach lies in a natural bay formed by two rock formations on both sides. We liked the friendly atmosphere. After an hour the wind was getting stronger so we decided to go to the nearby Tarverna called Pantelis where you can have a fantastic view of the beach. We had some sandwiches and ice cream.
Also, if you like snorkelling, this is the place to be as they have a perfect spot for this. When we arrived there was a group of people getting into the sea to go scuba diving. You can find a variety of fishes.
On our 4th day we went to Elafonisi. So many people recommended us to visit, so we had to explore it too. It took us about 2 hours to get there from Rethymno. We arrived near noon and it was understandably busy but apparently not as busy as other years of course which was an advantage for us. The sunbeds were €3 for the day.
Elafonisi beach is located close to the southwestern corner of Crete. It is well known for its pure white sands. In certain light, you can see the pink sand caused by the coral that over time has been broken down by Mother Nature. We were able to see the pink sand and it was gorgeous.
Elafonisi is a small islet connected to the rest of Crete by a shallow reef that can be crossed when the sea is calm. This islet lies 82 km northwest of Chania town and can be reached by boat from Paleohora or by car from the village of Vathi, until a point and then cross the reef.
The abundance of calm shallow water areas makes the beach particularly child friendly. My girls were so comfortable here. They played in the water for hours. It has a sandy beach with crystal clear water. You can see small fish swimming around which the girls found fascinating.
This place is literally paradise. The most gorgeous beach I have ever seen in a long time! I highly recommend it.
5. BALOS LAGOON, KISSAMOS
We were so impressed with Elafonisi that we were determined to find another similar beach. Our Crete friends recommended us to visit Balos which is actually a lagoon rather than just a beach as they said it wouldn’t disappoint.
Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and 17km northwest of Kissamos. It took us 2 hours driving to reach from Rethymno. We drove on the dirt road, starting from Kaliviani and running along the Cape Gramvousa. Near Kaliviani we paid a small fee (2 Euros for 2 adults) for the protection of the Gramvousa Reserve and preservation of the road. After 10km the road stops at a wide parking area, next to a canteen, just over the lagoon.
After 10 minutes walking, we were able to see a panoramic view of Balos and the island of the Gramvousa. This view is STUNNING. From this point, we had to walk down a 1km long path leading to the beach. It took us about 34 minutes to go down the hill.
Balos is the most beautiful beach in Crete together with Elafonisi. It is famous for its wild nature, turquoise waters and white sands. The water is shallow which makes it perfect for kids.
Returning to our car was very hard. It was very tiring due to the inclination and the heat. We had to stop many times to recover our breath and have some water. It was definitely a big adventure and we didn’t know it was going to be such a big walk but despite everything, it was 100% worth it. The place is gorgeous.
6. VARKOTOPOS BEACH IN BALI
On another day, we also visited Varkotopos beach, a small popular and busy beach in the resort of Bali. The beach itself is located in a picturesque bay with golden colour sand and clear water, which is rather shallow for a good distance.
Sunbeds were available to hire, €7 for 2 beds and an umbrella. This is ideal for families with young children because you can find a big inflatable play area on the sea. It has slides and a diving platform. It was €7 for an hour or €12 for all day. We booked 1 hour for Sienna and Nick and she loved it. It was a lot of fun.
They also had paddleboards for €15. We didn’t hire them but we thought it was cool to do on another day. It has a sandy beach and crystal clear water as is the case with most beaches in Bali. The beach is really cosy, surrounded by great restaurants and eye-catching cliffs. And there are no waves. The water temperature tends to be on the cooler side but that is okay as it is very hot anyway.
One of the highlights of this beach is that it is easily reachable by car or public transit. Bali is located between Heraklion and Rethymnon and is comprised of a few small beaches in a small cove. Varkotopos is pretty small. It has 3 rows of chairs and umbrellas.
7. AGIA PELAGIA
For our last full day in Crete, we wanted to explore another beach. We didn’t want to go too far so we checked a list of beaches to visit in Crete recommended by our friend who is from the island, so we decided to go to Agia Pelagia. It was about an hour to get there by car from Rethymno.
The journey was lovely actually. I enjoyed the ride. Agia Pelagia was originally a traditional fishing village. But now it is known as a seaside resort. It has a narrow beach and it is set in a protected bay. It is not very big and it is filled with lounge chairs. It is very popular for jet skiing and scuba diving. The water is beautiful and clear. My girls really loved this beach – they stayed in the water for hours.
We had such a lovely time in Crete that we didn’t want to leave. It is always sad to leave a place when you have had a wonderful time. We would definitely like to go back to revisit some of these as well as to find some new ones. We’ll then let you know if we find more beaches to visit in Crete!
For more inspirations of where to travel next, check out The Works travel guides with lots of beautiful places to discover in your next trip.
Have you been to Crete? Which one is your favourite beach? What other beaches to visit in Crete would you recommend?
Thanks for stopping by,
Love you all ❤️
Lydia C. Lee says
That looks so beautiful! We alas are not going anywhere soon – not even interstate at the moment!! So supremely jealous of your pics! #KCACOLS
We were lucky to manage to travel but I don’t think this will be possible to do anymore. At least not for a while. Hope things improve in Australia.
Wow you were so lucky to squeeze in your holiday! It looks amazing. We visited Crete quite a few years ago and it was so lovely 🙂 Can’t remember which beaches we went to haha! #kcacols
Beautiful. Over the past month we finally were able to get out and spend some time at the beach finally. There’s just nothing like the ocean #KCACOLS
I’ve read about the beaches in Crete and your post is making them more irresistible. We live in the U.S., and the best beaches I’ve been to here are the Coronado beach in California and the Fort de Soto beach in Florida.
Helen Copson says
I remember watching your Instagram stories and being SO jealous! They are just stunning, all of them. The water is incredible. I bet you had the best time. #KCACOLS
Rosie Doal says
Greece is one of my fave places to holiday but sadly I’ve never done it with my hubby and kkids. Just on girl trips. I think Crete should be next on our list for a family holiday x #KCACOLS
Fiona Cambouropoulos says
I wanted to go back to Crete this year. May be next year travel will be an optiona gain #KCACOLS
Shelley Whittaker (Wander & Luxe) says
All of these beaches look absolutely incredible! I hope that we can visit Crete whilst we are UK living … and if we do I will most definitely be referring back to this post! #KCACOLS
Wow the sea is beautiful and clear x #kcacols
Jade Page says
Stunning beaches, I am dreaming about a holiday on a beach with the stunning colour of the sea it has been far too long # KCACOLS
Looks beautiful – I just hope we might get out of this country at some point! #kcacols
Steve (Thediaryofdad) says
Wow Crete just looks so beautiful and it’s made me a little jealous having cancelled my Summer holiday.
Hope you had a great time out there though, definitely worse places to explore!
Liberty Henwick says
Wow all of those beaches look idyllic, I am amazed by how clear the water is. I like the sound of the lagoon and the shallow beaches for smaller children and the snorkeling for older ones. We haven’t been to Crete but this has whetted my appetite. #kcacols
Wow those photos are stunning. I really want a holiday someone sunny with beautiful beaches. Dark nights rolling in now so time to fantasise about these holidays haha x #kcacols
Carol Thomas says
We hsve done Crete, Zante, Corfu, Skiathos, Cyprus and Santorini. Loved them all. Crete is very special to me cos I went there at a very difficult time in my life for respite ftom my personal life.
Our all time favourite Greek island though is Kefelonia. You need to try there too. Its special. Totally unspoilt by mass tourism don’t expect to find Costa’s and Burger Kings there. Its traditional
Its typically Greek. Totally away from it all. Back to basics and stop the world I have got off. We go every June (not this year obv) and have been for our main vacation since 2006. Its an island of 80% returning tourists. If you fall in love with this place you will go back.
Timeless, with enough contemporary to keep you in touch with the outside world Kef is about total tranquility.
Nope I’m not a rep for the place I just love it
Daniel Johnson says
Incredibly beautiful places, stunning photos. In 2021 my family and I are planning a trip to Greece, I hope to see the island of Crete with my own eyes!
Carol Thomas says
Crete was the first Greek island’s i visited back 3 weeks after 9/11. Yes I was ***** myself flying then. It started a love affair with the Greek island’s that has continued. We have visited 9 of the islands however we always go back to Kefelonia every June grabbing a last minute elsewhere in the September
I have never visited Crete but these images look beautiful
Thank you x