Back in July, we went to Crete for 10 days. It was our first time there and we loved it. 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. Apparently, Crete is considered to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and a lot of them 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.
I thought I would make a list of the beaches that we visited 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. 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 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 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 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, 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 recommended by our Crete friend and we decided to go to Agia Pelagia. It was about an hour to get there by car.
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.
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 would you recommend to visit?
Thanks for stopping by,
Love you all ❤️
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