So, you’ve decided to hit the breathtaking Greek island of Crete for your long-awaited vacation? That might just be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made, because Crete boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean.
In Crete, the coastline stretches for more than 60 beautiful miles, offering tourists a huge selection of beaches to enjoy.
Whether you’re ready to sunbathe on the warm, velvety sand or spend a few romantic moments inside a cave with your significant other, you’ll find the perfect beach in Crete for your wishes.
To help you pick a favorite or two, we’ve created the following list of the most beautiful beaches in Crete to consider visiting. Let’s dive in!
- Vai Beach
Vai beach is located on the northeastern side of Crete. This magnificent beach is attractive for families and honeymooners alike. Simply, its magic lies in its smooth sand and clear, glittering waters.
Yet, what really makes Vai beach a must-visit location is that it’s surrounded by 5,000 palm trees. Imagine watching the sunset with a refreshing drink in hand while listening to the soft rustle of the palm tree leaves at your back. Sounds like heaven, ha?
- Elafonisi Beach
The second Crete beach on our list is Elafonisi, and it’s one of the most charming places you can ever set your foot in. Elafonisi is a small islet that sits in western Crete with only about 650 feet separating it from the coast.
Besides its unique location, a lot of other features make Elafonisi the perfect spot for a family vacation or a honeymoon destination. It’s surrounded by a shallow lagoon, its sand is almost white, and its waters shimmer like crystal.
Better still, the sand can appear pink in some areas of the beach thanks to the broken seashells that give it that lovely color. Just think about all the beautiful Instagram photos you’ll be able to post with the pretty sand and clear water in the background!
Because of its charm, Elafonisi has won a position as the most beautiful beach in Crete, Europe, and even the world several times.
- Balos Beach
Balos beach is another world-famous Crete beach that’s known for its vivid turquoise waters, almost-white sand, and the big island you can see from there. The island houses a Venetian Castle that all tourists make sure to include in their pictures.
Mostly, Balos beach is accessed by boat from the city Chania or Kissamos because it’s only 34 miles from the former and about ten miles away from the latter.
Still, a lot of visitors like to get there by car to have a better look at the surrounding landscape. While the car trip will be longer than that of the boat and even includes a tiresome dirt road, many tourists simply loved the entire experience!
- Matala Beach
Want to spend some time in caves that stretch along a lovely beach? Matala beach can offer you that and much more.
Interestingly, in the 1960s and 1970s, this beach was home to hippies who moved to southern Crete to pursue a more natural lifestyle. Those travelers lived in the caves lining the beach for months and even years, enjoying their connection with nature.
Of course, today, no more hippies live in Matala beach, but it’s a clean, organized area that has everything you might need to enjoy a relaxing vacation. It features a deep blue sea and velvety sand, not to mention that it’s surrounded by a village where you can find convenient lodging.
- Tympaki Beach
One of the most interesting beaches in Crete is Tympaki beach, which is also known as Kokkinos Pyrgos. Not only is it one of Crete’s largest beaches, but it’s also one of its most diverse tourist locations.
For example, it features both sand and pebbles along its length and allows you to do many activities while you’re there. Besides swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, it’s one of the best beaches in Crete for the nearby taverns serve the most delicious traditional dishes you could try, so you might as well eat there, too.
- Falassarna Beach
Situated in western Crete, Falassarna beach is a must-visit for solo travelers, couples, families, and every type of tourist. That’s because it has smooth, light-colored sand, vibrant waters, and many tourist facilities, which appeals to everyone!
Better yet, if you’re into adrenaline-filled water sports, the beach sets up a windsurfing station during the summer. So, you can add some action to your vacation whenever you’re ready.
- Plakias Beach
What’s better than a calm beach to spend your honeymoon or wedding anniversary and stay away from the crowds? Well, Plakias beach can be a heavenly candidate for this role.
The beach lies on the southern side of Rethymno, Crete, overlooked by a lovely village where you can book a nice hotel room for your vacation. Plakias features Crete’s trademark soft sand and shimmering waters, with taverns and apartments lining its expanse.
For an unforgettable honeymoon, why not consider staying in Plakias?
- Istro Beach
Another relatively quiet beach is Istro, which is located around seven miles southeast of Agios Nikolaos. Yet, its calm environment doesn’t mean that Istro beach isn’t equipped with everything you’ll need to have a great time.
It has sun loungers and umbrellas, a coffee and food canteen, showers, and more.
What makes Istro beach extra special is the greenery topping its naturally sloped landscape. Just imagine how the vibrant blue of the waters, the lovely gold of the sand, and the rich green of these slopes can blend to create the perfect vacation photo!
Better still, you’ll always find a nice, hidden spot on the beach for some private time with your partner. Romantic, no?
- Agios Pavlos Beach
Another secluded beach in Crete is Agios Pavlos beach, which will have you travel about 36 miles to reach it from Rethymno. However, the rather tough travel route might be an advantage because not many people will be willing to take it. That could offer you more privacy and a sense of calm.
This lovely, quiet beach also features gray sands and clear waters to add to its overall appeal, especially to a very-much-in-love couple!
- Preveli Beach
Preveli beach has everything that makes it one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. It has those white sands, deep blue waters, and warm climate that attracts tourists to the Greek island.
However, Preveli holds a special place in visitors’ hearts thanks to the awe-inspiring landscape surrounding it. The nearby area is rich in palm trees and heavy vegetation, and you’ll get to see waterfalls pouring into the sea. If that’s not magic, we don’t know what is!
Even better, you’ll find a heart-shaped rock in the eastern part of the beach where you can pose for pictures with your sweetheart. So, if you’re on a romantic vacation with that special someone, visiting Preveli beach must be on your to-do list.
Final Words on the Best Beaches in Crete
Trying to determine the best beaches in Crete can be a bit tricky because the island has more of those than we can count!
Still, we managed to find our top ten favorite spots in Crete that every tourist should consider visiting while on vacation. Hopefully, you’ve finally found some good locations and are already packing your bags!