Greece’s largest island, and one of its most popular, is littered with splendid beaches around every corner. Some are long stretches of superbly catered sun baking spots (think sundeck chairs, umbrellas and refreshing mojitos) while others cater perfectly to the privacy seeking nude bather. Whatever kind of sun-worshipping you’re after on your next Greek vacation, book your holiday rental villa in Crete and discover your perfect spot of sandy heaven.
To make your holiday planning even easier, here’s a few simple hints to take into consideration. The southern edge of Crete is by far the quietest nook on the isle and also boasts warmer waters, so head here if you’d like a little quiet contemplation and a longer swim. The sandy stretches closest to the big towns (and the airport) are the busiest, but they do host some wicked party nights in summer so stick to those if you’d like a lot more action. But enough babbling! Here’s a guide to the very best beaches on Crete…for your tanning and frolicking pleasure.
Depending on where you book your vacation rental, Elafonisi Beach may seem a little far to get to, but we promise you it will be well worth your while! This beach, set on the south-western edge of Crete, enjoys a tropical setting like no other, and the softest sandy shores around. The shallows are perfect for a lengthy swim, and from here you can doggy-paddle to nearby picturesque islets. The beach is as small as it is idyllic, so do get here early in the morning to secure the best palm-shaded spot.
For a sun baking experience with a little substance, head to Frangokastello Beach , one of the most popular options for a full-day out on the beach thanks to its enticing castle ruins. Pack a picnic basket and bring some walking shoes, and you’ll have a varied and relaxing day out. Active visitors should also plan to visit Preveli Beach, home to the lovely monastery and a gorgeous beach below a steep ravine. Families should definitely head out to Makriyialos Beach, a brilliant (and very long) stretch of quieter waters where kids can run amuck with room to spare.
Want a little secluded cove? Then head to Sweetwater Beach and share your space with nude bathing backpackers! The nearby water springs are as refreshing as they are picturesque, making this one of the prettiest spots on the island.
Should you be in search of some bona fide solitude, then make a beeline for Falasarna Beach on the north-western coast. Popular more with locals than tourists, Falasarna is nevertheless very long and always gifts the most amount of space per bather. If instead you’d like to combine some sightseeing with a few backstrokes, head to the long stretch of beach between Rethymno and Chania. The towns are infinitely interesting to explore, and the sparkling beaches between the two an absolute summer delight. Once you get to Chania, continue walking towards the end of the peninsula and visit famous Stavros Beach, the spot where the end of Zorba the Greek was filmed. The beach itself is pleasant enough and set in a lovely protected bay.
Lastly, if you really want to see just how beautiful Crete can get, head to Vai Beach, by far the most popular on the whole island. Sure, crowds here can get crazy at the height of summer; but just one look at the stretch of glistening beach and crystal clear waters will more than validate its popularity. Flanked by colossal palms and exuding a most tropical ambience, Vai is divine beyond words, so elbow your way through, claim a few grains of sand for yourself and enjoy a most spectacular beach day on Crete.