On Crete’s isolated southwest coast, this stunning beach lies about a two-hour drive from Chania (73 kilometers). The colors here are amazing-the sand takes on pink hues in certain light as it is made up of tiny pieces of shells and coral, and the sea is turquoise-blue.
You can wade through ankle-deep water to an islet, which is a conservation area, being the last stop for birds migrating from Europe to Africa. Complete with sunbeds and umbrellas to hire plus a canteen for snacks, Elafonissi is ideal for families with kids due to the warm, shallow sea.
t can get very windy here, so be sure to check the forecast before heading out and perhaps consider another beach, unless you are looking to kiteboard or windsurf
Falasarna is located on the West coast of Crete and, similarly to Elafonisi is popular with day trippers because of its stunning beaches and clear turquoise blue sea.
It consists of several sandy beaches of various length, all facing the West (which makes it a wonderful place to watch the sunset from). The sea is generally very clean and with lovely colours because of the sandy bottom.
If you are interested in archaeology you can also visit the remains of a fortified Hellenistic harbour. Because of a sudden uplift of the West of Crete 1500 years ago the harbour is now located inland.
Seitan Limania (Satan’s harbours) is a tiny beach in a narrow sea inlet on the East side of the Akrotiri peninsula. This stunningly beautiful place had a dirt road access built around 2010 which meant that more than a handful of locals started coming to it. After its discovery on the internet it rapidly gained in popularity, the road was asphalted and proper crowds starting descending on it. Unfortunately the beach is so small that it will very rapidly feel too crowded.
Marathi is located in the Bay of Souda on the south-east of the peninsula of Akrotiti. Its two beautiful sandy beaches, clear and quiet sea, in a spectacular location, have made it very popular with the inhabitants of Chania. This means that it can be very busy at weekends and in summer. Well worth a visit.
Stavros, located at the northern edge of the Akrotiri peninsula boasts the famous beach where the dance of Alexis Zorbas was filmed. The location is stunning with golden sand stretching along a turquoise bay at the foot of a steep hill.
There is a second longer (and quieter) beach to the West. It’s also sandy but there are quite a few rocks that make going into the water a bit tricky in places.
The small village of Loutro is nestled in a small bay at the foot of the mountains. It’s grown considerably since it was “discovered” by foreign visitors in the 1970s but retains a lot of charm. Part of the attraction is that it is not connected by road so you can only walk or take a boat to it. The beach is nothing great but the water of the bay is crystal clear, almost always very still and a pleasure to swim in.
If the beach is too cramped you can always escape by walking (or taking a boat) to other less crowded beaches such as Sweetwater beach, Finix,Marmara.
Crete’s most spectacular beaches are often the hardest to reach, and Balos is certainly one of them. Excursion boats depart from Kissamos (40 kilometers west of Chania), but it’s more fun to hire a vehicle, preferably a 4WD jeep, and visit independently.
You’ll need to negotiate a challenging, seven-kilometer, rough track, running along Gramvousa Peninsula-be sure to go slowly and carefully. The local municipality is working on improving the road, but at the moment, the trip on the dirt road takes about 30 minutes. It’s an adventure complete with steep drop-offs, goats, and lots of dust. A small fee is charged per person to use the road.
From the car park, hike down a steep footpath (20 minutes), to arrive at this enchanting white-sand beach, which extends to a stunning turquoise and emerald-green lagoon.