Beaches in Crete
Myrtos beach. The charming seaside village of Myrtos is a pretty little beach resort that is quiet and not affected by too much tourism. It has a fine beach of pale grey sand and its location in the bay means it is very protected from the strong meltemi winds that blow along the coast during the summer months. The beach front is well served with cafes and tavernas and the village itself is colourful and picturesque. An interesting and easy walk can be taken from the village to the Minoan settlement of Pirgos with its ruined houses and beautiful views down on to the bay. The walk takes around half an hour.
Milatos Beach, where you will find beachside taverns and an attractive fishing harbour.
The south coast of Lasithi prefecture, and heading westwards has numerous seaside villages with first class beaches and a good tourist infrastructure. Makrigialos is a small, quieter and less developed beach resort with a superb beach. At the top of the town there are two discrete hotel complexes and along the seafront are numerous villas, studios and apartments to rent at good, competitive prices.
In Ierapetra there is a 4 mile stretch of beach well organised with umbrellas and sun beds. There are plenty of restaurants, tavernas, cafes, bars and nightclubs, the latter staying open until the early hours of the morning .
Paleochora: To the west of the village is one of the most popular beaches of the region, Pacheia Ammos. It has a lovely Blue Flag sandy, organised beach (Pacheia Ammos means thick sand in Greek) and is well protected from the wind. The northern end of the beach is a popular nudist beach.
Roughly midway between Chania and Rethymnon, is one of the best resorts on the north coast. It is a low-key resort which has developed around a clear, blue river-mount and a small village square, with hotels, tavernas and apartments along a long, gently shelving, fine sandy beach that is excellent for younger children.
Located on the south coast, this resort has a huge sweep of coarse sand and pebbles and its size means that it is never crowded, even in high season. Plakias has not been overdeveloped but does have a few small hotels, self-catering apartments, bars and restaurants all set against the backdrop of the White Mountains.
A hippy haven in the 1960s and 1970s, Matala has a row of tavernas and cafes beside a crescent of yellow sand that is lined with sunbeds and umbrellas in the summertime. At Red Beach, a 20 minute walk from Matala, there is a less organised beach that is popular with nudist bathers. However, there are no facilities at Red Beach so ensure that you take your own umbrella and refreshments. Heralklion is 90 minutes away by bus.
Palaiochora is at the southwest corner of the island and is partly village and partly resort. It has a crescent of fine yellow sand and shallow water on one side and a seemingly endless white pebble beach that stretches off eastwards on the other side. Palaiochora has lots of bars and restaurants and accommodation of rooms, apartments and a couple of small hotels is available in the village.
Sougia lies to the east of Palaiochora and is one of Crete's best kept secret locations. The road from the north comes in through a steep gorge which then opens onto a long stretch of pebbles and coarse sand. The cheerful, and peaceful, resort of Sougia is located beside this beach and accommodation can be found here where there are rooms, apartments and a few small hotels. There are no nightclubs or bars so it is not a place for late evening entertainment.
In the far west of Crete is the unspoilt beach of Falasarna with its huge sweep of golden sand. Public transport to Falasarna is very infrequent so it is necessary to have your own transport. There are a few places to stay and to eat, but for beach purists it is perfect.
Palm trees and waving reeds line the cool green creek that flows into the sea at this seemingly tropical south coast beach.
This blue lagoon is on the west coast and is one of Crete's most spectacular resorts. It is sheltered by Elafonisi Island to which you can paddle to. Elafonisi can be reached by road or boat and because of its outstanding beauty tends to be very busy in high season.
At the foot of the Zakros Gorge on the east coast, Kato Zakros is a crescent of sand and pebbles with a scattering of tavernas and places to stay.
Agia Roumeli/Agios Pavlos.
This pebbly strand at the mouth of the Samaria gorge is the perfect place to cool off after a hike through the White Mountains. Most people pass through the village but there are rooms, pensions and tavernas if you decide to stay longer.