Beaches in Crete
Travel content editor
Fans of idyllic beaches should head to Crete! It’s difficult to choose the top ten as so many are outstanding and each has its own charm. Fine pink or white sand and turquoise water - there’s something for everyone. Some are still relatively free of mass tourism and its a real pleasure to swim and relax on beaches with such an untamed appeal. Just imagine diving into the pink and blue lagoon in Elafonissi or into the warm waters of Vaï, surrounded by palm trees. Or you might prefer the exceptional natural setting of Balos. Crete is a dream destination for lovers of beautiful beaches. Take a dip in the calm crystal waters of Crete and find the most beautiful beaches with our map and photos.
The most beautiful beaches
This small island about 7 miles south of Lerapetra has a magnificent white sand beach and a beautiful seabed for fans of snorkelling.
Georgioupolis is a charming little village which has a superb long sandy beach lined with trees - providing welcome shade in the summer. Plenty of walking trails start here giving you the chance to explore this pretty part of the island.
An immense and beautiful fine sand beach to the north of Matala. Next to the archaeological site at Kommos, it is not as busy as the neighbouring Matala Beach.
Formerly a refuge for hippies, this touristic beach is flanked with cave studded cliffs. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards as the current is strong and the waves fairly high. There are numerous bars along the beach.
Not far south of Matala, this beach owes its name to the colour of its sand. This superb beach is dominated by cliffs. It takes about half an hour to walk there, but its definitely worth it.
Not far from the monastery, you will fall under the spell of this lovely beach where the river flows into the sea. There is a palm grove, a lagoon, a fine sand beach and steep cliffs. Don’t hesitate.
You should definitely visit the crystal clear water and fine white sand of this beach in the north-west of the island. Don’t miss the sunset which attracts the romantic kind.
Head east to Vaï’s magnificent beach and sparkling blue water set in a palm grove. It’s a very touristic area, but a stairway to the right snakes around the cliff to a second beach further from the crowds.
Elafonissi is a peninsula and charming seaside resort surrounded by olive groves. The beach is its main attraction and is said to be one of the most beautiful on the island. With pink tinged sand and transparent water, it is a heavenly place. Arrive early in the morning or visit out of season to fully enjoy the beach.
After half a mile walk to the end of the Gramvoussa Peninsula, you arrive at Balos Beach, one of the most beautiful in the country. It is a shallow, turquoise lagoon with a magnificent stretch of white sand. There’s even a food stall for drinks and snacks.