Crete Beaches, clear blue water with mountains in the background

10 Crete Beaches Not to Miss

Elafonisi Beach with clear turquoise waters, sand and a pile of rocks in the foreground, blue skies with clouds and mountains in the background

When it comes to breathtaking beaches, Crete has some of the best in the world. We recently traveled to the island and discovered numerous Crete beaches that are stunning and diverse.

With so many to choose from, we know it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit and when. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the list to the top ten Crete beaches that you absolutely cannot miss. From secluded coves to bustling tourist hotspots, we’ve got you covered with our selection. So pack your swimsuit and get ready to explore some of the best Crete beaches on the island.

Table of Contents

Don’t Miss These 10 Crete Beaches:

Spilies Beach

If you are looking for a unique beach experience, then Spilies Beach is definitely worth a visit. Located on the north coast of Crete, this small beach is known for its turquoise transparent waters, rocks to jump off, and caves to explore. However, due to its size, it can get crowded quickly and parking is limited, so be sure to arrive early. The best way to enter the beach is through the access road by the gas station off the main road. During the high season, you can find sunbeds and refreshments on the beach, although they can be a little pricey (around 12 euros for a lounger). There is a bathroom available for 0.50 euro. It is a pebble beach, so be sure to bring your water shoes!

Elafonisi beach hanging wooden sign stating Pink Sand, plants and seashells belong to #Elafonisi, Not Your House

Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Crete and is known for its beautiful pink sand, which makes it a favorite for Instagram photos. It is actually an island and a protected nature reserve located on the southwestern coast of the island and is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Crete. The beach is quite long, and there are plenty of loungers for rent during the high season. We visited in November, when the weather was still warm and we had the beach almost to ourselves. One unique experience is crossing the shallow lagoon out to the island. You can explore and find plenty of tucked away hiddens spots to lay down your towel and swim.

Elafonisi Beach image with pink sand to the right and clear blue water to the left and some pinkish brown rocks in the middle with blue skies and puffy white clouds

You will need to drive down a long, windy, narrow road from Chania to get there, but it is worth the trip. There are several quaint little towns along the way and roadside stands to stop at. There are sections of the road that are only wide enough for one car. If you decide the drive is not for you, there are plenty of tours that will bring you or you can also get there by public transport, E-KTE

Once you arrive, there is plenty of parking, and at the entrance to the parking lot, you will find a convenience store where you can buy sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. The beach has paid restrooms that are only open during the high season.

Nea Chora

Nea Chora beach image from the road with boats in the foreground and buildings in the background

If you are looking for a beach that is within walking distance (about 10 minutes) of the old town, then Nea Chora is the perfect spot for you. It is in effect the town beach for Chania, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and has plenty of restaurants and small hotels across the street. You can park on the street, and loungers are available for rent. The water is calm and protected. It’s not the most scenic beach on Crete, but is convenient to Chania and a great place for families with children because of the calm waters.

Loutraki Beach

Loutraki Beach is located near Souda Bay about 12 km east of Chania town and is a small bay with natural shade, approximately 30 minutes from Old Town. This relatively unknown beach offers great swimming opportunities and plenty of parking. However, it is not for you if you are looking for a full service beach, since there are no sunbeds available. There is a café that is open seasonally, which offers refreshments and parking is plentiful.

Agil Apostoli - The Holy Apostles

Agli Apostoli beach or the holy Apostles beach image taken from the side of the beach with the sand to the right and clear blue water to the left some rocks in the foreground and Mikis Theodorakis Cave in the background

Agil Apostoli is a beautiful, protected cove that has two beaches that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling located in West Crete. This beach has a little something for everyone; a cafe, playground, snorkeling, hiking, handicap access and facilities.

Notis Canteen is a small cafe that offers food and drinks, and there are tables overlooking the water. Additionally, there are free restrooms, and a bus stop is across the street, making it a quick and easy trip from Chania town. Once there, you can also take a hiking path to Mikis Theodorakis Cave or explore the rocks on the right and left sides of the beach for snorkeling opportunities. The beach is sandy and handicap accessible, and there is free parking. There is also a playground in the park across the street.

A little further down the road from this beach is Iguana Beach, which is another sandy beach with parking. From here, you can walk up to the point and see the Chapel of the Holy Apostles and the scenic cliffs.

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Kouloura Chalepa - Swimming Hole

Kouloura Chalepa Swimming Hole image looking down into the swimming hole, a shallow pool area bordered by rocks creating a sea wall with waves crashing on the outside of the swimming hole

Kouloura Chalepa is a unique swimming hole that offers a new and different experience. Kouloura means round, and this naturally formed pool features rocks and crystal clear water, where you can enjoy the sea even when it’s windy. We recommend wearing water shoes as there is a rocky entrance (with a rope to help you in) and there are plenty of small fish in the pool. There are showers and changing rooms available. There are almost no tourists at this local swimming hole. We think this is truly an undiscovered treasure on Crete and provides the unique experience of swimming in a natural pool.

Stavros - Gold Coast Bay - Cave Lera

If you are looking for a beach with the option for a little bit of adventure, then Stavros Beach might be the perfect destination for you. This sandy beach has calm waters and some great snorkeling. You might even recognize the beach from the movie Zorba the Greek, as Anthony Quinn danced sirtaki’s famous dance as Alexis Zorba here.. Just be aware that the loungers are overpriced, so bring your own towels and beach gear. Despite its popularity, this is probably the least crowded of the popular Crete beaches. This once fishing town is a popular destination for locals on the weekends and holidays. This is also a great choice for families with children, as the waters are calm with little waves. There are several tasty tavernas right on the beach if you get hungry.

What distinguishes Stavros the most is the majestic mountain, at the foot of which the beach lies. A short walk or drive from the beach offers the opportunity to climb up the mountain and enjoy the vistas from Cave Lera. This hike offers fabulous views, a well-marked path, and a somewhat challenging climb. Be sure to bring water and your camera!

Omprogialos Beach - Octopus Bay

Omprogialos Beach - Octopus Bay crystal blue water with mountain in the background

Omprogialos Beach, also known as Octopus Bay is another hidden gem beach of Crete. The road to get there is narrow and winding, but it leads to a secluded beach that’s perfect for those who want a bit of privacy. There’s no traditional sandy beach here, but the concrete area and rocks provide ample space for swimming and snorkeling. Since it’s not a tourist hotspot, you’ll likely have the beach to yourself. Just be aware that the waters can be rough, so it’s best to be a strong swimmer if you plan on taking a dip. The snorkeling is great and there is a small family run restaurant open during the high season. Even if you don’t plan on swimming here, it’s a scenic drive and a relaxing place to have some food and drink while you take in the views and listen to the crashing waves.

Saitan Limania - Satan’s Bay

Saitan Limania or Satans Bay view from the top of the cliff looking down to the beach. Steep white cliffs on both sides with the small beach area in between

For the adventurous, Saitan Limania is a well hidden, must-see destination that is an inlet between the steep cliffs.. This remote sandy beach is surrounded by dramatic rock formations, making for a truly unique sight. However, getting there is a bit of a challenge. The easiest access is from the water, but there’s also a very steep trail that leads down to the beach; you’ll need good sneakers to navigate the rocky terrain and it will take you between 10 – 15 minutes. But the payoff is worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and crystal-clear waters. Just be aware that there are goats everywhere, and the beach can get very crowded during high season, so plan to arrive early. There is free parking and the access road is not as narrow as some of the reviews say.

Kamari Beach

Kamari Beach image of rocky coastline and water

If you’re looking for a beach that’s less crowded but still has plenty of amenities, Kamari Beach is a great option. This lesser-known beach is popular with locals and offers free parking, locker rooms, and a shower. There’s even a playground and a small church nearby. While the beach is a little rocky, the rock cliffs provide shade and a great place to escape the sun. And with a taverna nearby serving up great seafood, you’ll have everything you need for a perfect day at the beach.

Crete truly has something for every type of beach-goer, whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure. Our goal with our list of top ten Crete beaches was to offer a diverse range of experiences, from hidden coves to iconic stretches of sand. But no matter which beach you choose to visit, you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by stunning natural beauty and crystal-clear waters. So why not add a few of these best Crete beaches to your travel itinerary? Trust us, you won’t regret it. 

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