Crete is a Greek island made for lazing summer days away on. It doesn’t get much better than the stunning coastline surrounding Chania, or the inviting waters near Heraklion. When visiting Crete, beautiful beaches can be found almost everywhere. With a little planning (and some exquisitely prepared packed lunches) it’s all too easy to enjoy the perfect sand-laced daytrip here.
Without further ado, here’s a selection of the finest beaches this Greek gem has to offer…
Elafonisi is a small islet off the southwestern coast of Crete, connected to the main island by a sandbank. The surrounding waters form a shallow, turquoise lagoon, which is ideal for paddling children who might not be ready for deeper depths.
When the sea is calm it’s possible to cross over here by foot. Traverse the pinkish sand dunes and explore the secluded island coves, or simply kick back with a good book and some refreshments whipped up from the plush interiors of your holiday home.
Nearby beach parking makes this spot easy to reach by car from self-catered accommodation, particularly if you’re staying in Chania.
Gouves is famed for its sandy, safe and well-kept beaches. The water here is shallow, while many of the beaches where people swim are situated within small coves or bays, so they’re kept hidden from the stronger northern winds. Umbrellas and sunbeds are usually available to rent for the day. On top of that, there’s numerous shops and restaurants close by for whenever you’re needing replenished.
If you’re travelling with children, make the most of your time and pack up toys, inflatables and a tasty picnic before setting off. Mades, a Blue Flag-listed beach, is also not far from Gouves. Take the time to visit for a wholly tranquil few hours.
The easternmost region of Crete tends to be quieter than other parts of the island, making it idyllic for couples in search of a secluded getaway. Just north of Agios Nikolaos you’ll find the fishing town of Elounda, which sits near a lagoon sheltered by the Spinalonga Peninsula.
For the ultimate day out in Elounda, pack food, water, a camera and plenty of sun lotion, then hop on a boat over to tiny Spinalonga Island. The island is a former leper colony, although don’t let that put you off! Today, it’s made up of an abandoned fortress flanked by a number of pristine shorelines which epitomise the beautiful beaches Crete is known for.
One of the best things about staying in self-catered accommodation is the outdoor space available – you can buy pool inflatables and store soggy wetsuits and bodyboards without worrying about ruining the hotel carpet! With that in mind, active tourists seeking a bit of adventure in Crete should plan a trip to Falassarna Beach. Not only is the sand soft and the waters clean and clear, but the westerly winds often result in some exciting wave action.
Make a day of it and head down with some bodyboards then hit the water. If you’re feeling even more daring, take advantage of the water sports on offer at the beach. Paragliding, anyone?
Experience these beautiful beaches for yourself and look at Villa Plus offerings on the island.
By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.