Crete beaches cannot be missed when visiting this Mediterranean paradise. With so many things to do and places to visit, you will surely never run out of fun activities to discover on the island. Since the island has a Mediterranean climate, the winters are mild, summers are hot and spring and autumn have mild temperatures, perfect for exploring the island’s towns and natural parks. With terrain ranging from mountains and valleys to deep gorges, Crete has a diverse landscape, but of course, what would an island be without its beaches?

In this guide, we will explore the best beaches on the island’s coastline and highlight the features of each one, sharing our top picks for where to soak up the sun, dive into clear waters, and enjoy some time under the sun. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Oreo Travel is here to ensure you find the perfect beach in Crete to match your dream holiday in Crete.

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The Best Beaches in Crete

Crete’s coastline is absolutely beautiful and diverse. From secluded coves surrounded by mountainous cliffs to long stretches of sandy beaches, the island is the perfect summer destination for anyone looking to relax and enjoy some water activities. You can lay in the calm bays, or enjoy the lively atmosphere of public beaches, which have plenty of amenities such as chair and umbrella rentals and water sports can be enjoyed. The clear waters of the Mediterranean are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and diving, so If you want a unique experience, keep reading to discover the best beaches in Crete!

Matala Beach, Heraklion

Matala Beach is known for its striking cliffs dotted with ancient Roman tombs. It is the perfect place for beach and history lovers. The clear blue waters and golden sands make it the ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming, while the surrounding cliffs give a historical twist to your beach day. We suggest renting a car or taking a bus from Heraklion to get to Matala Beach easily.

There is also the Matala Beach Festival that will be held this summer from July 5-7 and will draw in crowds of music lovers from all over Greece and internationally.

Matala Beach, Heraklion​

Preveli Beach, Rethymno

Preveli Beach is located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. It is a stunning beach area where the river meets the sea, surrounded by palm trees and hills. This beach is famous for its truly unique landscape and the surrounding trails nearby for nature lovers. Just getting there is an adventure in itself, either hiking or taking a boat ride from Plakias. For those looking for some more adventure and a unique experience, you can also take a “Safari Tour” to the beach. Either way, we recommend packing a picnic and spending the day here. Those who prefer to explore the Kourtaliotiko Gorge can also join a snorkelling tour of the waterfalls and rivers throughout the area. But, make sure to book well in advance, as organised tours sell out quickly.

Preveli Beach, Rethymno​

Elafonissi Beach, Chania

Elafonissi Beach is famous throughout Crete for its pink sand and shallow, turquoise waters, making it the perfect spot for families with children. The unique pink sand in this area comes from thousands of millennia of microorganisms, such as seashells and coral reefs, being ground down into fine granules. The beach is part of a protected nature reserve, surrounded by dunes and natural walking trails. We recommend coming early in the morning or later in the afternoon to enjoy the beach, mid-day crowds can get big and be overwhelming for many people.

Elafonissi Beach, Chania​

Balos Lagoon, Chania

Balos Lagoon is famous for its white sand beach and turquoise waters and is often compared to the Caribbean. Getting to Balos is not the easiest, but it is worth the adventure! Accessible by hiking or by boat from the port of Kissamos, you want to make sure that you pack all the essentials before heading out, like water, snacks and plenty of sunscreen. This secluded lagoon has stunning views and a peaceful ambience, perfect for anyone wanting to escape big crowds. We highly recommend bringing snorkelling gear so that you can explore the marine life here.

Balos Lagoon, Chania​

Agia Pelagia Beach, Heraklion

Only a 30-minute drive from the centre of Heraklion, Agia Pelagia Beach has a crescent-shaped shoreline and is known for its soft sand and clear waters within a bay, making it a favourite swimming spot for both locals and tourists. The beach is well-organized, with plenty of water sports rentals and amenities, such as lounge chair and umbrella rentals. Its calm waters make it ideal for snorkelling and swimming. We recommend trying the local tavernas along the beach for lunch, where you can try local Cretan cuisine with a stunning view.


Rethymno Beach

Rethymno Beach is the ideal coastline for those who love to walk along the shore. This beach is well-equipped with facilities and services such as rental shops, bars and restaurants, making it the perfect beach for a comfortable day by the sea. It is near the city of Rethymno’s charming old town, so it is easy to get to and from the beach. We suggest renting sunbeds and umbrellas for a relaxed beach experience, followed by a stroll in the old town to explore the shops and Cretan culture.


Falassarna Beach, Chania

Falassarna Beach is famous throughout Crete because of its large sandy coastline and stunning sunsets (considered among the world’s best). The larger waves and clear water make it a popular spot for surfing and water sports. 

We suggest staying until evening to take in the breathtaking sunset that colours the sky and sea in shades of gold and pink. The perfect ending to your day at the beach!


Crete's Coastline, a Paradise to be Explored

Crete’s beaches are a testament to the island’s natural beauty and diversity. From the pink sands of Elafonissi to the historical shores of Matala, each beach offers a unique experience. At Oreo Travel, our accommodations are strategically located to provide easy access to the island’s breathtaking beaches and historical sites, ensuring you make the most of your visit. Discover our selection of apartments and villas!