The most spectacular beaches can be found in the south part of Crete Island. Small bays protected by mountains that end to the beach, or open long beaches, some accessible by car, others only on foot, the South stays in nature, unspoiled and proudly wild, still pure, magical unique.
Agia Galini is a small tourist resort, 54 km south-east of Rethymno town, built on the cliffs, with a long beach on the east side. It can be visited by bus from Rethymno or by car. If you drive a car you can also visit the nearby beach of Matala and the archaeological sites of Festos, Gortys and Agia Triada.
Agios Pavlos – Southern Rethymno: Behind the protected creek, 30 meters high dunes and an amazing sunset at “Triopetra”, the “three-rocks-cape”. Trying to climb up the sand hills on your way back is not an easy task, especially when the sun is burning – and it really does burn around here! Can be visited by car or motorbike.
Triopetra beach in Southern Rethymno is a quiet and marvelous long beach that can be visited by car or motorbike. You will go there from Rethymno taking the road to Agia Gallini and turning to Akoumia. There is a second beach to the east, separated by cliffs.
Liggres beach: Peace and tranquility without electricity, telephone and other useless devices.
Plakias vilage is a developed tourist resort,34 km south of Rethymnon, on the Libyan Sea. It is one of the most beautiful long sandy beaches in the south of Crete, but the small bays east of Plakias are to be praised. Plakias started around the 70s from a small fishing settlement to in recent years the main tourist destination in South -Central-West Crete. Recommended for quieter holidays or visits from Rethymno to the marvelous beaches that are surrounding the small resort.
East of Plakias bay, there is Damnoni beach, Ammoudi beach with 3 small bays -one of them a wonderful nudist beach, and Skinaria beach.
Preveli palm beach is one of the most photographed beaches of Crete, one of its landmarks, and one of the natural protected areas in Crete. It is located a bit further to the east of Plakias bay. A walk through the river (river trekking) under impressive mountains and in between unnumerable palm trees, might be a great appreciation of nature’s gracefulness. Boats from Plakias to Preveli beach are available from 10.00 to 13.00. Return: 16.00. Buses to Preveli, from Rethymno -the bus ends at Preveli Monastery, 3 km after the hill above the palm beach. You should ask for that stop and walk down the hill.
Souda beach: Continuing from the west end of Plakias village, after 2 km is the charming beach of Souda one of the most beautiful beaches in the South.
Rodakino area, retired from tourist development can offer quite wonderful hidden beaches and spectacular scenery. Korakas beach, Polyrizos, Kastellos and Aghia Marina beach lies at the feet or Krioneritis mountain. Taking the road from Plakias to the west, through the villages of Selia and Rodakino, the south becomes proud, reclusive, and solitary. The other way to come to Rodakino is through Ag. Vasilios, Agios Ioannis villages, and Kotsifou gorge present one of the loveliest countrysides.
Frangokastello: The Venetians built the castle bearing the same name during the 14th century as a watchtower over the surrounding area and the sea. Today its ruins dominate the underlying lagoon of green-blue, or blue-green if you prefer, waters.
Orthi Ammos – Frangokastelo: Early in the morning, a few days per year, Drosoulites, the lost souls of Fragokastelo, appear behind the dunes.
Hora Sfakion: Continuing from Frangokastello to the west, the atmosphere keeps the same. Hora Sfakion is the port for boats from Gavdos island, to Loutro village, Aghia Roumeli (end of Samaria gorge), Soughia, and Paleohora villages. After 1 km west of Hora Sfakion, there is the astounding Ilingas beach. If you drive up on the mountains, the awesome villages of Anopolis and Ag. Ioannis will be discovered. After Anopolis village, the view from the bridge over the Aradena gorge is breathtaking.
Elafonissi: There’s something exotic here: A cluster of small beaches with pink sand and shallow never-ending waters, splashed with rocky small islands push you straight to dreamland. The downside is everybody loves dreaming during summertime: one of the most popular and crowded destinations in Crete.
Sarakiniko beach – Gavdos island: The most cosmopolitan beach on the island of Gavdos, meaning there are two taverns and two or three camps…
Potamos – Gavdos island: An evanescent glimpse of the supernatural, a landscape charged with metaphysical vibrations.
Loutro village is an idyllic summer resort and one of the most picturesque places in Crete. It is in a small bay, with some hotels, rooms to rent and restaurants. On foot, by boat, or by canoe, everyone should visit the beaches of Marmara (end of Aradaina gorge) Lykos and Finix in the west, or the surprising beach of Glyka Nera, in the east. Loutro is accessed only by sea, from Chora Sfakion, or on foot.
Tris Ekklisies – Asterousia area: The dirt road after Pirghos is demanding (a 4X4 vehicle would be useful) but will reward the traveler with a unique view of the Asteroussia mountains: small waterfalls, springs, flocks of sheep, shepherd houses made of stone, beautiful country churches… At Tris Ekklisies some rooms for rent, taverns with fresh fish, and some traditional coffee places.
Tertsa – Viannos area: The coastal road going from Mirtos to Arvi is hard to find for non – Cretans. One of Crete’s most secluded settlements is Tertsa, for authentic situations without much “civilization” around.
Hrissi Island (Gaidouronissi) – Ierapetra: A destination proposed by all tourist guides and not in vain. Little boats depart daily from Ierapetra to carry visitors some seven miles south, to a small island covered with cedar trees and surrounded by perfect beaches where the sand is pink, and composed of sea-shell fragments. This is considered a protected area, so forget about free camping, fishing, or lighting a fire and bring all your trash back to Crete. The Greek name Gaidouronissi means “donkey island”, no one knows exactly why…
Trafoulas beach – Lendas beach: Authentic hermits from all around the world have settled down in isolation. Behave accordingly!
North Crete beaches:
Balos – Cape of Gramvousa: The most famous landscape of Crete and it is definitely worth it. All the shades of blue and green, a warm, shallow lagoon bursting with seashells. It is accessible after a half-hour march, or you can take the boat departing from Kasteli Kisamou.
Xirokambos – Sitia: Thousands of lilies in the eastern part of Crete fill the atmosphere with sensual vibes.