Updated: Feb 26
Although I love the beach, I'm not the kind of person who enjoys spending hours sunbathing. After a nice dip in the sea and twenty minutes under the sun, Ismaïl and I quickly get bored. However, this doesn't mean we don't appreciate beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, and Crete has plenty to offer! We went to many beaches during our stay so here's my list of the three most beautiful beaches in Crete!
1. Seitan Limania Beach
Located in the northeastern part of the Akrotiri peninsula, Seitan Limania is different to other beaches as it's a narrow channel that's enclosed between high cliffs with white sand and of course clear, bright blue waters. Oh and I almost forgot, there are loads of friendly goats everywhere! For me, Seitan Limania is one of the most beautiful beaches to visit in Crete because of its beauty and wildness (despite the crowds).
There are no sun beds or umbrellas at this beach, but the rocks and cliffs provide some shade. There is a little snack bar just before the main parking area where you can buy refreshments and food if needed. Parking is free.
This tiny cove quickly becomes busy, so if possible try to avoid going on weekends and in the afternoon.
How to get to Seitan Limania :
You can either walk down to the beach from the car park or get there by ferry. We always chose the walking option as we personally think it's the best way to fully experience places. Many people are dissuaded by the idea of walking and yes, it's not necessarily easy in the heat but I noticed that many people (in my opinion) exaggerate when describing the walks to all the beaches in Crete.
I'm aware that we are experienced hikers but don't let some of the comments discourage you from going there by foot! It took us approximately 15mins to walk down and 20mins back up. It's a beaten path but not at all difficult. Some people were walking down in flip-flops.
⚠ Don't forget to take sunscreen and water.
2. Balos Beach/Lagoon
Another beautiful beach in Crete is Balos Beach which is said to be Europe's 4th most beautiful beach, and I can understand why! What makes this beach so unique is its layout (which you can see when you walk there): on one side you have a beautiful beach with white sand and turquoise waters and on the other side you have a vast lagoon with crystal clear, warm and shallow waters. The surrounding mountains and preserved nature also add to the splendour of the site.
How to get to Balos Beach :
Balos Beach is located in the extreme northwest of Crete, at the end of the Gramvoussa peninsula. It can only be reached by a beaten track that's approximately 7km long or by sea.
Getting there by car is the second most popular option for travellers. To do so, you have to cross the peninsula of Gramvoussa from south to north until you reach the car park.
At the entrance to the peninsula of Gramvoussa, a few dozen metres past the Balos Beach hotel, you will come to the start of the track that leads to the famous lagoon.
After passing the ticket office and paying the entrance fee of 1€ per person, the long, bumpy 7-kilometre track awaits you. The road is fairly wide and although you must drive slowly, it is perfectly doable. After about 30 minutes of slaloming between goats and potholes, you will arrive at the car park. The road itself isn't dangerous but please be aware that as on all unpaved roads in Crete, rental cars are not insured so if your vehicle gets damaged or breaks down, you will have to pay the cost. That being said, there were looooads of rental cars taking this track, so drive carefully and everything should be fine!
Once parked, there is a 15 to 20-minute walk down to the beach. The walk is very easy but there is no shade. Before the descent, you have a magnificent view of the beach where you can admire it in all its beauty.
There is a snack bar, toilets (1€) and sun beds/parasols for rent.
The walk back up takes about 20mins.
⚠ Once again, don't forget to take sunscreen and water.
3. Paralia Preveli Beach
This beach holds a special place in my heart because I felt like I had stumbled across a beautiful and unexpected oasis. Ismaïl and I both agreed that we felt like we were living our childhood dream of walking up the Nile in Ancient Egypt (we were both obsessed with the historical period as kids!) and for that reason alone, it deserves to be listed as one of the most beautiful beaches to visit in Crete!
Paralia Preveli is quite a unique place because you can clearly see the meeting of the river and the sea. The beach itself is nice but I recommend walking through the palm forest (about 10mins) before heading back towards the beach by walking in the river (which is shallow). A truly beautiful experience.
How to get to Paralia Preveli :
To find the beach which is not far from the Preveli Monastery all you have to do is type in your GPS: Preveli Beach Parking.
The parking costs 2€.
You then have to walk down to the beach using the footpath which takes approximately 15/20mins. The descent isn't difficult but there's no shade. You also get an amazing view of the bay halfway down. Once again, many people comment that the descent and ascent are difficult but if you go at your own pace, wear sunscreen and have a bottle of water then you are all good!
So there you have it, my list of the three most beautiful beaches to visit in Crete. I hope you find this article useful. Feel free to ask me questions in the comment section!