Moments of Inspiration

Crete for Beach Lovers: Top 5 Beaches in Western Crete

Crete for Beach Lovers: Top 5 Beaches in Western Crete

Written by
Sarah O'Neill
February 2017


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Crete is every beach lover’s paradise. For those dreaming of summer sun and endless sands, we list our top 5 beaches in western Crete.

With over 1,000 km of coastline, Crete is every beach lover’s earthly paradise. Holidaymakers who have already discovered this island treasure come back year after year to visit old favourites and discover new hidden gems. With sand, surf and sun for party-goers, sun worshippers, surfers and solitude-seekers, Crete has a diverse spectrum of sun-soaked sands to offer everyone their own slice of paradise.

Spoilt for choice, we take you through our top 5 beaches in the region of Chania, Western Crete, Greece.

1. Georgioupolis
The ideal “house” beach

If peace of mind, privacy and professional service in the sun constitute your ideal beach holiday, then the gorgeous seaside village of Georgioupolis offers the perfect setting.

Skirting the northern coast of Crete for over 10 km, the glistening soft white sands of Georgioupolis beach offer pristine amenities and sterling service, without attracting the same crowds as the larger cities.

This is considered Crete’s longest sandy beach, guaranteeing your own personal space and service, depending on which section of beach you choose to spend your day. It is fully organised with sun loungers and parasols, free to use for those staying at the local Corissia Hotels.

The pristine sands and crystalline waters have been awarded the Blue Flag, certifying their first-rate quality. The beachfront offers everything you could ask for in terms of service and amenities, with lifeguards providing peace of mind and monitoring sea conditions. Head further east for wider, more tranquil stretches of beach, or north-west for the refreshment of cold mountain streams. However hot the day becomes, a refreshing light breeze is nearly always blowing, keeping the air fresh and delicious.

Georgioupolis is a very safe beach for families, offering peace of mind for parents of little ones. Life guards are on duty, and the beach itself descends into the water on a very gentle, shallow slope, making it safe and delightful for your little ones to paddle in. This peaceful bay is well protected from strong ocean currents, and the shallower waters make it all the warmer for the moment when you slink out from under your parasol to go for a swim.

Georgioupolis beach has a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence, with reviewers declaring it to be “Incomparable for Beach Lovers.” With excellent connections to the main roads and a strategic location between two main cities, the village makes a great base for your trip. This “house” beach offers everything could wish for right on your doorstep, whilst also providing easy access to other destinations in western Crete.

2. Falassarna
Approx. 1hr 20 min from Georgioupolis

Voted the best beach in Crete and consistently ranked amongst the top ten beaches in Europe, Falassarna beach on Crete’s western coast is a dream daytrip destination for beach lovers everywhere. Or should we say, dream destinations, as the miles of white sands collectively known as Falassarna beach are actually five separate beaches, each with their own unique character.

For utter seclusion and shelter from the wind, head north to the pebbly south-facing beach cove next to the famous archaeological site of ancient Falassarna. The southern beach with its sparkling clear waters and rocky seabed is a snorkeler’s paradise.

In the centre, Pachia Ammos at Falas(s)arna, the largest beach, is the main attraction and the reason that thousands of visitors flock here every summer. Despite its popularity, this kilometre-long, sun-soaked haven is so vast that it seldom feels crowded. The beach is serviced with first-rate amenities, including sun loungers, parasols and plenty of beachside bars and tavernas, but you can also find space to lay down your own towel for free if you head beyond the central deckchair area.

As a west-facing beach, Falassarna is exposed to Crete’s prevailing north-westerlies, making for rolling waves and ideal windsurfing conditions on breezy days. Those who brave the wind simply for the sheer beauty of the beach are rewarded by spectacular sunsets at the end of the day. For the spirited, the party continues well into the night, with beach parties regularly organised by the local bars.

3. Ilingas Beach
Approx. 1hr 40 min from Georgioupolis

Ilingas Beach offers a spectacular retreat for those with a sense of adventure. Take the dramatic, winding mountain road south to Chora Sfakion, and then continue approx. 2 km west along the village road to Anopolis. Simply park your car at the hotel and walk down an easily accessible flight of stairs to the beach.

South-facing and well sheltered from the wind, the real attraction of this pebbled beach are its spectacular, sandy-floored caves. These resemble Crete’s very own version of Cathedral Cove, and offer natural shade from the sun.

Swimming out into the still, crystal-clear waters reaps its own rewards: for the adventurous, there are two more isolated beaches to the east. The first is just 80 m beyond the rocky headland in the direction of Chora Sfakion; the second another 100 m further east. They are only accessible from the water, so strong swimmers and kayakers who are able to cover the distance are in with a good chance of having the beach entirely to themselves.

4. Domata Beach
Approx. 1hr 20 min from Georgioupolis to Chora Sfakion + 2 boat rides

Vast, stunning and utterly secluded, Domata beach showcases untouched nature at its best. Those who make the considerable effort of getting to this remote spot will be rewarded with stunning scenery and blissful solitude.

Domata beach remains a well-kept secret, simply because it is so remote. In order to access it, you first need to arrive at the equally isolated village of Agia Roumeli, at the end of the Samaria Gorge. The village is situated in one of the wildest, most unspoiled regions of Crete and is not connected to the road network, so it can only be accessed by boat or on a full-day hike. The easiest option is to take the regular ferry from Chora Sfakion to Agia Roumeli, and then hire a fishing boat in the village to take you on to Domata beach.

Due to its isolation, the beach itself has no amenities or tavernas, but natural shade is offered by the gently swaying pine trees along the shore, and if you dig down into the grey sand, you can even find fresh spring water.

Those who make the effort to get here will enjoy blissful solitude against the stunning backdrop of savage ravines and staggered rock terraces, from which Domata (meaning “roofs”) draws its name.

5. Balos Lagoon
Self-drive from Georgioupolis: allow at least 2 hrs. 4x4 only.
Ferry from Kissamos: approx. 1 hr drive from Georgioupolis + ferry

Balos lagoon transports you from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, with its fine, white sands; exotic, warm, shallow waters and incredible palette, from sparkling cyan to deepest cerulean.

The lagoon can also be visited as part of a cruise from Kissamos, which offers stunning views of the Cretan coastline. If you’d like to beat the crowds, ensure you rent a 4x4 vehicle with high clearance that can tackle the challenging, 10 km dirt track road up the Gramvousa Peninsula. At the end of the road you will find a safe, well-trodden goat path down the mountain. Allow at least 20 minutes to hike down. Those who make the effort to get there early in morning before the first cruises arrive will be rewarded with a slice of paradise (mostly) to themselves.

You will need to provide your own water and shade. Also, be prepared to share this picture-perfect location with plenty of other admirers: Balos is a popular destination, and deservedly so. The pristine, shallow waters of the lagoon are warm and inviting, perfect for young children; whilst the sea waters on the other side offer cool refreshment and ideal conditions for snorkelling. The fine white sands are tinged pink by crushed shells, and the breathtaking backdrop with its iconic, rugged isle offers emblematic scenery and unforgettable images.

The Best Time for Your Beach Holiday on Crete

The ideal time for your beach holiday on Crete really depends on your own sun-seeking preference. For the most golden and warmest weather, you can bask in average temperatures of around 30 °C in July, whilst spring and early summer offer pleasantly warm days between 23-28 °C. The seas surrounding Crete offer a blissful average summer temperature around the mid 20’s.

At the height of summer, July and August are peak season in Crete, and with warmer temperatures than the Greek mainland, the high season stretches right into September. Expect less crowds in April, May and through to early June, and visitors to dwindle away in late September, but with water temperatures rarely dropping below 16 °C even in winter, off-peak Crete also has its charms.

Our Top 5 Beaches

Selecting only 5 beaches out of the possible hundreds entails omitting some major attractions like Elafonissi beach, or other hidden treasures like Kedrodasos, but we hope to have inspired you with a range of beach beauties, from must-see destinations to secluded gems.

All of our chosen beaches are located in the region of Chania, and their nearest access points are within an hour or two’s drive of Georgioupolis. With excellent road connections, and its own, idyllic “house” beach, Georgioupolis makes a fantastic base for exploring Western Crete, or simply soaking up the sun at the Corissia Hotels, Georgioupolis.

Written by Sarah O'Neill

A passionate traveller, linguist and writer, Sarah has visited over 20 countries around the globe. She loves immersing herself in new cultures, learning the language, and getting to know the local people.

Would you like to be an author at Moments of Inspiration?
Do you have an original idea for a guest blog post or interest to write regularly as an author for us? Send us your article or simply contact us at:

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