THE BEST BEACHES IN CRETE
Crete is the largest Greek island situated in the Mediterranean Sea with beautiful, varied beaches - from the wide and sandy, to pebble and rocky ones. The whole coastline of the island is strewn with them, and short distances in between allow you to visit most of them during one stay. This does not mean, however, that a few days for sunbathing in Crete is enough. On the contrary, you'll probably fall in love with this charming, Mediterranean climate, and when you return, you will start planning your next trip.
The Elafonisi beach enjoys great popularity and is located on the southwest of Crete (which is considered the most pristine island area), with crystal clear, warm water and unprecedented pink sand, formed of crushed coral, Elafonisi is probably unlike any beach you have seen before on Mediterranean Sea. In high season, it is crowded here, even though the beach is quite big, but after 5 p.m. it gets much more intimate, when coaches with tourists depart. There are paid, but well-mantained toilets and a bar with drinks and hot snacks on the beach. It is possible to rent sunbeds with umbrellas - otherwise it is difficult to get a bit of shadow here. Elafonisi is a beach especially friendly for families with children, because the water reaches to the knees far from the shore, there are no high waves, nor stony bottom.
If you ever thought about going to Crete, you must have heard about Balos Bay (or Lagoon). It’s the most photographed beach on the island and there is an obvious reason for it: it is simply beautiful. Every travel agency offers a trip to Balos, so it is easily accessible. However, I would recommend the DIY way, that is by car (or a motorbike). This is the only way to capture amazing views from the above. Otherwise, you will be taken by a bus to the port and then by a loud party ferry to the beach.
The gravel road to Balos takes about two hours (the park entry fee is about 2 euros) - it is quite scary as you ascent steeply with no safety rails on the side, very closely to the edge. Anyway, don’t think you will be alone, because not that many people get scared off. The parking at the top was almost full once we got there. There’s a cafe next to it where you can buy some water - and you will need it. After 10-15 minute walk the 1km descend begins. The stairs are high and it gets very tiring in such a heat, especially when you want to come back to your car and you have to climb back.
You will be rewarded though when you get to the beach - the sea is warm and shallow and the sand is mostly white, occasionally pink (thanks to millions of crushed shells). If you just want to see the views, you don’t even have to go down, but in my opinion it is worth every step :)
Matala is a beach located in the part of the island subordinated to the city of Heraklion, east of the tourist town of Rethymnon, to which travel holidays are often organized. This beach, best known for its specific caves and rock carvings and the invasion of hippies in the seventies, turned out to be a slight disappointment.
After the sexual revolution in the sixties, many European and American hippies made it to Crete to live on the coast of Matala, supposedly to try to live in harmony with nature: live in a cave, hang out with an acoustic guitar among friends, spend evenings with the family around a campfire and...to smoke weed. Today, a nearby village is nothing more than a commercial hippie-land, at every step, literally hitting tourists with everything that is associated with hippies. In addition, Matala beach is full of noisy, often drunk foreigners, which makes the access to the sea a bit of a challenge. I would recommend, therefore, to visit this beach in the off-season, when you can enjoy the beautiful view of the turquoise sea surrounded by the rocky coast.
Triopetra - a beach of ‘Three Rocks’ situated on the south coast of Crete offers majestic views. Clear skies, turquoise waters and sandy shore makes it an ideal gateway. There are few places where you can rent a room, there’s also a tavern on the beach, serving local specialities, and the sunbeds on the beach are free. What more would you need? ;)
To get to this untypical beach, you have to take a fifteen-minute trek down the cliff. Remember that climbing up the hill is much more difficult - it is steep and rocky. The view recompenses all the effort though. Preveli is divided by Megapotamos - a river surrounded by palm forrest grown in the bottom of a gulley, which finishes its flow in the sea. The beach is rocky and may not appeal to everyone but it is worthy just going down and visiting this amazing forest - just take a look at those pictures!
The truth is that almost every beach on Crete located outside the tourist centers has something wonderful to offer and can delight any traveller. The most wild ones are not really suitable for a full week's rest but they will definitely work perfectly as a place to watch the sunset or to take a relaxing walk on.