Crete is the biggest of the Greek islands and has a very diverse landscape with so much to see! There is the ancient Knossos to explore, Samaria Gorge to conquer and of course many stunning beaches! If you decide to visit western Crete you can fly to Chania airport or take a ferry from Athens. Read on to explore Top 10 Chania beaches.
1. Balos Beach Crete
Balos beach is by far the most scenic beach in Crete and one of the most beautiful and extraordinary beaches I have ever seen! It is located 52 km from Chania.
The journey from Chania to Balos beach will probably take about 2 hours. Up until Kissamos there is a nice asphalt road, but from Kissamos onwards you will drive on a dirt truck. For this reason, I will highly recommend hiring a suitable car like a 4×4. We drove there in a Punto and all the way up there; I had heart in my mouth worrying about losing a tyre at any minute! And there is nothing apart from rocks and goats feeding on the little vegetation that is there, so a recovery would take hours!
Once you at the top of the hill, there is a car park. From the car park there is probably another 30 minutes hike to the bottom of the beach. Don’t forget to stop on the way to take some photos of this amazing beach from above!
Once you’re on the beach there is a narrow lane of sand where you can spread your towel for the day. You will notice why Balos is called a pink sand beach of Crete!
There are not many facilities on the beach so bring your own water, snacks and umbrella.
And last but not least, arrive here as early in the morning as possible! At about midday, a ferry comes that spills thousands of people and it gets very crowded.
2. Elafonisi Beach Crete
My second pick is Elafonisi beach Chania, definitely one of the top beaches in Crete. It’s located in south-western part of Crete about 75 km from Chania. There is a daily bus service from Chania to Elafonisi but I prefer to rent a car to get more freedom.
At first you drive along the cost and then across the island, south through the mountains. Be prepared for a road with many sharp turns affectionately called by my husband as hairpins ;).
On your way there stop in a sleepy little mountainous village called Elos which is famous for the Chestnut Festival that takes place every October. There are a few traditional Greek Taverns (as a teenager I worked in one of them in the summer) and a little church.
Once you get to Elafonisi, there is a big free car park and many amenities like ice cream places, restaurants, toilets, changing rooms and parasols and sun chairs to hire. If you walk a bit further along from the shops, the beach is less busy. It’s another white and pink sand beach in Crete.
Leave early enough to get through the mountains and ‘curvy roads’ before it gets dark!
3. Seitan Limania beach
This beach is a bit of a hidden germ compared to Balos and Elafonisi. It is located 22 km north-east from Chania and is one of the best beaches in Chania. You can park along the road and climb down along very steep, rocky path. There are some blue markings along the path that should guide you. Also I recommend taking proper shoes; flip flops are a big no no! Due to the steep descent, the beach may not be suitable for young children or the elderly.
The beach is stony and there is no amenities such as toilets or shops or even bins, so please and try to respect nature there. You may meet some goats though ;).
It’s a very small beach but OMG, the turquoise blue water contrasting with the rusty orange rocks is so incredible! When you see this, you will forget about the pain of getting here! Take those Intagram worthy shots.
On the way back, make sure you find the blue marked path up to the car!
4. Falasarna beach Crete
Falasarna beach is located 52 km from Chania with a journey time of around an hour. The beach is very expansive with orangey soft sand great for kids to play. The water is crystal clear and turquoise which makes swimming there a pure pleasure.
It’s relatively quiet beach or perhaps it’s because there is so much space! There is a little corner of the beach where you can sunbath naked if this is something you like doing.
There is a free car park right by the beach and you can get a free sun chair and a free umbrella if you arrive early enough!
Spend the day on the beach and when you ready to move on, go to one of the tavernas to watch the spectacular sunset!
5. Agioi Apostoloi
This beach is only 4 km away from Chania. It’s a perfect option if you don’t want to travel far to one of the best beaches near Chania.
The sand is orange and soft and the water crystal clear and calm as it’s protected from three different sides.
There are toilets, changing rooms and some parasols and sun chairs to rent on the beach as well as quiet a few options of places to eat in the local tavernas.
Walk to the top of the hill to see a cute little church and a great view of the sea.
6. Sfinari beach
Sfinari beach is 57 km away from Chania in the western direction along the coast line. This beach ended up in top ten not for being scenic but extremely quiet and peaceful.
You can park by the beach, and find some free sun chairs and umbrellas if you buy something in the beach taverna! The beach is a mixture of pebbles and sand. Is the perfect place to escape the crowds of Elafonisi and Balos and just relax.
7. Maleme beach Crete
Maleme beach is located 19 km east from Chania. This is the place where we actually stayed in Crete. I liked the location, because it is in between Chania and other most beautiful beaches. Maleme is a sleepy place with many apartments and hotels to stay, some very suitable for families.
The beach is wide and with mixture of pebbles and sand. It is another very quiet beach if this is what you are looking for. There are plenty of beach tavernas to choose from. Also the place is not far from a more lively area of Agia Marina if you fancy some more action.
8. Marathi beach Chania
Marathi beach is located 17 km north-east of Chania, It is one of the closest beaches to Chania old town.
It is a relatively quiet beach, although it gets busy during the weekends with the locals. There are inexpensive sun beds and umbrellas to rent. It’s a sandy beach with a few scattered stones. The water is calm and crystal clear.
There are many eating places to choose from, however it gets busy at the times when a ship makes a stop here.
9. Stavros beach Crete
Stavros beach (Chania) is located 16 km away from Chania which makes it one of the closets beaches to Chania town. The beach is close to the airport on the Akrotiri Peninsula.
This beach is famous because Zorba the Greeks was filmed here. The water is crystal clear with a lovely turquoise colour. There is a picturesque windmill on the beach.
Be aware that sun chairs and umbrellas are a little over priced here so it will be best to take your own.
10. Golden Beach Chania
Golden beach or Chrissi Atki in Greek is located just 4 km away from Chania.
It’s a sandy beach with clear, shallow water. You can snorkel here to get an opportunity to see some schools of fish. The water is very calm, because it’s protected from the western winds.
The beach is equipped with all the convenient amenities such as showers, changing rooms and toilets. There are reasonably priced sun beds and umbrellas to rent and a few tavernas to grab a snack.