Crete—Greece’s largest island—is ringed on all sides by beautiful beaches, where snorkeling, sunbathing, and windsurfing are the order of the day. Here’s a rundown of the top beaches in Crete, from hidden coves and historic relics to open stretches of white sand.
Tucked in between a grove of palm trees on one side and rolling waves on the other, Vai is widely considered among the best beaches in Crete. In between swimming and sunbathing, take a stroll to the nearby rainwater lake and admire fine views over the beautiful palm forest of Vai.
Famous for its beautiful lagoon, Balos Beach lies 34 miles (56 kilometers) from Chania and 10 miles (17 kilometers) from Kissamos. The beach is nestled between Cape Gramvousa and Cape Tigani, offering some of the most impressive views in Crete.
Located beneath the foothills of the Asterousia Mountains, Matala Beach boasts hidden limestone caves, ancient Minoan history, and clear waters. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to visit for refreshments, and the beach is a popular nightspot for locals and travelers alike come nightfall.
This exotic stretch of sand lies on the western shores of Cape Gramvousa, home to the ruins of Falassarna—an ancient Roman city. Flanked by a protected nature reserve and with lounge chairs stretched out on the sandy beach, Falassarna Beach is especially great for snorkeling. With strong westerly winds, it’s also a very popular for water sports like windsurfing.
Bali is actually home to four beaches strung out along the coast, and they all offer sandy coves and turquoise sea. Natural springs carry fresh water to the shoreline at Bali, so the sea is a little cooler here, but the sheltered bays are very family-friendly.