Crete has to offer a great variety of wonderful beaches from long sandy or pebbly coasts to small hidden bays. At the north side, close to Heraklion city, someone can find sandy beaches, like Ammoudara, Karteros and Arina, where the guest has the opportunity to experience the comfort of an organized beach, to do some water sports and to enjoy their coffee or cocktail by the sea. At the west side of the city there are some protected bays, like Lygaria beach and Agia Pelagia.
The south of Crete offers a lot of unique choices, like the famous for the hippie movement Matala beach, the long sandy beaches of Kalamaki and Komos, the red beach Kokkini Ammos behind Matala, as well as the unspoilt Agiofaraggo, Martsalo and Vathi beaches, which are located at the end of three different breathtaking gorges. Agia Galini and Prevely are also two wonderful options nearby.
In more detail:
Kalamaki beach is wonderful and extended, over 3 kms long and covered with golden sand. The view of the sunset is magnificent. It is a quiet and not crowded beach offering unique moments of relaxation. The Caretta-Caretta sea turtles lay their eggs on a part of the beach every 2-4 years.
Komos beach is an unspoilt beach of exceptional natural beauty and character. The reddish of the sun which sets in the evening horizon create a hue of colors that evoke novel emotions. There are some tamarisk trees around, which provide natural shade. A part of the beach is clothing optional.
Matala beach is famous and well known from the hippies who used to live in the caves on the rocks next to the beach. It is usually crowded but it is worth visiting.
Kokkini Ammos is a clothing optional beach near Matala with red sand. It needs a hike in order to be accessed with a wonderful view on the way.
Vathi is a protected bay with pebbles, accessed by a road after Odigitria Monastery, which is more suitable for 4-wheel-drive cars.
Agiofarago is a pebbly beach located at the exit of the Gorge Agiofarago and it is accessed on foot by a 30-minute hike through the gorge. It is protected from the wind and has no facilities.
Martsalo is a pebbly beach located at the exit of the Gorge Martsalo and it is accessed on foot by hiking of about 2 km. It is very quiet and protected from the wind. It has no facilities.
Agia Galini is a sandy beach between the town of Agia Galini and a river and it is usually crowded.
Preveli is a coarse sand beach with palm trees at the exit of Preveli river in the imposing Kourtaliotiis Gorge and famous Preveli palm-forest. Swimming in the cold sweetwater river is also an interesting experience.