The beaches near Chania are some of the best in Crete, known for their expansive stretches of sand and blue-green water. So wherever you choose in the westernmost region of Greece’s biggest island, you’ll find a beach you’ll want to return to again and again. But hang on a minute … don’t stop at just one. Just a little bit of exploring will reward you with so many more beaches you’ll be raving about when you’re home. So let’s help you out by revealing 10 of the best beaches in Chania and get your holidays in the sun started.
This world-famous, double-sided lagoon beach and its surroundings on the northwestern tip of Chania are a Natura 2000 enclave for endangered species and, predictably, getting here is somewhat of a mission. Once upon the eminently Instagrammable viewpoint, though, it all becomes clear.
Balos beach itself is a smattering of crushed pink shells and fine white sand, with its shallow waters (ideal for children and families) a turquoise rainbow.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, snack bar, parking
- Access: By road & 20min hike or 90min boat ride from Kissamos
- Distance from Chania: 56km
Elafonisi beach is similar to Balos in that it’s also lagoon-like with shallow turquoise waters and rose-tinted sand, perfect for young children to splash around in. Found at the southwestern tip of Chania, it’s popular with families and kids as well as wind- and kite-surfers and is also a nature reserve – but that’s where the similarities with Balos end as it’s on an islet connected by a thin causeway.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, snack bar, water sports, parking
- Access: By road or the E4 hiking path from Paleochora
- Distance from Chania: 75km
Just down the road from Elafonisi, Kedrodasos beach (named after a nearby cedar forest) is a secluded piece of white-sanded paradise that is lapped by green-blue waters and has a smattering of juniper trees that provide natural shade. It is wonderful for relaxing and unwinding, or snorkelling around the coastline, and when the wind is up becomes a popular wind- and kite-surfing spot. As one of the most eye-catching beaches in Chania, it does get busy so Kedrodasos is the kind of beach that rewards early-birders. Be sure to pack the essentials as you’ll find no amenities whatsoever.
- Amenities: Parking
- Access: By road & short hike
- Distance from Chania: 74km
Seitan Limani beach
Another star swimming spot of the region (this time on the north coast, east of Chania town) is Seitan Limani beach which, just like a good cup of coffee, is best enjoyed early morning or late afternoon when the crowds have thinned. Despite its grisly origin (the name literally means ‘devil’s port’ on account of the strong currents) and the 20min downhill trek to get to the beach, it is a must-see if you’re in Chania.
Moving over to Crete’s western coast, we have Falasarna – the all-inclusive of beaches in Chania – with a wide array of water sports (jet-ski, SUP, windsurf, paragliding) to keep the kids and adults happy. Essentially an assortment of one big and some smaller sandy beaches, Falasarna beach benefits from big waves when it’s windy (it’s more suited to families on calmer days) and some of the clearest water you’ll see. Sunset cocktails will never taste as good.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, water sports, parking, tavernas
- Access: By road
- Distance from Chania: 51km
Due south of Chania town, the small fishing village of Loutro punches well above its weight. It takes about an hour’s boat ride to get there from Hora Sfakion (other options include Sougia, Gavdos, Paleohora and Agia Roumeli) but the route is magical and the destination is postcard-perfect. There are numerous beaches here, most of which you can freely explore (Glyka Nera, Marmara and Perivolakia are highly recommended). The snorkelling is also fantastic so pack your mask and, seeing as you’re into discovery, there are some impressive Venetian ruins nearby.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, water sports, tavernas, cafes
- Access: By boat
Just east of Loutro is Fragokastelo, one of the most distinctive beaches in Chania, with a 14th-century fortress (from where it gets its name) visible from the beach. Fragokastelo beach itself is blessed with sand and shallow, clear waters (ideal for families). With the fortress in the background, postcard pretty sums it up. It’s the sort of beach that encourages you to take a walk around the area. There are great seafood tavernas for when you get hungry.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas,, snack bar, parking
- Access: By road
- Distance from Chania: 80km
Still on the southern coast, Paleochora is a scenic little seaside town that rewards you with some serious beach-hopping love. The main beach here is Pachia Ammos – big, sandy and Blue Flag-certified and with amenities and shallow water that’s great for kids. Around 5km to the west, you get to sandy Grammenos beach, with crystal-clear water and more amenities. And further along, there’s the wild, secluded and pebbly Karavopetra beach. Meanwhile, Psilos Volakas beach comes nestled inside a small, rocky cove, with shallow blue waters and a pebbly shore and Krios beach (also organised) is ideal if you are looking for tranquility. To the east of Paleochora, Gialiskari beach (or Gianniskari) is a mixture of fine pebbles and crushed shells and has a unique and relaxing vibe. And finally, a hikeable 3km from Gialiskari is Astropelekita – pure and wild, with underwater cave formations and yet more seclusion.
- Amenities: (Pachia Ammos): Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, parking
- Access: By road
- Distance from Chania: 71km
Ending our look at the best beaches of Chania are another couple of options near Chania Town, close to Seitan Limani. Firstly, we have Marathi beach where convenience and beauty converge. You’ll find water sports like kayaking and SUP as well as views to the islet of Paleosuda (you can swim to it). The fine-sanded beach is divided into two by a dock and enjoys calm, shallow, water that is ideal for kids. And as soon as you get hungry, there are seafood tavernas on the shore. Special mention should also go to nearby Loutraki beach, sitting in a cosy sandy cove that also has calm, it has shallow water you’ll want to dive right into.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, tavernas, water sports, parking
- Access: By road
- Distance from Chania: 18km
Finally, Stavros beach (also known as both Chrissi Akti and Gold Coast beach) is found near the settlement of Stavros, just by a tiny port called Galini. The sandy beach sits in a lake-like lagoon, protected from the wind and benefits from shallow green-blue water and nearby tavernas that are a big hit with families. The finishing touch comes from the views of Mt Vardies behind the beach.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bar
- Access: By road
- Distance from Chania: 16 km
10 of the best beaches in Chania
Just be warned. One holiday in Chania is never enough. It’s a region of Crete the deserves to be visited a number of times to do it justice, whether we’re talking about the beaches or sampling the food, traditional villages, nature activities or the historic sights of the Old Town.
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