The most famous and most photographed beaches on the island, known for their exotic water and majestic natural environment, are the heavenly lagoons of Balos at Gramvousa peninsula and Elafonissi, which lie in the southwestern edge of the island. Between them, lies the virgin beaches of ancient Falassarna. For those looking for seclusion, there is the hidden paradise of Kedrodasos and White Lake near Elafonissi and the African seascapes of Agiannis and Lavrakas on Gavdos island.
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The famous lagoon of Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and 17km northwest of Kissamos, formed between the Cape Gramvousa and the small Cape Tigani. Balos is surely the mostly photographed beach in Crete, a very favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. It is no coincidence that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos with their private yacht many years ago.
The exotic beach of Falassarna is located 59km west of Chania and 17km west of Kissamos. It’s located in the western part of Cape Gramvousa. At the northern end of the beach are the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Falassarna.
Kedrodasos (i.e. cedar forest) is an amazing beach, located 76km southwest of Chania and 1km east of the famous Elafonissi lagoon. The beach is filled with juniper trees (mistakenly confused with cedars) and sanddunes, reminding of Lebanese beaches.
Elafonisi is located 76km west of Chania and 5km south of Chrysoskalitisa Monastery, in the southwesternmost point of Crete. Elafonisi is an oblong, which often "breaks" in two parts by water giving the impression of being a separate island.
Xotikospilio (i.e. the cave of elfs) is located 70km southwest of Chania, 30km south of Kissamos and 1.5 km northwest of Keramoti village. It is named after the small cave next to it where locals have seen elfs!
Stavros (i.e. cross) is a seaside village located 17km northeast of Chania, at the northernmost edge of Cape Akrotiri. One characteristic feature of the area is the very steep camel-shaped mountain rising opposite the harbor of Stavros. The mountain is famous, because there were filmed scenes for the film “Zorba the Greek”, where Anthony Quinn danced the famous Sirtaki Dance in 1964. Then Stavros was a small fishing village.
Glyka Nera (meaning "sweet water") is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, with deep blue water color and nice pebbles. In 2003, the beach was ranked among the best 20 in Europe by London Times. This is located 43km west of Chora Sfakion and 75km south of Chania. This is called like this because of the fresh water that gushes from the pebbles!
Stefanou beach is located near the position of Seitan Limania (i.e. satan harbours), 22km northeast of Chania and 2km east of the village Chordaki, at the east side of Akrotiri Cape. The wider area is named Seitan Limania, after the wild landscape, the steep cliffs and the strong sea streams which are very dangerous. Here are situated three parallel narrow coves, well protected from the waves.
Livadia coves are located near the village of Livadia, 72km southwest of Chania and 31km south of Kissamos. The coves are not popular to the visitors of the area, because they seem very rocky, as most beaches in west crete. They are mainly prefered by the residents and visitors of Livadia village and those who want to stay remote.
The tiny beach of Macherida is located 14km northeast of Chania and 1km west of the village Chorafakia, hidden in a rocky bay. The beach is named after the rocky cape in its north end that reminds of a knife (“machairi” means “knife” in Greek). According to another version, it is named after the flower Gladiolis italicus that is called “machairida” in Greek.
The island of Imeri Gramvousa is located 20km northwest of Kissamos, opposite the imposing Cape of Gramvousa and 2 miles northwest of the famous lagoon of Balos. Gramvousa is famous for its historical Venetian fortress, which still stands at a height of 137m, over the beach. The fort had also been used by pirates.
Georgioupolis is a seaside resort located 38km east of Chania and 21km west of Rethymnon. It is a small coastal town, situated in a lush valley filled with rivers and springs. The town lies on the western edge of a vast long beach with 10km length. Georgioupolis beach stretches 2km to the east, starting from the river Almiros and ending in Kavros beach, which is a natural extension of the first beach.
Loutro is a small seaside village situated approximately 71 km south of Chania, at the end of Cape Mouri. It is believed that this was the site of the ancient city of Phoenix and was the ancient port of Anopolis. Later, it became a winter port for Chora Sfakion, due to the fact that the enclosed bay and the small island at its entrance create a natural harbor where ships can be safe even in very bad weather.
Aspri Limni (i.e. White Lake) is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Crete, that almost nobody knows. This is a small secret beach, located 500m west of Chrysoskalitissa monastery and 70km southwest of Chania. Thousands of visitors are attracted by the nearby exotic Elafonissi lagoon, but actually nobody has heard of this magnificent neighboring place.
The beautiful beach Domata is located 7km east of Sougia and 58km south of Chania, at position Tseses. The beach is the ending point of the wild and rugged gorge of Klados.
The seaside village of Agia Marina is located just 9km west of Chania. It is one of the most popular resorts in Chania, with thousands of hotels and all types of touristic infrastructure. The village is named after the local church of Agia Marina.
Menies or Diktynna is located 45km northwest of Chania, on the northeastern shores of Cape Rodopos and at the exit of Foundas Gorge. It is a lovely secluded beach with pebbles and deep crystal blue waters.
Kato Stalos, which is the coastal part of Stalos, has a fantastic sandy beach. The beach is very well organized and is providing all the possible touristic services. For this reason, the beach is awarded every year with blue flag.
Lake Kournas and its surroundings constitute a very important ecosystem for Greece. Kournas is one of the very few areas of Crete where plenty of fresh water is stored throughout the year. For this reason, it is protected under the Natura 2000 program.
The beach of Tersanas is shaped inside a natural harbor, which faces south. It is a sandy beach with white fine sand and shallow crystal clear water. It is quite small and looks usually crowded, especially on weekends.