The southern coast of Rethymnon hosts some of the most beautiful, untouched exotic beaches of Crete. At Agios Pavlos, huge sand-hills descend steeply and vanish into the sea, forming a beach, where one may sense the most positive vibrations of the island. On the adjacent beaches of Ligres and Pahia Ammos by Kerames the scenery remains mysterious. However, the most brilliant turquoise waters in Rethymnon are found on the beaches of Skinaria, Ammoudi and Damnoni, all located near Plakias.
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It is certainly the most famous beach in southern Crete, accepting thousands of visitors every summer. During the 60s and 70s, it was a favorite destination for hippies. On the banks of the Grand River there is a large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, which give the region a sense of an African landscape.
Bali has four beaches, which are formed in sandy coves with nice greenish waters. The beaches are almost always calm, since the direction of Bali is western. They all are suitable for children and well organized. Moreover, water is cool because of the several springs that carry fresh water into the sea.
Plakias is a popular tourist resort, located 36km south of Rethymno city, at the exit of a fertile valley surrounded by high mountains and dense olive groves. Next to it empties the river Kotsifos.
The sandy beach of Rethymno is located just 1km east of the city centre, next to the Venetian port. It's a lovely beach with golden sand and crystal clear shallow waters, very well organized and close to all amenities of the city.
Triopetra consists mainly of two beaches, which are separated by a small peninsula. At the edge of the peninsula, in the sea, three majestic rocks rise. Triopetra is named after these rocks, since it means “Three Rocks”.
It is actually the last beach of the vast beachfront of Plakias, called Yialia, which starts at Shinaria, several kilometers away. Unlike the true meaning of the name (the Latin word suda means narrow passage), the bay of Souda is quite large.
Ammoudi is a beach complex located 32km south of Rethymno and 4km east of Plakias. To get here, you have to drive by paved road from the village Lefkogia.
Skinaria beach (or Shinaria) is located 33km south of Rethymno, 3km south of the village Lefkogia, in the east part of the wider Plakias area. The beach is relatively unknown to most locals, but for its few visitors it remains a heaven and some of them regard it as one of the best beaches of Crete.
Panormo is situated about 20km east of Rethymno, in the region of Milopotamos. It is a tranquil resort, which has met a fast development in recent years, without however losing its traditional face. The wild beauty of the pure Cretan landscapes, the picturesque village, the beautiful beaches and easy access, have contributed to this development.
One of the best kept secrets in Rethymno aside from Akoumiani Gialia or more popularly known as Triopetra beach to tourists and locals alike, are the breathtaking Melissa Cape Sandhills, by Agios Pavlos, which is considered as among the best beaches in Crete.
Ligres is located 51km south of Rethymno and 7km south of the village Kerames, at the foot of the imposing mount of Siderotas. It is actually the northbound part of the beachfront called Akoumiani Gialia.
The beach that stretches in front of the resort is a long bay with beautiful turquoise waters and coarse white sand. Here you will find all the services of a very well organized beach like umbrellas, snack bars, showers, changing rooms, water sports, scuba diving centre, great hotels, restaurants, horse riding centre etc.
Skaleta beachfront starts 11km east of Rethymno and stretches 3km to the east. It is the last part of the vast beach of the Gulf of Rethymno. The first beach after Pighianos Kampos is Sfakaki, a very well organised resort.
Paximadia Islands are two small uninhabited islets off the Gulf of Messara, 12km (7.5 miles) south of Agia Galini. By far they seem like a single island because they are very close. You may also hear locals refer to these as "Elephant", since from afar they remind of a lying elephant. Their total length is about 3km.
The beach Episkopi is located 45km east of Chania and 14km west of Rethymnon, in a fertile valley with lowlands. It takes its name from the nearby village, Episkopi, located 2km southern. Almost no-one Greek knows this place, but everybody knows the family Vardinoyannis, originating from here. This is one of the richest families in Greece.
At the exit of the river that runs in the canyon of Rodakino, 2km south of the village, there are many beautiful and tranquil beaches. To visit them you should take the road that leads to Korakas. Despite the fact that it has a great beachfront, Rodakino is not highly developed and still retains its traditional character and harmony.
The coastal village of Agios Pavlos (St. Paul) is located 58km south of Rethymno, west of Agia Galini, and on the edge of Cape Melissa. You can access the area by driving from the villages Akoumia or Sachtouria.
Fotinari (or Foteinari) is located 37km south of Rethymno, between Plakias and the beach of Souda. There are two beautiful quiet beaches, which are formed in the hug of two small coves with lush vegetation. The rocky seabed is ideal for fishing and snorkeling.
Louros is a rocky area between the settlements of Agios Georgios by Agia Galini and Agios Pavlos, hosting several small beaches. There is a road running above them all. Driving west from Agios Georgios, we soon meet the small beaches of Armenopetra (i.e. sailing rock) named after a lonely boulder in the sea. The beaches are ideal for snorkeling.
Kalo Horafi is located approximately 37km east of Rethymno and 43km west of Heraklion, at the former position of 318 Agii Pateres (318 Holy Fathers) monastery. The monastery does not survive today, but there is a newer chapel commemorating that. “Kalo Horafi” is the name of the wider area, characterized by the wild Cretan landscape with high mountains and green gorges.