From the dunes of Lafonissi and Xerokambos to the tropical shores of Kedrodasos and Chrissi, from the hidden beaches in the wild gorges of Sfakia and Asteroussia to the emerald bays of Triopetra and Plakias, from Balos and Elounda lagoons to the palm groves of Preveli and Vai, from piney beaches of Ierapetra to the long organized strands of the northern coasts, Crete offers the ultimate combination of carefree holidays and natural beauty, which can be finely reflected on its beaches.
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 thousands of visitors arriving daily with the boat from Ierapetra to Chrissi island mainly swim on the beach of Belerinina or Golden Beach. Bright blue waters, white sand with pink shades from the thousands of broken shells, the junipers that hold the sand with their huge roots is the backdrop that makes anyone fall in love with this place.
Ammoudara is a long beach which starts 1km west of the center of Heraklion and reaches the mouth of the river Almyros, 7km on the west. Ammoudara is today a suburb of Heraklion, with thousands of visitors every year, mainly because of the vast beach.
Agia Pelagia (Santa Pelagia) is located 21km west of Heraklion, on the west side of a long peninsula, which has many small coves with beautiful beaches. Agia Pelagia, initially a small and picturesque village built from the residents of Achlada village, transformed into a very popular tourist resort with many hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, internet cafés, ATMs, taxi, etc., that is connected with regular bus services to Heraklion.
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.
Kommos (or Komos) is located 66km southwest of Heraklion, just 2km north of Matala and close the seaside settlement of Kalamaki. It is actually the southernmost and the most isolated part of the huge beachfront of Mesara Bay. Kommos was once the port of Phaestus, so you can still see the ruins of the town, near the beach. You can access Kommos by driving in the road heading to Matala, till you see a sign to Kommos.
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.
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.