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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kolokytha is a small island just opposite the Peninsula of Spinalonga, 12km north of Agios Nikolaos and close to Elounda. Opposite the island there is the fantastic beach of Saint Luke, mostly known as Kolokytha. To access the beach you should first follow a scenic route: From the town of Elounda, follow the road leading to the East, along the shore. You will pass the old salt pans on your right hand, which now host many birds.
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 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 beach is shaped at the exit of a small gorge, surrounded by long cliffs. The circular bight of the bay conceals it from the open sea, making Vathy a natural hideout. It is no coincidence that pirates used it as their anchorage. The well-protected beach has almost always calm waters, although the surrounding beaches can be very wavy.