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 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.
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.
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.
Kato Gouves (or simply Gouves) is a popular holiday resort located 18km east of Heraklion, in the foothills of Mount Ederi. In the past, the valley of Kato Gouves was cultivated by the residents of the village of Ano Gouves with vegetables, olives, and cereals.
The seaside village of Platanias is located 11km west of Chania. The wider area has faced a great development during the last decades and now is actually a suburb of Chania. The village is built on a hillside with fantastic view. During summer nights, the great clubs in the area host thousands of people, both Greeks and foreigners, who dance until dawn.
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.
Sissi (or Sisi) is located 26km west of Agios Nikolaos and 41km east of Heraklion, in close proximity to Malia. It is a peaceful traditional village with narrow streets and beautiful taverns. Its trademark is the harbor with the clean and calm waters.