Staying in the Chania area in Crete is one of the best decisions to make as I truly believe it’s the best place to stay in Crete. One of the main reasons I keep on telling people that Chania region and West Crete should be your first choice for accommodation is because this is the area with the best beaches in Crete and some of the best beaches in Greece. Here is the ultimate list of the best Chania beaches (for most of them, you need a car to visit them):
Since Crete is a pretty big island (the size of Hawaii’s big island) and not your typically Mamma Mia-like greek island where you can basically walk everywhere (more or less… but you get my point!). The main thing I would advise you though for the Chania beaches is this:
You need to drive a car to explore Chania beaches in the best way possible.
To be totally honest, you can take the local bus but it would be tiring and will probably involve a lot of walking, so I highly recommend renting a car (Rentalcars is the best website for renting a car in Greece, in my opinion).
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So, the best Chania beaches are:
- Balos (Google Maps)
- Elafonissi (Google Maps)
- Falasarna (Google Maps)
- Stavros (Google Maps)
- Marathi (Google Maps)
- Loutraki (Google Maps)
- Seitan Limania (Google Maps)
- Souda (Google Maps)
- Stalos (Google Maps)
- Frangokastello (Google Maps)
- Platanias (Google Maps)
- Pahia Ammos (Google Maps)
- Sougia (Google Maps)
- Kalathas (Google Maps)
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW
- When You Can Actually Swim in the Sea in Chania: the sea water is perfect in Chania between May-October (and including these 2 months), so if you are not visiting between these months it’s probably going to be too cold to swim anywhere in Crete
- Best Beach of Chania: all of them are really nice, but I believe that Falassarna because of its accessibility and golden sand is (in my opinion) the best; Elafonissi and Balos are obviously more exotic and prettier but it’s difficult to access them, and you definitely need a car to access them
- Best Beach for Families and kids: if you are staying in Chania then I believe that Marathi beach, with its great beach bar and amenities around, is ideal for families
- Best Beach Hotel of Chania: Domes Noruz Chania Hotel
- Best Beach Villa of Chania: Velvet Breeze Superior Villa
1. Balos Beach
Balos Beach Information
How to get to Balos Beach: you can take a ferry from Kissamos town which will take you and to the island of Gramvoussa (you can book this ferry here); you can also drive to Balos, but I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT ALL! The road is horrible and you need a 4×4 and very good driving skills not only to avoid the massive rocks along the way but also to avoid the occasional chilled wild mountain goat (they are called kri-kri in Crete) on the way there. You have no reason to drive from Chania to Balos. I warned you. however, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, then you can definitely try to do the 3 hours of hiking (trekking) from the village of Kaliviani. You can even try a Private RIB Cruise from Kissamos to Balos lagoon or even a Sailing Cruise to Balos with Lunch on board which would obviously be the most expensive but the most breathtaking experience.
Best Restaurant near Balos Beach: Gramboussa Restaurant is an amazing place with excellent Cretan food just a few minutes’ drive outside of Kissamos town
Balos is one of the most famous beaches not only in Crete but also in Europe. With exotic waters and golden sand, this place feels like the Maldives or a tropical paradise island and many people even call the pink beach of Crete (yes, the sand may look pink in some areas). It is tricky to reach it and as I said before, please do not attempt to drive. This is a very well-protected Natura 2000 site (these are EU places with unparalleled natural beauty that are home to very rare animals and plants) and you may encounter some rare caretta-caretta sea turtles and definitely lots of very rare plants. This is an area of massive ecological importance for Crete and a spectacular landscape.
Elafonissi Beach Information
How to get to Elafonisi Beach: the only way to get to Elafonisi beach is by driving there from Chanis (1.5 hours drive) or get a private day trip from anywhere you stay to Elafonisi: from Chania, from Heraklion or from Rethymno
Best Restaurant near Elafonisi Beach: there is only a canteen on Elafonissi beach so you need to drive to go to the best restaurant around which is Glykeria Restaurant with excellent views of the Elafonissi lagoon
Elafonissi beach is the second most famous beach of Crete after Balos of course and they are quite similar to be honest. Elafonissi though is easier to access and you can definitely drive there with your own car as there is no need for a 4×4. The beach itself is endless and the waters are amazing but very shallow as you would expect from a lagoon like this. The only thing you need to be aware is that you need to bring your own umbrella for sun protection if you are planning to spend the whole day there, as there are only very few sunbeds with umbrellas that get occupied quickly (especially in the summer months of June, July and August). The other thing is that you need to bring your own food and drinks because even though there is one small canteen there it might not be enough (especially if you are visiting with kids). So, be very well prepared and try to be there as early as possible (preferably before 11am) as this is when most of the people arrive in the summer.
Falassarna Beach Information
How to get to Falassarna Beach: the best way to get to Falassarna is by driving but you can also take the local bus from Chania which will take you there in about 1 hour (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website)
Best Restaurant near Falasarna Beach: Captain Nikolas has awesome seafood (and not only)
Falassarna has been my personal favourite beach for years when visiting Chania and I will definitely come back. The beach is perfect in my opinion as it’s got everything: it is very wide, it has amenities such as showers and beach bars with sunbeds, it has golden sand and you can be there in less than an hour. There is also civilization around (not like Elafonissi and Balos for example) and a few small villages and towns that have good opportunities for a meal.
Stavros Beach Information
How to get to Stavros Beach: the best way to get to Stavros is by driving for about 30 mins but you can also take the local bus from Chania which will take you there (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website)
Best Restaurant near Stavros Beach: Almyriki Restaurant has a yummy menu in a stunning location over the beach
Stavros beach was made famous all over the world when the Oscar-winning movie “Zorba the greek” was shot there in the 60’s, showing Anthony Quinn dancing syrtaki on the sandy beach underneath its impressive rock. There is literally a sign on the beach that shows you where that dance took place. In case you are wondering I am talking about that scene and song. The beach itself is pretty big and wide with lovely waters and golden sand.
Marathi Beach Information
How to get to Marathi Beach: the best way to get to Marathi is by driving for about 20 mins but you can also take the local bus from Chania, which will take you there (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Marathi Beach: Patrelantonis restaurant on the beach won’t dissapoint you
Marathi beach is the best family-friendly beach near Chania, in my opinion. If you have kids then this is the beach to spend your day. Marathi has everything in regards to amenities, toilets, restaurants and cafes literally meters away from the sea and overall is a very well protected bay. You can even rent a SUP at Marathi or do other water sports on the beach. This is a perfect environment for any family and a day can easily be spent on Marathi doing lots of things and feeling great as you don’t have to worry about much as everything you may need is around. And that’s a day well spent in my opinion…
Loutraki Beach Information
How to get to Loutraki Beach: Loutraki is very close to Marathi so the best way to get to Loutraki is by driving for about 20 mins but you can also take the local bus from Chania, which will take you there (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Loutraki Beach: Loutraki Beach Restaurant is your best option
Loutraki is very close to Marathi so you may even want to visit them on the same day. The beach itself is pretty small with sand but there is a lovely area on the rock with sunbeds (not free) and showers on the grass which is deal for relaxing. You will see lots of locals in that beach bar but the great thing is that you will be surprised by the colour of the sea waters underneath once you dive in. As this is a rocky area there is no easy way of getting into the water other than just diving through a small platform with metal steps. However, you can also stay on the sandy area of the beach.
7. Seitan Limania
Seitan Limania Beach Information
How to get to Seitan Limani Beach: Seitan Limania is a very remote beach that you can only access it by car and then a 15 mins rough hike/climbing or by boat; it is very difficult in general to access the beach so it’s not recommended to anyone with kids or seniors
Best Restaurant near Seitan Limania: there is no restaurant or any other building around; you should go back to Chania town and have a meal there
Seitan Limania is only for those who want to take the adventure on and are in good shape. It’s a tough one so don’t say I haven’t warned you. It’s a magical location but unfortunately very difficult to reach and it’s been like this so it’s as unspoiled as possible. The beach itself has small (and some large) pebbles and if it’s windy the waves might become rough and there is nobody to save you around so you have to be very careful. Overall, I would say it is an exceptional experience that you will be better off visiting it on a private tour by boat.
Stalos Beach (Agia Marina) Information
How to get to Stalos Beach: Stalos and Agia Marina beach is very close to Chania so the best way to get there is either by driving for about 15 mins or by taking the local bus from Chania, which will take you there (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Stalos Beach: you will have literally hundreds of options around the area as it’s one of the most developed areas of Crete but if I had to pick one then I would say Nostos Restaurant tick all the boxes with fantastic cretan food
Stalos and Agia Marina are very close to Chania in one of the most developed areas of the island with hundreds of hotels, airbnb’s, restaurants and shops around. With all its buzzing environment, this is the complete opposite beach of Seitan Limania, but it is still a great sandy beach which is perfect for families and kids. There is a ton of options for food around and if that’s what you are looking then you may find yourself coming back to Stalos as it’s a great environment overall and very close to Chania town.
Frangokastello Beach Information
How to get to Frangokastello Beach: Frangokastello is very far from Chania so the best way to get there is either by driving for about 1.5 hours or by taking the local bus from Chania, which will take you there in about 2 hours (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Frangokastello Beach: there are a few options around but if you want something special you should better try Posidonio Restaurant on the hills behind Frangokastello
Frangokastello literally means “Venetian Castle” in greek so it’s pretty obvious what the ruins of the castle on the beach used to be. This is a beautiful landscape a few minutes’ drive from Hora Sfakion (but 2 hours from Chania…) which is a famous remote village on the south side of Crete. The beach itself is massive and very wide with a couple of cafes and not much else going on around. There are however umbrellas and sunbeds form the local beach bars that you can rent for the day (usually around 10-15 euros per pair – always ask before you sit).
Platanias Beach Information
How to get to Platanias Beach: Platanias beach is very close to Chania so the best way to get there is either by driving for about 15 mins or by taking the local bus from Chania, which will take you there (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Platanias Beach: there are tens of restaurants around with plenty of options but my favourite one is Romeos Family Taverna
Platanias is the continuation of the Stalos and Agia Marina beach and it’s the same long beach, really. It is mostly a thick sand beach with very few pebbles here and there. There are lots of umbrellas and sunbeds on the beach that you can rent and many beach bars, hotels, cafes and restaurants around. Eventhough this area of Chania becomes very busy in the summer months (mostly July and August) there is always space for you to sit on the beach and it never feels crowded.
11. Pahia Ammos
Pachia Ammos Beach Information
How to get to Pahia Ammos Beach: you can get to Pachia Ammos beach you have to drive for about 1.5 hours from Chania but you can also take the local bus from Chania to Paleochora, which will take you there in about 1.5 hours (here is the Chania KTEL Buses website);
Best Restaurant near Pahia Ammos Beach: Paleochora has plenty of great options for restaurants but in my opinion Aristea’s Kitchen is one of the best in town
Pachia Ammos literally means “thick sand” in greek so it’s clear what to expect from that beach. This is Paleochora’s main beach and it’s great and very family friendly with lots of options for water sports and food on the beach. Also, since it’s in Paleochora main town you have many options for a restaurant afterwards.
Sougia Beach Information
How to get to Sougia Beach: the only option you have is to drive there from Chania as there is no local bus that can take you there. Be prepared for though for some windy mountain driving…
Best Restaurant near Elafonisi Beach: there are a few options just behind the beach but Polifimos is the best
Sougia beach is a lovely white, black, green, red and grey pebbles beach on the south side of Crete that is famous for its lovely waters and the cute seaside village behind it. This is a remote and calm place that will make you forget all your troubles. If you are looking for sand this is not your beach though. The sea water itself is very clear and usually warm but it gets deep quickly. There are a few umbrellas and sunbeds on the beach that will cost you around 10 euros for 2 for the whole day.
Kalathas Beach Information
How to get to Kalathas Beach: this beach is only a 20 mons drive from Chania or a 30 mins bus ride from the center of Chania
Best Restaurant near Kalathas Beach: you will be better off if you go back to Chania to eat as there is not much choice around
Kalathas is another personal favourite when it comes to beaches in Chania. This is a very well-protected bay with a lovely beach bar and as a bonus addition, there is a rock on the right side of the beach for diving. This is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters only 20 mins from Chania town and generally very accessible by car. There is also a small island in front of the beach where you can definitely swim to. This is ideal for families, kids and seniors. There are also showers and toilets on the beach.
So, these are the best Chania Beaches. If you only have time for one or two beaches then let those be Balos or Elafonisi as they are truly spectacular natural landscapes. However, if you really don’t want to drive miles away from Chania or you are really looking for a small family friendly beach with amenities, I highly recommend Marathi beach, Kalathas beach or Platanias beach which are both very close to Chania and have lots of restaurants and cafes around and in my opinion, are ideal for families.
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