Best Chania Beaches

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

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):

chania beaches
Stavros beach close to Chania is the famous beach that “Zorba the Greek ” famous movie was shot back in the 60’s.

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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:

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

1. Balos Beach

balos beach crete
Balos beach is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and exotic beaches in Europe, but it is not easy to access it

Balos Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

2. Elafonissi

elafonissi beach crete
Elafonissi is a similar to Balos tropical scenery with kilometres of sandy beach and turquoise sapphyre waters but it’s a 1.5 hour drive from Chania (and it’s not an easy drive)

Elafonissi Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

3. Falassarna

falassarna falasarna beach crete chania
Falassarna is my personal favourite when it comes to Chania beaches as it’s massive, it’s sandy, there are amenities with sunbeds and umbrellas and it’s not that far from Chania

Falassarna Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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)

My Opinion:

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.

4. Stavros

Stavros beach is an excellent and pretty large sand beach about 30 minutes drive from Chania which is famous for being the location of the famous “Zorba the Greek” movie from the 60’s (yes, the one with the famous soundtrack.…)

Stavros Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

5. Marathi

marathi beach crete chania
Marathi beach is a great option for families as it’s a small sandy bay with lots of restaurants and family friendly beach bars, along with many sunbeds and umbrellas

Marathi Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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…

6. Loutraki

Loutraki is a small but lovely beach in the north of Chania with amazing waters and a funky beach bar on top of the rock

Loutraki Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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 crete
The small paradise called Seitan Limania is very difficult to be accessed (you need proper hiking shoes after driving for about 30 mins from Chania) but the beach will reward you

Seitan Limania Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

8. Stalos

stalos beach crete chania
Stalos beach (or Agia Marina beach) is one of the most beautiful beaches close to Chania with lovely sand, excellent amenities, restaurants and hotels around but it can get windy sometimes in the summer

Stalos Beach (Agia Marina) Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

9. Frangokastello

frangokastello beach crete
Frangokastello is pretty far from Chania and it’s on the other side of Crete overlooking…Africa and the Libyan sea

Frangokastello Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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).

10. Platanias

platanias beach crete chania
Platanias beach is also very close to Chania town and it’s pretty much the same beach with Stalos-Agia Marina as they share the same long road which is full of shops, restaurants and hotels

Platanias Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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 crete beach palaiochora
Pachia Ammos is basically the beach of the lovely town of Palaiochor on the south side of Crete

Pachia Ammos Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

12. Sougia

sougia beach chania crete
Sougia is a lovely beach with white pebbles close to Palaiochora

Sougia Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

13. Kalathas

kalathas beach crete chania
Kalathas is also one of my personal favourites for Chania as it is pretty close to Chania and it’s perfect for families with kids with its golden sand and its rocky bay that is well protected from the winds

Kalathas Beach Information

On Google Maps

On Instagram

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

My Opinion:

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.

CONCLUSION

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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AUTHOR
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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