Rimmed by 1,046 km of pristine coastline, Crete boasts an unbeatable sea-sun-and-sand combo – and it rightfully showcases it to the world. If you’re planning an escape to the Oscar Suites & Village, here’s all you need to know about the best Chania beaches.
Made from the stuff of legends and dreams, Chania in Crete boasts some of the most Instagramable beaches on the planet. From cosmopolitan seaside resorts to world-famous, exotic lagoons and from secluded coves to family-friendly havens and sports-lovers playgrounds, there is something for every taste and disposition. Read on for our handpicked suggestions for the best Chania beaches and take your pick as the mood strikes.
Chania Beaches: Cosmopolitan treasure troves
Agia Marina – Platanias
Home to the Oscar Suites & Village Hotel, Agia Marina-Platanias, is a quaint coastal region just 9 km from the historic town of Chania, that has something for all: Nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, foodies, families with kids, party animals and everyone in between. This 20 km long stretch of golden sand sports azure-blue, calm and warm, shallow waters; a European Union Blue Flag award indicating a high level of safety, cleanliness and water quality; umbrellas and sun loungers; ample opportunities for aquatic fun including water ski, tubes and parasailing; as well as a lively drinking and dining scene. Rightfully amongst the most popular Chania beaches, Agia Marina-Platanias, is also a renowned sea turtle nesting site, with fenced-off areas to protect the species. The striking setting is complemented by the tiny deserted island of Thodorou — the habitat of the trademark Cretan goat, Kri kri — which sits just across the coast. Agia Marina also features a mini-golf course, numerous playgrounds and a “Magic Train” that travels by the seaside.
One of the most photographed beaches in the world, Balos, at the tip of Crete’s westernmost peninsula, features striking rock formations, white sands and gin-clear, light-blue waters that’ll transport you to the Caribbean in under an hour from the evocative old town of Chania. As paradisiacal as they come, Balos is, alas, one of the most crowded Chania beaches — and therefore best avoided in the high season.
With pink sands, ancient cedar trees and crystalline waters in technicolour turquoise, Elafonisi, in Crete’s southwest corner, is no wonder one of the most popular Chania beaches. The postcard-worthy setting attracts the lion’s share of visitors in the busy months of July and August — make sure to time your visit for June or September and even better, May or October.
Along with Balos and Elafonisi, Falassarna, on the Western coast of Crete, is voted systematically among the best beaches in the world. The spectacular setting consists of pale pink sands and blue-green waters with shades ranging from deep dark navy to phosphorescent turquoise. With unlimited views over the horizon, Falassarna also offers one of the island’s most cinematic sunsets. This superb beach is, of course, a crowd magnet— but you can find some privacy even in the busy months. Actually, there are five consecutive beaches in Falassarna — the most popular is Pachia Ammos, with a choice of beach bars and water sports facilities. If on the other hand, a bit of seclusion is what you are looking for, head towards the north, and if you like small coves, go south to discover a fascinating seabed.
Chania Beaches: Secluded havens
Aspri Limni beach
Some 70km southwest of Chania town and about 500m west of the Monastery of Chryssoskalitissa, Aspri Limni, is a mere 5-minute drive away from the world-famous Elafonissi Lagoon. Yet unlike its illustrious neighbour, it is unbeknown to most. Those though who are in on the secret will speak of a tropical setting that’s a great fit for nature lovers, families and solace seekers, alike. Surrounded by sharp rocks, Aspri Limni – whose name means white lake – looks like a small natural pool with white sands and turquoise waters. Home to Phoenix Theofrasti, Crete’s endangered palm species which are also found in Vai, Preveli, Agios Nikitas or Souda but also in South Turkey, Aspri Limni is also a Natura 2000 protected area. If you opt to venture off the beaten path, make sure to bring shade and provisions with you as there are no organized facilities on the beach.
Between blue skies and seas, Menies is a pristine sandy beach, 45km northwest of Chania Town, on the Rodopos Peninsula. Driving on a dirt road is required to get there — and there is no sign of organised facilities on the horizon. But the sublime setting and the serenity will recompense you. Surrounded by massive rock formations with wild goats roaming around, the striking landscape of Menies fascinated even the ancient Cretans, who chose this spot to build the sanctuary of Britomartis — the Minoan goddess of hunting, mountains and wild nature. if you’re into history, the neighbouring abandoned monastery of St. George and the quaint chapel of St. John the Giona, are also worth a visit.
Is your appetite whetted for a cooling dip into crystalline waters? Stay tuned to the Oscar Suites & Village blog for more tips and advice for tours and excursions in Chania, as well as local insights and suggestions on what to see and do on the amazing island of Crete!