Beaches of Crete
Beaches of Crete: Hundreds of amazing beaches await you at the north and the south coast of the island
The beaches of Crete are amongst the best beaches in not only the Mediterranean Sea, but in the whole world as well. They range from small secluded beaches, to large beaches with several kilometres of coastline, and from typical Mediterranean beaches, to tropical ones.
Practically all of the beaches of Crete have crystal-clear waters, and they come in all kinds: sandy beaches, beaches with small or big pebbles, and even some rocky beaches.
There are about 150 known beaches in Crete – and many more not so well known. The beaches of West Crete are generally more varied and the natural surroundings are more pleasant for the visitor, as most of the times they offer plenty of shade, which is necessary during the hot summer midday of Crete.
Beaches of Crete – the sea and the winds
The sea in the beaches of Crete is warm in summer which makes swimming very comfortable and pleasant. Generally you can swim with ease for about 6 months, from the midst of April up to the midst of October – although many people swim for 7-8 months every year. Along this period the water temperature ranges from about 20 °C to 27 °C, but it generally never falls between 17 °C, making swimming in Crete all year round relatively easy.
There are occasional winds in the beaches of Crete, which sometimes are strong. The north winds which blow all year round are the most common – the south winds generally blow during the winter. In the summer there are also the characteristic winds of the South Aegean Sea, the so-called “meltemia” in Greek, which blow from the northwest.
As the winds in summer blow from the north, the beaches of Crete on the north are more affected by them. When they are strong, they create high waves at some beaches on the north coast of Crete. If this is the case, only experienced swimmers should try to swim – always following, of course, the lifeguards’ instructions and checking if there is a red flag which signals that the sea is not suitable or even dangerous for swimming.
Due to their position and surroundings, some of the beaches of Crete are unaffected by strong winds. In West Crete, some of the most known of these beaches are Kalives, Almyrida, Plaka, Marathi, Balos and Loutro.
Beaches of Crete – more things you have to know
Among the beaches of Crete, the ones in the north coast are most of the times shallower and warmer than the beaches in the south coast of the island. Many times the northern beaches also have lifeguards on duty.
On the other hand, the beaches in the south coast of Crete are generally less crowded and more pristine. In some of them there are particular places, mainly at one corner of the beach, where nudism is permitted. (Keep in mind that nudists are experts at finding the best beaches around, so their presence there generally means that you have found a great beach!)
You can easily find parasols and sun beds in the beach, especially in the northern beaches of Crete. Regarding free camping, although it is generally prohibited in Crete and Greece, there are certain places, mainly in the southern beaches of Crete, where you can camp by the sea.
The beaches of Crete are world-class and unique, as the island itself. As Crete features a stunning 1.000 kilometres of coastline, the variety of the beaches of Crete is astounding.