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Crete, the queen of the best Mediterranean beaches

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Matala Beach 1

Summer is approaching and Greece appears in the destination of many people who have already planned their vacations. One of the most classic sites is Crete, the largest and most populated of the Greek islands.

An ancient island culture, a long and rich history, beautiful beaches, tasty cuisine, good popular music and valuable archaeological sites identify this island which is our destination today with the hope that it will be our destination tomorrow… How are we going to get to Crete, what do we do there and what are its best beaches:

Crete, in the Mediterranean


As I said, Crete is one of the largest and most populated Greek islands. Its capital is the city of Heraklion, a city that is also considered one of the largest in the country. One of the oldest chapters of history dates back to the Mycenaean civilization and the ruins of the Palace of Knossos and other archaeological ruins remain from that time, but the current capital is also an ancient city since its foundation dates back to the 9th century. century.

Heraklion will be your gateway to Crete. here there is the commercial port and the ferry port which bring or take you to and from Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Paros, Ios and the port of Piraeus, Athens. If you arrive in Greece by plane from America, you will surely enter through Athens, so connect the airport to the port and change from the plane to the ferry. The ideal is to stay about three days in the Greek capital and then leave.

Ferries to Heraklion

In any case, if you arrive in Crete from European destinations, you can arrive directly because It has an international airport. It is located a few kilometers, about five, from the city, and after Athens it is the busiest. Of course, many flights go through Athens. The cheapest flights are those of low cost airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet but if you are traveling in the summer it is always a good idea to buy as early as possible as the island is very popular.

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There are two other airports, less important but it is possible that your flight uses one. There is the military airport of Daskalogiannis, in Chaniaand the one at Yes aunt, which focuses only on domestic flights. A flight between Heraklion or Chania and Thessaloniki takes 90 minutes and Rhodes one hour. if you are more adventurous you can use the ferry but it takes much longer.

planes for crete

There is a daily service from Piraeus during the year and in summer two more are added. From Santorini, Mykonos and other Cycladic islands you can take fast catamarans. There are other routes from the neighboring islands, but it seems to me that these are the most recommended for tourists. There are several companies: Anek, Sea Jets, Hellenic Seaways, LANE Lines, for example.

If you are traveling by car, you must make a reservation and the same if you are traveling at night or on the fastest services. You can buy tickets on the companies’ websites (they are usually cheaper than in search engines), and there are different prices depending on the category and the distance to be travelled. If you are a student, ask for discounts.

How to get around Crete

Buses in Crete

It must first be said that in addition to Heraklion there are other important cities: Chania, Lasithi, Rethymno, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra. To move around the island, there is a transport service consisting of the buses. It’s cheap and relatively efficient, although you may come across a bus that goes off the route and enters a village because a local passenger asks it to. In Heraklion there are two central bus stations and one of them concentrates KTEL services (the group of bus companies).

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Another option is rent a car but keep in mind that credit cards are generally not accepted at gas stations, people don’t respect traffic lights very much, local drivers are quite aggressive in the way they get around and parking in the cities is rare. Also there are taxis but if your budget is limited I do not recommend it because it is an expensive service. There are taxis everywhere, yes, and two tariffs: day and night.

beaches of crete

Balos Beach

Crete has many beaches. There are beaches in Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, Lasithi, Hersonissos and even some naturist beaches. The waters in summer are warm, between 26 and 27 ºC in July and 20 ºC in May. They are never very cold so there are people who say that it is possible to swim all year round. The calmest beaches and the warmest waters are those on the north coast. They also have lifeguards. Of course, the winds are stronger and create waves, so if you have no sea swimming experience… be careful!

matala beach

The beaches on the south coast are always less crowded and that is why some campers choose them to pitch their tent, although it is not allowed. On one side or the other, if the beach is organized, you can rent deck chairs and umbrellas for 5, 6 or 7 euros. It is optional, although it seems to you that the umbrellas occupy the whole island, there is always a free and free sector to accommodate.

Elafonissi Beach

The beaches of Crete are safe because there are no dangerous animals. There are also a few nudist beaches, although nudism is not officially permitted if tolerated. It is impossible to make a list of the best beaches in Crete because there are many but my selection and that of many people is as follows:

  • Balls: It is a charming open beach, with white sand and turquoise waters. You can get there by car or boat, but there is no bus or lifeguard. No natural shade but parasols and deckchairs are rented. It’s a nudism friendly beach low water. It’s in Chania.
  • elafonisi: also in Chania it is a very accessible beach because you can get there by boat, bus, car or on foot. White sand, calm waters, tolerated nudism, surfers, everyone enjoys the Blue flag.
  • Go: This is a wonderful beach in Lassithi, surrounded by the largest palm forest in Europe. Five thousand trees!
  • to anticipate: It is a beach in Rethymno which has a river flowing into the sea, very picturesque. It even forms a kind of lake by the sea suitable for swimming.
  • kill her: the most famous beach of Heraklion. It’s a hippie beach with caves and a reddish landscape. It is an organized beach and every summer it hosts a popular music Festival.
  • Agiofarango: It is a beach that is at the mouth of the Agiofarago canyon, with caves and caverns nearby. There is a chapel of San Antonio near the stream that flows into the sea, ideal for drinking water if the heat burns the beach. You only get there by walking from the mountain or through the canyon or by boat.
  • Dunes of San Pavlos: is considered one of the best beaches in CreteIt has warm waters and people come looking for privacy. You can only get there on foot or by boat, there is no natural shade but you rent parasols.
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Consider that Crete has over 1000 kilometers of coastline. so there are not dozens of them but hundreds of beaches, known, popular, secret, isolated. Of all and for all tastes. If you don’t have time to go there this summer, think about the island for the next or maybe another season. The low season is from November to March, the atmosphere is more relaxed, or the mid-season which runs from April to June and September to October and gives us the best weather for hiking.

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