Surrounded by the mythical and marvelous Aegean and Libyan seas, Crete is famous for its ancient history, unique brand of hospitality, and unequaled seascapes. With a jagged coastline of 1,046 kilometers (650 miles), Greece’s biggest island has hundreds of spectacular beaches set in a natural panorama like nowhere else on Earth.
117 Blue Flag-designated beaches make Crete a top destination for those in search of beach resorts or municipalities where organized facilities support swimming, sunbathing, and watersports activities. But there’s another, more adventurous side of the island that’s just as appealing. For those in search of uncrowded and unspoiled Crete secrets, here’s a shortlist of secluded beaches you must visit.
At the foot of the Asterousia Mountains in the southern part of Heraklion Prefecture, Kaminaki Beach is just over an hour’s drive from Crete’s capital. Surrounded by wild mountains, this fantastic beach sits at the end of Perivoliano Gorge. Like most of the island’s hidden gems, the beach is more easily accessible by boat from nearby Tris Ekklisies (Three Churches) village since the gorge is challenging to traverse on foot. Here you’ll discover a virtually untouched pebbly beach where you may happen across a local fisherman, but surely no one else. If you go, venture up the mouth of the gorge to the waterfalls.
Not far from village Siva, about 80 kilometers south of Heraklion, Vathi Beach is a perfect respite for people anxious to get away from the noise of life. Once a pirate harbor, the bay at Vathi is nothing short of magnificent. Its protecting cliff walls shelter the bay from the winds, preventing big waves, thus making the spot perfect for swimming. Vathi is a sandy beach with some stones mixed in, and the water is reasonably shallow. The beach is accessible by car but beware of the rocky road that leads there from Sivas if you want your vehicle to remain in one piece. Your best bet is to catch a boat from world-famous Matala or Kokkinos Pyrgos.
A short distance from world-famous Vai Beach in the far east of Crete, this secluded stretch of sea and fine pebbles is also accessible by boat. You can walk there, but the trek from Vai or the nearest road will take you about an hour. Kedromouri means “junipers’ cape,” and the spot is well named because of the beautiful trees that line landward to the beach. This is a nudist-friendly beach perfect for swimming and fishing. Winds from the east on Crete are rare, so the beach is almost always a flat calm.
Not far from Ierapetra in the south of Lassithi Prefecture, Galini Beach is a well-hidden Cretan gem. Located at a partly developed village of the same name, the beach is surrounded by lush nature and countless coves and caves loosely connected by footpaths. The beach has fine pebbles, crystal blue waters, and it’s secluded by a rocky formation obscuring the view from overhead. Galini is between the villages of Ahlia Beach to the east and Agia Fotia to the west. You can access the beach easily, but it is a steep walk from the main road to the bottom of the cliff overhead.
Orthi Ammos Beach
One of Crete island’s most spectacular sandy beaches, Orthi Ammos is situated about 80 kilometers south of Chania, near the famous Frangokastelo. The beach is impressive for its crystal clear turquoise waters, and for the massive sandhill that backs the stretch of idyllic seascape. Once a nudist beach due to its relative secludedness, the beach is a bit more touristy now. Beachgoers can access this hidden gem with a 10-minute walk down the huge dunes from the road. Carry as few beach implements as possible with you, as the climb back to the road may be challenging after a few hours in the sun. The sand is hot in Cretan summer too. Try to see the famous “ghosts” of fort Frangokastelo here: this was the beach where 335 Greek heroes who fought against the Turks during the Battle of Frangokastello were found covered in beach sand back in 1828.