Seitan Limania Beach

Find the best beaches in Crete by car

Crete. This Greek island flashes images of endless summers, emerald and aquamarine waters and just stunning coastal beaches at almost every cove and bend around the island. It’s rich in history and is world renown. It’s the biggest island in Greece and located south of the country. With two airports, both at the capital of Heraklion and the other one in Chania, offering both international and domestic services. The great thing about this island is that it has 1,046 kilometers that you can explore and drive around with nary a hassle. It is possible to reach your favorite beach by car rental in Crete. Not sure where to go? Check this list of six stunning beaches in Crete that you can reach by car.

 

Seitan Limania

Tucked in a rocky cove located 144 kilometers from the island’s capital of Heraklion, it’s actually much closer to Chania International Airport with just a distance of nine kilometers and 20 kilometers to town. The drive can be interesting and dangerous with several hairpin bends and road drops without guard rails. But once you arrive at this beautiful sandy beach, also known as Stefanou Beach, you will be rewarded with a stunning cove where the waters graduate from delightful aquamarine to a deeper shade of blue as it deepens. An almost bare rocky outcrop from both sides makes this one of the scenic beaches in Crete. Photo above.

 

Psaromoura

Closer to the capital, Psaromoura is a quaint but stunning beach just walking distance from Agia Pelagia, around 22 kilometers from Heraklion. It has a sandy and pebbly shore with clear and crystalline waters perfect for swimming. Beach umbrellas litter the shore and is just close to showers and a canteen. Although small, the contrast with the rugged edge of the beach, comprised of rocky slopes makes for a dramatic view. As this is just very near the resort town of Agia Pelagia, you have several stay options from hotels to house rentals. There are also good restaurants nearby.

 

Elafonisi

Perhaps, one of the most stunning and best beaches in Crete. This is one you might readily associate the island with as it’s been seen in many postcards, tourism brochures and articles. This stunning beach is 91 kilometers from Chania International Airport, located at the southwest coast. It’s a protected area, thus there is little development in terms of modern amenities. But what you lack in modernity is readily compensated with its natural beauty. Solitary beaches abound with islets and sandbars to be discovered. It’s also an important bird migratory destination that its popular with bird watchers. What’s more, there are parts of the beach that has pink sand!

 

Balos Lagoon

A dreamlike destination in an uninhabited area at the northwestern tip of Crete, at Cape Tigani. Its a stunning beach of fine white sand hemmed in with steep and rocky cliffs. It’s a wonder with its almost endless azure water, islets and sandbars. One of the islets even has ruins of a Venetian castle dating back to 1582 and several more isolated beaches awaiting discovery. One can even hike and explore the numerous cliffside caves that abound in the area although one needs to protect oneself from the sun as it’s open land with low plants. The neartest village, Kaliviani is six kilometers away where one can also take on the daily cruises to this area including exploring the castle ruins.

 

Matala

Just close to Heraklion, Matala Beach and Lagoon is one of the best beaches in Crete that is popular with locals and visitors alike that it gets crowded during season. It has stunning rock formations, tamarisk trees at the beach edge, sand and pebbly shore as well as crystalline waters within the Bay of Messara. The sandstone hill is dotted with several caves and are protected. These are also important archaeological sites. There are also ruins nearby the beach and if you fancy underwater ruins too, you can explore it with a snorkeling gear. Near the beach are several tavernas for a delicious food trip as well as hotels and accommodations.

 

Skinaria

Part of the long coastline of Rythmnon, Skinaria Beach is a section of the wider Plakias area, known for its stunning beaches. If one is driving, it’s 113 kilometers from Heraklion, past stunning Crete landscape. The beach itself is small with both a pebbly and sandy shore, especially in the northern part. This beach is bordered with rocky outcrops and forms a picturesque scenery especially if you are coming from the narrow road. There’s a small taverna that not only sells refeshments and snacks but you can also get beach umbrellas and stuff. The water’s shade goes from aquamarine in the shallows to blue in the deeper parts. For divers and snorkelers, the deeper sections offers stunning marine wildlife. Outside the beach are some spring fed lakes with rich vegetation. There are some intesting rock formations around the area.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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