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Top three beaches in Western Crete

Updated on November 16, 2015
Umbrellas in Elafonisi Crete
Umbrellas in Elafonisi Crete

Only three?

There are many beautiful beaches in Crete and especially in the western side. But I think these three are the most beautiful and also I believe that anyone who comes to the island of Crete for holidays must visit them.

No 1 Balos Lagoon

Balos Lagoon is located at the North West part of Crete. The exact location is at the top of the Peninsula of Gramvousa. There are two ways to go to Balos, "the Hard" and "the Easy". The hard way means that you will have to drive on a rough terrain for approximately 40 mins and afterwards you will walk down the mountain path for another 40 mins. The easy way means that you will join a cruise to Gramvousa island and Balos Lagoon. The cruise starts from Kissamos port and it's a full day trip.

Balos beach is formated naturally into a lagoon during the summer season. The water is cold and at most of its part it is shallow. The whole area is protected from the Natura program and there is nothing built near by.

Balos Lagoon view from the mountain
Balos Lagoon view from the mountain

Venetian Fortress Gramvousa

The pirates' fortress
The pirates' fortress

The Gramvousa Island near Balos

Across Balos beach it is the island of Gramvousa or "The Pirates' Island". Its name comes from the recent history where the locals during the Turkish occupation used it as a base for piracy. On the top of the island there is a Venetian fortress. It is very hard to describe how beautiful is the view from up there. In this case a picture is better than a thousand words.

The view from the top

View to Gramvousa beach from the fortress
View to Gramvousa beach from the fortress

No 2 Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach is located at the Southern West part of Crete. It is approximately 75km from Chania town. You can go to Elafonisi beach by car or by bus. If you go by car there is plenty of space to park it. If you prefer the public transportation there is a regural bus schedule starting from Chania public bus station.

Elafonisi beach is famous for its clean water and the pink sand. It really is a rare sight, the sand is pink at most part of the beach. This has happened because millions of pinks shells with the passage of the years have been shreded and broken into tiny pieces from the waves.

Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi beach in Crete
Elafonisi beach in Crete
Pink Sand Elafonisi
Pink Sand Elafonisi

Elafonisi Beach and the Island

The Municipality of Inachoriou has a canteen for your refreshment or your snack. The water is shallow and is totally safe for children. Across the Elafonisi beach it is the Elafonisi island, you can visit the island by walking through the shallow water. Behind the island you will find a more quiet small beach with clear blue green water. The whole area is Natura protected and nothing is built around it. A day to Elafonisi is a fantastic excursion and on your road to Elafonisi you can also stop and visit other interesting places such as the Chrisoskalitisa Monastery and the Cave of Agia Sofia in Topolia village.

Panoramic view of Elafonisi beach and the Island

Elafonisi Panorama
Elafonisi Panorama

No 3 Falassarna Beach

Falassarna beach is located in North West Crete under the peninsula of Gramvousa. For many years and from many associations this beach has been awarded as one of the top ten in Europe. It is a fantastic beach with crystal clear blue water and golden thick sand. The water is getting deep very easy and is cold. The sandy beach in some parts is really wide, it exceeds the 150m. At the beach you will find Cafes and restaurants, plenty of car parking space and quite often plenty of wind blowing the sand everywhere..!! Sometimes it is really windy over there.

Falassarna Under Water

Under water picture of Falassarna
Under water picture of Falassarna

Falassarna Beach


Getting to the ancient Falassarna

Falassarna beach is divided in three parts. A large part in the South, a small part in the center and a small part at the North. Near to the small beach in the North you will find the remain ruins of the ancient Falassarna city and the ancient port. The ancient city reached its peak around 4th Century BC.

Falassarna Beach view from the mountain

Falassarna beach Panorama
Falassarna beach Panorama

Transportation that I recommend

For renting a car in Crete to visit these places click here

To join an organized excursion by bus click here

According to your opinion which beach appears to be the most beautiful?

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Gramvousa Island:
Γραμβούσα Χανίων, Ελλάδα

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The Pirates' island of Gramvousa near Balos Lagoon

Φαλάσαρνα 734 00, Ελλάδα

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Elafonisi, Ιναχώρι 730 01, Ελλάδα

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