Please sign in to post.

Beach Suggestions for Western Crete

Our family of 5 will be in Crete for 4.5 days. Staying 4 nights in Chania, and the last in Iraklio. We are planning to spend our first day at Elafonisi Beach, the second hiking the Samaria Gorge, then looking for suggestions for a beach on the western side for the third day.

In looking at Balos Beach it sounds like the road in is hard if you don't have a 4X4 (we'll be renting a VW van), and I'm not sure taking the ferry over with a two hour stop on the way and hordes of people sounds like our style. That said, it looks like an amazing beach.

We are thinking that Falasarna Beach might be a great alternative with less people and the historic ruins to the north, but it also sounds like this beach might get hammered by wind.

I would welcome any thoughts folks might have on the better beach, and if there's another suggestion that we might be missing. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1272 posts

If you choose to visit Balos with your rental vehicle be aware you will invalidate your insurance if you damage the vehicle on that road. Hundreds of people do drive it every day but they are taking a risk.

You might want to reconsider the boat excursion from Kissamos port. The ferry can be crowded but there is lots of room. The bonus to this way of getting to Balos, is the 2 hour stop on the way. That stop is at Gramvossa. It has a sunken shipwreck plus a 14th century Pirate fortress that you can climb up to. That may be a highlight of the whole trip for the kids.

Images of the excursion plus Elafonissi.

Gramovossa,Balos and Elafonissi

Posted by
1220 posts

A small point: when you go to Elafonisi, try wading to the island. There is an obvious beach with concessions closer to the parking area, but if you walk farther from that area to the 'island', there is another large beach that is less populated (which is relative, bc all the beaches are crowded)

We spent half a day at Seitan Limani beach, but it is small and in direct sun. We did not take the ferry to Gramvosa/Balos, but that was another on our list (Seitan Limani has a cliff to jump from which was more appealing for our teen son). Also, the hike down Samaria is long and could be tough depending on the age of your kids, and the drive back to Chania from where the ferry brings you is about 90 minutes, as is the drive to and from Elafonisi. So, a lot of driving...

Posted by
3256 posts

Todd, we can help you better if you include key facts in your inquiry... like WHEN. I clicked on your name & went to 2 other postings in order to find out y ou'll be there in August. MOST crowded time, but u r fortunate to be in Crete, biggest island, more room. I can comment from experience on 2 aspects:

As for your idea of hiking the Samaria Gorge in August, my advice is DON'T. Granted, your children (which you don't mention in this query) aren't too small -- 11 y.o. 14, 15? -- but Have u seen pix of Samaria in High Season -- people in a long line, 4 feet apart... you spend 7 hours in baking heat, looking at someone's Back! I suggest instead going to IMBROS GORGE ... much more humane, less crowded (simply because it isn't ballyhooed/promoted by agencies & tours). It has same great views, and in lower parts same thrillng narrow stretches (there's a certain turn where a long-armed NBA player could touch both sides)... but only takes about 3.5 hours - even if you stop midway in shady grove to eat a picnic/snack. TIP: day before going, search out walking-sticks for entire group! (fom local trees, unless u pack foldable ones). It's mainly to help balance, because rocks underfoot range from baseball-size to volleyballs at times. HOW-TO: you drive van thru Imbros village & park it at entrance to gorge. when u emerge at bottome, there's a little kiosk for welcome cold drinks... then you walk about a quarter-mile on road, to a taverna you can see from above. There are taxis or other vehicles (we sat in a pick-up truck) to drive y ou up the rimside road to your van... may cost u €25. NOTE: the end-of-gorge road, has a slopedown t o shore on yr right, steep cliff to left -- and we were gobsmacked by gorge GOATS that climbed up completely vertical cliff face... amazing!

You're right weather, especially wind, can affect beaches.... but that would apply to most beaches in August except sheltered coves on South coast. You picka da month, you getta da wind. However, Falassarna is one of the most beautiful beaches enjoyed in my 13 trips to 25+ islands. There's a bluff looking down at 3-4 beach segments... and Falassarna is perhaps the ONLY beach in Greece that has a "surf" - tho it's not tide-driven; Med/Aegean has no tide. It's just that the wind travels 400 miles over open water from Spain, so, a few waves. The average wind in August is 11 mph, but on certain days can go up to 18 mph. You can easily foreseer conditions days ahead just by using this website - in fact u can use this website to check all proposed beaches.

PS - the ruins on the Falassarna bluffs are open to all 24/7, and are small in size, & fun including side-by-side Roman bathtubs! BTW, a family hotel up there w. STUNNING views, HOtel Petalida, has what's regarded as the BEST seafood restaurant in whole area.. the family (5 siblings now in their 30s) has a fishing boat, & serves the catches of the day. I recommend a night's stay-over, there or nearby for the most memorable sunset you'll experience in Crete.

The Samaria Gorge hike was one of the highlights on our trip (for me). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I can't offer any beach suggestions as we are not beach people. Enjoy your trip!