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This is what I think I want to focus on: beaches in the south and west.
I am thinking of driving:
#1) Sfakia and Loutro (ferry, of course)
#2) Kissamos, Gramvousa, Balos Lagoon, Falasarna, Elafonisi, Paleochora

Please comment and add suggestions.
Thank you!

Posted by
11153 posts

Falasarna- big waves, reminded us of California or Cape Cod ocean beaches.Big beach. No food sold there or it wasn’t open when we went.
Elafonisi- magical, turquoise waters, shallow far out, pink sand, reminded us of Bahamas.
Loutro- small beach area, nice water for swimming, more like a bay. Loved being in this small town. Stayed in Hotel Porto Loutro by the water which was good.

Posted by
1226 posts

Elafonisisi - crowded, didn't warm up when we were there - early July - until noon (could have been a fluke but we arrived at 10a to beat the crowds and sat under a blanket)/ There is food. And I recommend wading out beyond the main beach area to the "island" beach area

Loutro - the beach in town is small but you can hike or take a water taxi to another beach west of Loutro called Marmara, where the Imbros gorge comes out to the sea. We hiked there in the morning and took a taxi back in the afternoon. Its a small secluded beach but popular, in a cove with lots of smaller coves. The hike is marked, so its easy to figure out. Took maybe an hour?
Here's pictures on TA:

We did not visit the others you mention. But if you plan on all of these, the drive to Paleochora and Elafonisi is almost identical. You might want to spend a night in Paleochora and one day there and one day at Elafonissi, or it will make for a long day. Gramvousa, Balos Lagoon and Falasarna can be a day trip from Chania, and then Sfakion and Loutro would be together as you have listed.