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  • Writer's pictureLucy Tugwell-Scott

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches....

The Greek Islands remain one of the most popular destinations for more reasons that we can list but coming in at the top are definitely the beaches and Crete does not disappoint!

As the largest of all the Greek Islands and also the most southern, almost bordering on Africa, you could spend months here without having to visit the same beach twice.

In this edition of the Villa Alexander Blog we give details of just some of our favourites to help you discover just some of the reasons we fell in love with this Island!

From family friendly beaches with shallow waters and beach side bars to secluded coves and undeveloped sands there is something for everyone here in Crete. Some with easy access by car, some by boat and some which may require a little bit of a mountain hike we think we have captured the perfect selection to help inspire your trip but we also encourage you to discover some of your own favourites and share them with us via our social media pages!

We cant wait to hear about your Cretan beach adventures during your stay at Villa Alexander!

Lucy, Simon & Alexander



Platanes - The most local beach to Villa Alexander and located only 1.5 miles from the house, Platanes offers the perfect beach day out. Access can be via foot or car with an array of car parks along the beach front. We highly recommend spending your day at beach bar Roulis who provide sunbeds and umbrellas for a small fee and offer beach side service. A short walk along the beach and you can find water sports including paragliding and banana boats.

The calm seas are perfect for those who enjoy spending their days swimming or floating on the calm waves.

Platanes also offers a number of hosted beach bars such Baja Beach club which also offers a beach side swimming pool and Blue Lagoon which is an adults only beach club.

A 20 minute walk along the beach front and you will find yourself on the beaches of Rethymno which host some excellent restaurants and bars.


Agia Galini- Approximately 1 hour south from the Villa you will discover one of our favourite family friendly beaches in Agia Galina. Offering a relaxed vibe with a selection of beach side tavernas with free sunbeds if you dine with them and a mix of sand and pebble beach, it makes the perfect destination for those wanting a relaxed and hassle free day next to the calm southern seas.

A short walk from the main beach is a quaint and traditional village offering additional traditional restaurants, souvenir shops and bakeries serving local pastries.

This beach ranks highly on our list of must visits.


Matala- One of the most famous beaches in Crete, Matala is located approximately 90 mins south from the Villa. A long standing fishing village that became popular with hippies in 60s and 70s, Matala is home to 260 meters of beach lined with bright and colourful beach bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Imposing cliffs that we carved into caves during the hippy period sit along the northern tip of the bay and are a popular location for photos over the clear blue seas.

Large sections of the beach offer sunbeds that can be rented for a fairly low daily rate as well as shower facilities & toilets.

This is a big hit for those who enjoy experiencing some alternative culture, perusing handmade crafts and enjoying beach days with a twist.


Balos- The famous lagoon of Balos is arguably one of the most photographed beaches in Europe and a firm favourite for any tourist guide in Crete.

Access to the lagoon can be achieved via car followed by a steep hike or by boat from a near by harbour for those who dont fancy the steep climb, which drops you directly into the lagoon each taking approximately 2 - 2.5 hours from the Villa but very much worth the journey.

Turquoise waters, wild natural beauty and beautiful exotic scenery as well as the soft white sand, you would be forgiven to think you had stumbled upon a Caribbean beach when arriving at Balos. Shallow and still waters make this perfect for family days out and sunbeds can be rented for the day for a reasonably low amount. Other amenities such as drink and food outlets are limited so we do recommend a cool box for a day trip here.

This is definitely a must visit during your time in Crete!


Falasarna- Located on the West Coast of the Island and located approximately 90 minutes from the Villa, Falasarna is one of the best known beaches within the Chania region of the Island. Another family favourite due to its easy access via car, on offer are soft white sand and clear blue seas. Fully serviced by beach side snack bars, sunbeds and umbrellas, this long stretch of beach also offers some excellent snorkelling opportunities due to the rocky sea



Preveli- Within only 1 hour of the Villa you are able to discover one of the most fascinating places on Crete. Preveli beach, located on the south coast is unique in its offering as it is home to where a river meets the sea and is surrounded by a Palm Tree forest.

Palm beach, as it is also known, is one of those places that captures the heart and imagination of every traveller and makes for some of the most incredible vacation photos.

This is not one for the faint hearted as the car park is perched on top of the hillside with a steep climb down, but worth every bead of sweat. The bay can also be accessed via boats from the nearby harbour. Preveli Monastery is also located near the car park and is also well worth a visit if travelling to this picture perfect beach. Facilities here are limited due to access so we would advise taking a cool box with drinks and snacks.


Plakias- Located less than 1 hour from the Villa is the largest developed beach on the south of the Island. Plakias is an ever popular tourist destination with a well developed and large village lining the beach front. This is a perfect location for a day trip for those who prefer something a little more developed with plenty of shops, bars and tavernas to choose from. Access, parking and amenities are perfect for families with younger children. Plakias is also the host harbour for many of the boats accessing some of the less developed beaches such as Prevali.


Seitan Lemeni- Not one for the faint hearted but for those travelling with a sturdy pair of trainers this is a must visit. Accessed via a very steep and narrow path, not suited for young children or those with limited mobility, nestled in a canyon, leading out to the sea, you will discover one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. White sand reaching out to turquoise seas which deepen in blue as you swim out between the two cliffs it is lined by, this is simply one of the most breathtaking locations you can visit. Due to the limited access you are unlikely to find it over crowded. There are no amenities here so be sure to pack plenty of drinks for your day.

This one ranks very highly on our list for those seeking some adventure on their trip.


Stavros- Topping our list as a family favorite is Stavros beach located on the north west coast of Crete and approximately 75 minutes from the Villa. This stunning bay offers beautifully crystal clear waters which are shallow enough for our younger guests to enjoy leading out into deeper waters perfect for snorkelling.

Soft white sand and a scattering of tavernas and beach bars make for a perfectly relaxing day by the sea.

Sunbeds and umbrellas are a little pricier here but well worth it.

We highly recommend Stavros for a day trip!


Agios Pavlos- A hidden gem and one of our Villa Alexander favourites, Agio pavlos beach is located just over an hour from the Villa on the south of the Island. This quiet village location offers something for everyone. The calm sea bay lined with soft sand is perfect for the younger family and for those looking to explore there is a stepped path to discover some incredibly beautiful hidden coves. Just over the ridge from the main beach you will also find 'sand dune beach' which is another well kept secret and awashed with some of the softest sand on the Island.

Back on the main beach you will find a traditional taverna serving local cuisine, shower and toilet facilities and a well accessed car park.


Little Triopetra- This small cove beach sits alongside its sister 'Big Triopetra' and is a small and less discovered cove. With a beach front taverna and free sun loungers, this makes a perfect stop off when discovering some of the other hidden gems along the southern coast.

Big Triopetra- Much larger than its little sister 'Little Triopetra' and offering a long stretch of pebbled beach. Popular with tourists due to its stunning Large stone caves that make for some incredible photos, this beach is less developed than many on the southern side of the Island and perfect for those wanting to avoid the crowds. There is an area dedicated to sun loungers provided by the beach front taverna who also offer a menu of local cuisine and drinks.


Amoudaki - One for those who are not apposed to the odd naturists but amongst the most beautiful bays in Crete, Amoudaki is located less than 1 hour from the Villa.

This small cove is hosted by a small taverna who provide sun beds and umbrellas on soft white sand. The sea here is crystal clear and perfect for snorkelling. Cliffs nestled in the sea offer adrenaline junkies the chance to cliff dive whilst those looking for less high octane can enjoy relaxing on this small and intimate beach over an iced coffee and local snacks.

Popular with those travelling as an older group and less ideal for younger children due to the limited amenities on site. Easy car parking and access.


Damnoni- Just a few minutes from Amoudaki you will discover Damnoni which has become one of our favorite locations for relaxed beach days where the beach front tavernas have chilled vibes and the soft long stretch of sand lines the calm clear waters. Unlike some of the more developed beaches on the south coast, Damnoni retains the traditional charm many look for from their Greek vacation.

Polyrizo- Polyrizo beach genuinely offers something for everyone. Less than 1 hour from the Villa this soft sand beach offers a great selection of sun loungers and umbrellas on soft white sands lined by ancient trees and opening onto calm seas perfect for snorkelling. A favourite for family and couples alike, the tavernas along the beach front offer some of the best traditional cuisine and there is a small local mini market for drinks and snacks for those wanting lazy days in the sunshine. We highly recommend the Virgin Mary taverna on the beach for lunch time and early evening meals.


Episkopi- Located only 15 minutes from the Villa, Episkopi beach is a firm favourite with those staying at Villa Alexander. We recommend Chrysos Asteria taverna on the beach front as your host for the day and they provide a drinks service to the sunbeds they provide when you dine with them. The fact this beach spans over a huge stretch means you are unlikely to find yourself feeling crowded when spending a day here and this is a firm favourite for those with young children or just wanting to enjoy lazy days basking in the sun or swimming in the sea.

Elafonisi - Quite possibly at the top of the list for those visiting Crete is the stunning beach of Elafonisi. Described as a corner of paradise its main attraction is the unique feeling of being in a South Sea lagoon whilst having a Mediterranean holiday. Beautiful sandy beaches fringed with pink coral sand and the crystal clear waters of the sea the lagoon could be mistaken as an undiscovered Caribbean location and offers the perfect day trip for all. Long stretches of shallow waters combined with secluded sand dune areas within the beach mean you can easily find a sanctuary here even on one of the busiest of days. Sunbeds are available to rent and there are some small snack bars servicing the beach. Access is easy via road with a large car park but it is approximately 2.5 hours from the Villa, however, well worth an early start to one of your vacation days.


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