Golden shores, crystal-clear waters, and a sunlit ambiance: this is the captivating charm you’ll experience when visiting Crete and exploring the best beaches in Chania.
While Crete dazzles with historical towns and mesmerizing landscapes, it’s the island’s breathtaking coastline that captivates the heart, compelling you to keep returning again and again.
And it’s no secret that Chania is an amazing base to visit some of the most beautiful beaches on Crete which are also some of the most exquisite in the whole of Greece.
In this article I’ll share with you beaches that are in close proximity to Chania as well as some that require a bit of travelling to get to as well as useful information on how to get there.
So, without further ado, let’s explore the most beautiful beaches near Chania that you shouldn’t miss!
Best beaches near Chania
1. Agii Apostoli Beach
Agii Apostoli Beach is known for its golden sands and gentle, shallow waters. Its calm setting is particularly appealing to families, offering a safe environment for younger swimmers.
Beyond its natural features, the beach provides a range of activities to keep visitors engaged.
You can try your hand at volleyball, explore the waters on a paddle board, or simply enjoy a quiet moment at one of the beachside cafés.
It’s a great place to sunbathe and relax, not too far away from Chania’s town centre.
2. Yannis Beach Place
Located right next to Agii Apostoli is Yannis Beach Place, a charming beach nestled within a scenic bay.
The defining rock formations on its edges not only provide a visual treat but also create an environment that’s great for snorkeling.
Once you’ve had your fill of the sea, there are a couple of cafes nearby that offer the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the view.
If you’re in Chania and looking for a more local and calm beach just outside the main tourist spots, Yannis beach is perfect for you.
3. Seitan Limania
Tucked away on the northeastern coast of the Akrotiri peninsula near Chania, Seitan Limania (also often called ‘the goat beach’) is a charming little beach popular with tourists.
Characterized by its unique, narrow cove between steep cliffs, the beach presents a mesmerizing interplay of turquoise waters and rugged landscape.
The path down to Seitan Limania, involves a descent down a winding path through the side of the mountain, adding to the sense of discovery and adventure.
Once you reach the bottom, the captivating view and tranquil atmosphere make the effort worthwhile.
Here, you’re very likely to encounter the beach’s resident mountain goats that add on to the wilderness feel and provide for an entertaining view watching them perform impossible stunts on the mountain cliffs.
4. Marathi Beach
If you’re chasing that ideal mix of clear waters, soft sand, and a relaxed atmosphere, then Marathi Beach might just be the best beach for you in Chania.
Located on the Akrotiri peninsula, this beach is a bit of a local favourite – and for good reason. Its waters are calm, making it a hit for swimmers and families alike.
Nearby, you’ll find taverns serving up fresh seafood that pairs perfectly with the view.
Tip: Get there early to snag a sun bed, especially during peak season. Whether you’re up for a lazy beach day or a seafood feast (or both!), Marathi offers a great beach escape.
5. Stavros Beach
When you think of Crete, sweeping cinematic landscapes might come to mind, and Stavros Beach is the perfect representation of that. Think, clear turquoise waters and a dramatic mountain drop.
Remember the famous scene from the movie “Zorba the Greek”? Yep, that’s Stavros for you.
But beyond its film fame, this beach, located at the tip of the Akrotiri peninsula, is a true gem. Its calm lagoon-like waters are perfect for a leisurely swim.
And if you want to break a sweat and get more active you could also do a short but steep hike up to Stavros mountain’s cave overlooking the beach.
There are several taverns around where you can grab a bite or a drink. If you’re visiting in the summer, an early start will secure you the best spot on the beach.
All said, Stavros Beach offers a mix of cinematic history, natural beauty, and all the amenities for a perfect day out.
6. Loutraki Beach
Another gem located on the Akrotiri peninsula, a short drive from the hustle of Chania, Loutraki Beach is the kind of place where you can truly switch off.
Sheltered by its natural bay, the waters here are calm and inviting, making it a top pick for a stress-free swim or snorkelling.
The sandy stretch is relatively compact, adding to its cozy feel. Needless to say it does get busy in the peak summer months like all beaches around Chania, so do come early to save a spot near the water.
Moreover, the nearby cafes serve up some delicious local flavours, and trust me, there’s nothing like enjoying a Greek salad with that sea view.
If you’re in the mood for a laid-back beach day without straying too far from Chania, Loutraki Beach should be on your radar.
7. Agia Marina Beach
Balancing beach relaxation with a lively tourist ambiance, Agia Marina Beach is a standout tourist haven near Chania.
With long stretches of sand as far as the eye can see, it’s the perfect holiday spot to sunbathe, swim and paddleboard. The small island of Agii Theodori just off the beach shore adds to the beautiful views of the beach.
Located 15 minutes from Chania, the beach is surrounded by a bustling tourist area, complete with numerous hotels, quaint souvenir shops, and an array of restaurants to satisfy any palate.
For those wanting a beach experience with all the trimmings—from various restaurants, beautiful views and relaxation—Agia Marina has it all.
8. Nea Chora Beach
Nea Chora Beach is a peaceful urban beach situated walking distance to Chania’s Old Town.
With its convenient location, sandy shoreline and calm waters, it’s a favorite among both locals and tourists.
Lined with a variety of restaurants and taverns, you have the added advantage of savoring local dishes while enjoying seaside views.
It’s an ideal spot if you’re seeking a blend of urban convenience and coastal relaxation.
However, this comes with the cost of it getting quite busy in the peak summer months which is expected with its convenient location and beautiful azure waters.
9. Koum Kapi Beach
Another beach located close by to Chania’s historic harbor, Koum Kapi Beach offers a unique ambiance with its combination of sea and cityscape.
While its coast provides a tranquil setting for sunbathing and swimming, the adjacent promenade buzzes with life, featuring cafes, bars, and eateries.
Koum Kapi is perfect for those who want to soak in the sun by day and enjoy vibrant nightlife after sunset.
Other beautiful beaches in West Crete
Beyond Chania’s immediate coastlines, there are numerous beaches located 1 hour – 1.5 hours drive from Chania that are hard not to mention.
Being some of the most beautiful beaches on Crete, the extra drive reveals breathtaking spots that solidify the island’s status as a beach paradise.
Here’s a list of some of the best beaches near Chania.
10. Falasarna Beach
Set on Crete’s western edge, Falassarna Beach is famous for its expansive golden sands and crystal clear waters.
The unique coast, combined with the ancient ruins nearby, offers both natural beauty and a taste of Crete’s rich history making it a favourite among both locals and tourists.
Not to mention the delicious fresh food and refreshing cocktails from the local tavernas and beach bars.
Swimming in the stunning waters at Falassarna comes only second to its magic-filled sunsets, a true beach enthusiast paradise.
11. Balos Lagoon
A fusion of turquoise waters, wild natural beauty, and exotic landscapes, Balos Lagoon is a slice of paradise.
The journey here is an adventure in itself involving either a hike or a boat trip, but the reward is a breathtaking lagoon that seems straight out of a postcard.
With its shallow, warm waters and fine white sand, Balos is a dreamy escape about an hour away from Chania. The best way to visit the beach is by booking a day trip from Chania to Balo for a hassle free experience.
Arguably the most famous beach on Crete, Elafonissi is known for its pink-hued sands – a result of crushed seashells – and pristine turquoise waters.
This beach offers a one-of-a-kind seaside experience. The shallow lagoons and soft sand make Elafonissi a top pick for relaxation, perfect for both couples and families.
13. Preveli Palm Beach
Preveli Palm Beach is one of the most unique beaches in Crete.
Located at the mouth of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, this beach impresses with a fresh river flowing into the sea and a unique palm forest framing its edges.
It’s a true nature paradise, giving you the opportunity to swim in both the fresh waters of the river and the crystal clear waters of the Libyan sea.
For an added touch of adventure, the journey down the winding steps to reach the beach is a small trek, but the view from above is entirely worth it.
You can read more about visiting Preveli Beach here or a book stress-free a organised tour from Chania to Preveli.
Leaving my favourite beach on Crete for the end, Kedrodas is a lesser-known gem tucked away a few short minutes drive from Elafonissi.
It’s a true paradise, characterised by its cedar forest that meets the sea, the beach offers a unique blend of woodland and coastline.
With fewer crowds and a serene ambiance, Kedrodas is for those looking to immerse themselves in nature’s unspoiled embrace.
Tips for enjoying the best beaches in Chania
Best times to visit to avoid crowds
While the allure of Chania’s beaches is year-round, the early morning or late afternoon during the shoulder months (May and October) can be the ideal times.
Not only do you get to avoid the midday sun, but you’ll also experience the beaches in their quieter, more serene state, avoiding the typical tourist rush.
Getting around Chania
There are a couple of different ways to explore Chania and its stunning beaches.
Renting a car is definitely a top pick. It gives you the freedom to visit multiple beaches on your own schedule, visit beaches that are inaccessible by public transport and just enjoy your days as you wish.
If you’re leaning towards public transport, there are buses that connect Chania to most nearby beaches. You can check the KTEL website for the latest bus timetable and routes.
And if you prefer a hassle-free experience, there are organised tours that take you directly to some of the best beach spots. A private sailing trip around Chania’s best beaches can be a magical experience, or simply going on a day trip to Elafonisi or Balos can be a great option for you.
Where to stay in Chania
When considering a stay in Chania, the Old Town and Nea Chora stand out for their blend of atmosphere, choice for tavernas and bars and proximity to the historical buildings.
Nea Chora itself is blessed with a beautiful beach steps away from a small promenade with traditional seafood tavernas.
However, if you’re leaning towards more holiday and all-inclusive type of accommodations with direct beach access, Agia Marina offers larger hotels, making it ideal for those looking to unwind and savour the sea’s embrace.
Local delicacies to try
No trip to Crete is complete without diving into its culinary offerings.
After a refreshing swim, treat yourself to “dakos” (a Cretan rusk with tomatoes and cheese) or fresh seafood at a beachside taverna.
And for a sweet finish “Loukoumades” (honey doughnuts) is a must-try.
Crete takes pride in its natural beauty, and preservation is key. Always follow marked paths, avoid removing sand or shells, and use trash bins provided.
Some beaches may have specific rules regarding umbrella placements or activities to protect the dunes and local fauna.
Being informed and respectful ensures these beaches remain pristine for future visitors.
Chania, with its blend of history, culture, and natural splendour, offers an unmatched seaside experience.
From secluded coves to vast stretches of soft golden sand, if you’re a sea lover you will quickly fall in love with the stunning beaches in Chania and will understand why so many come back here year after year.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or exploring Crete for the first time, Chania’s beaches promise a slice of paradise that will make you wish you could stay here forever.