Leaving Sitia we headed off to the east for Vai the beach with the palm forest. The road to Vai was pretty new and looked like it had been resurfaced which I was glad about as I could imagine it had been one of those roads!! During the 70`s when the hippies were thrown out of matala they made there way to vai, they certainly could pick thier spots! Later Vai became a protected area and camping and such like is not permitted. It is said that the palm trees came about from arabian pirates landing thier craft on the beach and spitting out date pips. It is certainly very beautiful and the waters pristine. On arrival a car park with a charge of about 3 euros is provided, however this includes toilet ,changing and shower fascilities. We got there quite early and had the beach to ourselves so if you like it quiet then I advise you get there early as when we were leaving the coaches and sellers were arriving.
From Plaka (north of Elounda)we took the road northwards to the north coast. What a road, another winding and climbing route offering beautiful views over rural landscapes and eventually to the sea.
St. Anthony beach is a gem at the end of a surfaced track and even has a rough car park. The beach is wild and stony with low lying rugged cliffs and nothing else. No facilities, no people. We had the place to ourselves. Very stony underfoot in the water, make sure you wear beach shoes.
Back along the road there is another tiny pebbly cove where a couple were bathing nude and further along on the "main" road, take the turning to Vlihadia. A tiny community with a tiny cafeneon with a seating area hanging over the rocky shore. Absolutely real Greece.
Here is some more on how to find the beach.
Try to study the photo from Google Earth.
As I mentioned the beach is across the road to Episkopi. It is in Rethymno Prefecture but very close to Chania Prefecture border.
It is the same beach that stretches all the way to Georgioupoli.
We went to our beach again and we could not recognize it. It was totally different beach. Supposedly winter storm did so much damage to it, the owner rebuild few buildings and made few changes.
Our Bulgarian bartender was not there anymore.
Beach was more crowded and larger ( I man greater distance between water, your bed, and cold beer!).
One positive change....the food was fabulous!!!
We had fantastic fried zucchini of a size and color of 50 Euro Cents.
Great home fries, and nice size Greek salad. Beer was colder than last year.
So, YES it is still a nice beach. You should still go, and park your car and eat nice lunch, but the beach stretches for miles, so you can walk and find your own favorite beach chair and umbrella......
There is a small private beach east of Georgioupoli we like to go to. In order to get there you have to look at my GoogleEarth picture where I tried to "dot" the very narrow road to the beach from National Highway. We love that tiny beach because the water is great, the sand is nice, view is fantastic (you can see the whole Georgioupoli to the west). There is only several umbrellas and a small taverna serving casual Greek food. There is also small gazebo with a bar and a very nice Bulgarian bartender. The bathroom are always clean and there is always plenty of parking space. The town of Georgioupoli with all the hotels and tavernas is also close by. The beach is also great if you are staying in Rethymno and you don't like crowded city beach. It is only 15 min drive from Rethymno.
To go to the Red beach there are two trails, one start from a parking area near the center and the other start at the end of the restaurant area, this last one is a steep path but better in my opinion.
You will hike a path that go up on the left promontory and than down to this wonderful beach. Wear closed shoes as the trail is not easy to walk.
I have heard about the opportunity to ask for a boat ride to Red Beach, the boat would be in the left part of the main Matala beach.
The sand is red and the sea crystal blue. Ther are no facilities and few people. The left part of the beach is clothing optional.
Follow the costal road from Paleochora to Gialos. There are many little pebbly coves along. After about 15 minutes driving you will find a sign "Grameno camping". There are three beaches. The left one is pebbly and good when the wind blow from west. The central beach is the better one, soft sand and clear water, there are a few beach facilities, and a Taverna with good music. The last beach is next the main one, more tight good when the wind blow from East.
Here is the map of the area.
As I remember it was not hard to find. Just look for the sign.
Also, once you get off the main road you will see the beach and the road, as the road is going down and there is not too many treas.
Famous Kommos beach.
We went to this beach late evening after busy day visiting Knossos and local Cretan family somewhere in the mountains.
When we finally got to the beach, it was empty and quite spectacular.
The sun was going down and the wind picked up creating nice waver to jump through.
The scenery was like from the movie......and then I saw.....NOKOS.
A subtropical little paradise with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and a unique cedar forest. Take your scuba diving equipment as it is worth paying a visit to the beautiful underwater scenery.
Take a boat at 10.00 am (or there about) from the quay of Ierapetra to visit this small uninhabited island 8 miles south. Boats return to Ierapetra at 5.00 pm.
There is a tavern where basic food can be had as well as plenty of fresh fish as it is the fishermen shelter.
Check the website to learn more about this paradise!
2006: So it was totally different 3 years ago - less tourists, only one taverna, clean beaches. Now - 2 tavernas, plastic bags and bottles, to many tourists... The same destiny as Balos beach...it is sad....pictures are in album: The lost paradise
West of Kissamos and north of the beautiful village of Kaliviani, stretches the impressive Gramvoussa peninsula. The peninsula is formed by steep rocks and is covered with thyme and origanum bushes and wild flowers.
On the north west side of the peninsula opposite to the island of Gramvoussa is the wonderful beach of Balos.
The beach is covered with fine white sand and is located between the two creeks of the Tigani cape. The same white sand covers the bottom of the sea and grants to the sea an emerald color. In front of the beach is the picturesque island of Gramvoussa and on the back is the Geroskinos mountain (altitude 762 m).
The road from Kaliviani is well paved dirt road, with amazing view to the steep rocky seaside of the east side of the peninsula. The road ends one-two km before the beach, and the visitor can follow a pave road to Balos.
Balos...Maybe it is a paradise...
2006: It was the biggest disappointment of my trip to Crete in 2006! Wonderful lagoon, almost paradise was transformed by tourists and passed-by ships into the dump. It is a paradise with emerald water and white sand but.... with floating plastic bags and bootles, with traces of oil on the coast... Of course it is the result of new excursions by boat - 3 boats with tourists come to Balos lagoon. But don't do it. Use the difficult old way to reach the beach because only this way you can take the most beautiful pictures of the whole lagoon.
I made an album with pictures of two lost paradises of Crete: Balos beach and Chryssi island...
From agia Galini you can get a boat trip to nearby Preveli. The beach at preveli is suberb in the sense that a fresh water river runs down from the Kourtaliotikos gorge. The water is fantastic to swim in the hot Cretan climate. The sea and the river meet together at the bottom of the gorge at a beautiful beach. I reccomend that you start at the beach walking in the river, slowly making your way upwards until you come to the rock pools. The scenery is almost tropical with palm trees surrounding a little lagoon. On the beach is a taverna where water and snacks can be bought. The boat trip is nice and takes around one hour. From the beach I understand there is also a path which will guide you upwards to the Preveli Monastery. We went there by road so need for us to follow the path which looks a bit of a climb.
From Matala to Kali Limenas it is a good hours drive. Up over the mountains with fantastic views over the masara plain and once you are up and over you then have the sea views. Kali Limenas is a tiny village with a couple of Tavernas and not much else. The beach and the water are spectacular, the sea being completely transparent. All along the beach are caravans, tents, cardboard (yes) makeshift shelters. These are mainly Greeks who invade the beach at weekends and holidays, they go for the weekend and can leave thier belongings until the next visit , safe in the knowledge that nothing will be tampered with. A Greek millionaire seemingly owns a lot of the surrounding land and on an island out in the bay has built an oil terminal this is the only blot on the horizon but we found it easy to ignore. A thoroughly reccomended trip.
Kommos is the ancient port of Phaistos and one of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Crete.
It is a magnificent sun-drenched stretch of sand, one of the largest in Crete, which extends from a clump of rocks riveted in the shallow waters in the south to the Kalamaki settlement in the North.
The beach of Kommos is unspoiled, charming, stewn with fine golden sand where the Caretta-Caretta tortoises lay their eggs. The view from the beach is also magnificent. At a distance one can distinguish the barren isles of "Paximadia", the range of Sphakianes Madares, and the legendary Mt. Psiloritis.
A little of the shore, approx. 80 m. into the sea, there is a large black rock known as Volakas. Tradition says that it is the stone which cyclops Polyphemus hurled against Ulysses, who had earlier pierched the cyclops' only eye with a stake. In addition Homer says that the ships of Menelaos were wrecked on the black rock on their way back from Troy. Only six were saved - those with a black stem.
At the exit of the village of Kaliviani on the road to Balos, there is a huge ship standing on the beach. In accordance with the locals during a great storm, years ago (around 80s), a Lebanian ship had to moor near the shore due to a malfunction to its engines. The ship went astray when its cables cut, and can be seen today lying on the shore.