Since I was a child I’ve heard so many beautiful stories about Crete, so I dreamed with visiting this island for so long and I finally had the opportunity to explore this fascinating place. Crete is a fantastic, diverse island with spectacular natural landscapes, pink sand beaches and many goats.. yep goats.
Crete is the largest island in Greece, with much diversity of beaches, landscapes, food and things to do. People usually spend here one week but we decided to stay only 5 days. With only a few days to spend on the island we visited some of the most famous places here. We visited Elafonisi, Balos and a few more places that I will talk about in this blog post.
random cute places
We found this place on the way to the beach and we liked it so much that we stayed for lunch and took tons of photos of this fairytale look like place. This is the typical Greek family business. They run this charming hotel and the restaurant where we eat. Here the guests are spoiled with some of the most diverse and delicious traditional Greek food, all the food is natural of course, cultivated in their own garden. The restaurant is placed in a beautiful setting with a huge tree right in the middle, colourful flowers that give a special touch to the place, 2 hammocks, a little fountain and of course many animals, cats, a cute dog, hens. Such a dreamy place.
Elafonisi is a fabulous beach with shimmering pink sand and pristine waters inviting you to jump in. Elafonisi looks more like a lagoon and it also has a small island nearby that is reachable only by swimming or paddling.
We arrived at the beach early in the morning to avoid crowds and take some nice photos, fly drone but it seems the beach is very crowded all day. Until late in the evening we couldn’t find a spot without crowds and even so late there were still a few people around. We try not to fly drone with people around. Right when we had our moment we didn’t hesitate and took our chance to take the drone shots we dreamed of.
There are many things to do in Elafonisi beach beside taking cute pics, they have plenty of water sports you can enjoy which are very entertaining and fun to try. I did paddle boarding at sunset and it was amazing. You can rent a paddle board at the beach from a small tent that’s close to the parking lot. The price for an hour is 20€ and they are at available from 9AM to 20PM. If you want you can try kayak or wind surf too. They offer equipment rental, training lessons and packages for surf.
This is a great experience no matter your level of paddler, from first timer to passionate pros you’ll have a great time on the water! It’s super fun to challenge your sense of balance in a playful way! This experience will make your staying in Crete memorable, you’ll talk with so much enthusiasm about Crete. I mean you don’t you don’t paddle everyday in such a beautiful scenery! A lovely summer escapade for sure.
You can find a small restaurant at the beach serving all types of food and beverages and there’s even a small shop if you want to buy souvenirs.
All over the beach you’ll see that they have sun beds with umbrellas and they are available for a cost of 8€ each set, per day. If you want to catch one you have to arrive early in the morning because the beach gets pretty crowed as I mentioned before. And believe me, you prefer to lay on a sun bed. I usually just put my beach towel on the sand because I like to feel the nature, but the tide is now high and no low and I don’t think you want to get all your stuff wet.
Elafonisi beach has a free parking lot, it’s very big so there is place for everyone. From the parking lot you have to walk like two minutes to get at the beach.
The incredible lagoon of Balos is for sure one of the most iconic beach in Crete. The beach is all you can dream of, turquoise water playing all shades of blue with white sand, no big waves making it perfect for swimming. The beach is pretty difficult to access and with all that it becomes overcrowded during the summer season.
getting at Balos beach
It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Chania to the beach, the last 40 minutes are a little bumpy, the road is filled with stones and you can’t go more than 30 km per hour. Close to the beach is a parking lot free of charge and from there you have to take a moderate 25 minute hike down, before arriving at the beach. Don’t be scared, it’s not a hard hike, actually is pretty fun, the scenery is amazing and you’ll easily get distracted by many dazzling viewpoints and friendly mountain goats. We enjoyed the walk and stopped many times to take photos of the landscape because we couldn’t help it.
After all this journey you’re finally setting foot on the incredibly appealing sands of Balos beach. Think of soft pink sand (yes pink sand), crystal clear water perfect for swimming and a stunningly beautiful scenery with unique landscapes surrounding you. It’s magical!
As I told you before, the sand is pink. Pink beaches are extremely rare and Balos is one of those few beaches in the world and the sand it’s truly pink, with a light or very vibrant pink colour. depending on the sunlight. There are less than ten pink beaches in the entire world and you can find them in the Bahamas, Barbuda, Indonesia, California, Maui, Spain and Crete! I must say that Greece has some of the rarest beaches in the world.
There are no water sports at Balos beach, here you only can swim and enjoy a lazy beach day. We flew drone, took some nice walks around exploring the waters the best we could.
There is a small take away restaurant at the beach, but it doesn’t offer too much variety of food. Just a few sandwiches, ice cream (not very tasty) and a few types of beverages. They had a poor offer of vegetarian food. So if you plan to spend the day at Balos I recommend you to bring your own food.
Falassarna is truly an idyllic and the most quiet beach I visited in Crete. The atmosphere here is relaxed and the mountains in the background give a special touch to this beach. The beach is perfectly organized with umbrellas and sun beds, but the sand is super soft and here we preferred to put the towel on the sand, anyway, there is plenty of space free for those who prefer to put their own towel on the sand.
Some days are super windy, like the day we visited and this days it is better to avoid swimming. The waves are huge making it perfect for surf lovers and those who like windsurfing. The beach has two natural sheltered pools which are great to swim in on windy days, well they are great any day, but when the waves are huge it’s a good option. You should stay for sunset at this beach because here you’ll live some of the most astonishing sunsets in Greece.
There are two bars and cafes 2 minutes from the beach, where they serve tasty lunch, dinner and all kinds of beverages. The bar has a DJ and they do parties after dinner, so for those who like night life I’m pretty sure you’ll like to stay after dinner.
Crete is a place for everybody, couples (like us), families or group of friends. It’s perfect for adventure, amazing days in the sun and the sea, to just disconnect and relax, water sports.. anything you want to. I hope I helped you to plan better your trip to Crete. Any tip is more than welcome, just drop it in the comment area!