Greece’s largest island, Crete, equipped with its sandy white beaches, warm turquoise water, and its various activities designed for children, is the perfect holiday getaway for families with little ones in tow. Throw in the fact that it’s roughly a four-hour flight from the UK, and you’ve got yourself a holiday destination that you’ll want to visit again and again.
Over the years of travelling with kids, I’ve found that it’s best to put together a somewhat plan of the activities and the areas you wish to visit. Of course, your plan doesn’t have to be set in stone, but at least you’ll know beforehand what’s available in the area you’re staying in to keep the youngins entertained, happy, and tantrum-free so you can spend time trying to relax yourself.
This article is going to make your Crete planning a whole lot easier as I’ve put together a list of the best beaches in Crete for families, targeting four of the most popular areas on the island, Chania, Heraklion, Lassithi, and Rethymnon. So, if you’re getting ready to jet off to Crete, keep on reading!
Best Beaches In Crete For Families: Best Beaches in Chania
Table of Contents - Click to jump to a section
Chania, on the island’s Northwest coast, is one of the most popular cities in Crete for first-time visitors. Aside from its beautiful beaches, Chania boasts a 14th-century Venetian harbour, waterfront restaurants, and old town streets that are beaming with character and definitely worth a visit.
Agioi Aposoloi is a six-minute drive from Chania’s city centre, making it an ideal beach for families staying in the area. The beach has soft yellow sand, protection from the wind, and sunbeds with umbrellas that you can rent to make your time on the sand even more enjoyable.
Elafonissi Beach is one of Crete’s most popular beaches, and for a good reason. The sand at Elafonissi is a beautiful shade of pink thanks to the left-behind shells of the red Foraminifera shellfish that are crushed and mixed into the white sand.
Many people will agree that Elafonissi is one of the most toddler-friendly beaches on the island simply because of its shallow waters that rarely exceed a meter in depth.
Now, although I’ve categorised Elafonssi under the best beaches in Chania, it is actually an hour and a half’s drive southwest of the city, but in my opinion, the extended drive is totally worth the magnificent views, and you’ll find sunbeds, umbrellas, bars, and showers along the beach, so it’s possible to spend the entire day there to make up for it!
An hour’s drive west of Chania is Falasarna beach which has soft golden sand, crystal-clear water, and an abundance of sun loungers and umbrellas to keep you shaded from the sun. If you’d prefer a more relaxed visit to Falasarna, be sure to head to the northern or southern points of the beach that are typically free of tourists.
You can find a mixture of beach and history at the Frangokastello beach, as the sand is backed by the 650-year-old Venetian Frangokastello Castle. You’ll have impeccable views of the castle from the sand and the shallow waters, however, I will admit that the open bay can get fairly windy at times, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about visiting.
40 minutes east of Chania is the more relaxed Georgioupolis Beach with soft sand, shallow inviting water, and tavernas and cafes close by that you can visit for lunch or a sunset dinner. You’ll also find sun loungers and umbrellas along the beach that you can rent, or you can lay out your towel on the sand and wallow in the warm Cretan ocean.
A beach closer to the centre of Chania is the Marathi Beach which is perfect for families with little ones who don’t want to drive extended amounts of time out of the city. The water at Marathi is clear, shallow, and protected from the wind, and there are umbrellas and loungers along the shore to provide some shade from the hot Greek sun.
Marathi Beach is divided in two by a pier, however, both sides of the beach are extremely clean and organised, with tavernas close by for an afternoon snack or a nice refreshing beverage.
The final beach in Chania, which, again, is a short drive from the city centre, is Stavros Beach. Stavros Beach has fine golden sand and waters without currents meaning it’s the ideal place to go when other beaches on the island are experiencing wind and pulls in the ocean.
Best Beaches In Crete For Families: Best Beaches in Heraklion
Heraklion takes centre stage on the island’s north shore, acting as Crete’s capital city with a history dating back thousands of years. The beaches near the city are worth visiting, too, making Heraklion an ideal spot for history buffs who also enjoy relaxing on the sand.
Aghia Pelagia Beach
30 minutes north of Heraklion is the Aghia Pelagia Beach which is a tourist favourite thanks to its wind-protected coves, crystal clear clean waters, and the amenities close by that provide you with everything you need for a fun day out at the beach.
If you have slightly older children as well as little ones, then you’ll want to head just a short 20-minute drive east of Heraklion’s centre to Gouves. There are a few beaches in the village of Gouves, all of which have umbrellas and sunbeds, shallow waters, and soft sand, but what really makes this beach great is the fact that you can participate in water sports, which I guarantee your older ones will love.
The resort of Malia has been a popular choice amongst holiday goers for a while now, so it’s no surprise that the beach is partly to thank for that. Malia Beach is around a 30-minute drive east of Heraklion and has stretches of wide sand that families with kids of all ages can enjoy.
Stalida is another fantastic beach choice for families visiting Crete, as, again, it is around a 30-minute drive east of Heraklion’s centre. The stretch of sand is clean, safe, and fairly well organised, with a selection of quaint restaurants dotted along the backing coastal road.
If you’re wanting to visit the southern side of the island, then Tsoutsouras Beach, an hour’s south of Heraklion, is a great place to start. The beach has 2km of soft sand, and the locals believe that the waters have healing properties, so I highly recommend splashing about and soaking up the benefits.
Best Beaches In Crete For Families: Best Beaches in Lassithi
Lassithi is Crete’s easternmost region which features mountainous backdrops and numerous opportunities to fully immerse yourself in nature.
Almyros Beach is a typical Cretan beach with a long and wide stretch of sand, clear shallow waters, and sunloungers with umbrellas that you can rent for a small fee. What makes the beach great for little ones is the fact that there is a small stream that flows down the sand into the sea, which is ideal for toddlers to splash around and explore.
Vai Beach is one of Crete’s busier beaches because of its exotic feel. The beach has breathtaking turquoise waters, Europe’s biggest palm tree forest, sunbeds equipped with umbrellas, and snorkelling opportunities that you won’t want to miss.
A couple of things to note before visiting, however, is that Vai Beach charges an entrance fee, and there are very few amenities around due to the beach being a protected area.
Voulisma Beach lies on the northern coast of Lasithi, and because of its close proximity to the Lasithi’s centre, it can get fairly busy during the summer months. If you’re visiting Crete out of the summer months, however, then the beach is a relaxing environment with shallow calm waters, white sand, and beautiful views of the Gulf of Mirabello.
Best Beaches In Crete For Families: Best Beaches in Rethymnon
Rethymnon (Rethymno) is a city in northern Crete that is home to a Venetian Harbor, a lighthouse built in the 1830s, and a star-shaped 16th-century citadel, the Fortezza. To accompany the interesting historical city, there are long stretches of beaches that give you a great mix of relaxation and sightseeing all in one place.
Bali Beach is a 30-minute drive east of Rethymnon, and its popularity has spiked due to its protected bays that block out wind and rough waters. Bali Beach is a great option for families as the little ones will love playing on the soft fine sand or splashing around in the shallow warm waters close to shore.
If you’re up for a short road trip south, then Damnoni Beach on Crete’s southern shore is just a 40-minute drive away from Rethymnon. Beaches on Crete’s southern shore are known for having strong winds and slightly larger waves than you’ll find up north, however, Damnoni is largely protected, making it an ideal place for families with kids.
The beach is organised with sunbeds and showers, and you’ll also find taverns, bars, and supermarkets close by. For families with very young kids, I recommend heading to the western end of the beach as there is a small river that they can splash around in safely, especially if you head there on a particularly windy day.
Finally, the last must-visit beach in Crete is the Triopetra Beach, an hour and ten minutes south of Rethymnon. Triopetra is slightly different to other beaches in Crete as it features small pebbles as opposed to the soft sand you’ll find on other beaches all over the island.
From the beach, you’ll be able to see three imposing rocks which gave the beach its name, and once you’ve finished up in the sun, you can head to one of the nearby tavernas for a cold drink or late lunch.
If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support Flying With A Baby
1. Click here to buy me a virtual coffee (thank you so much!)
2. Join our Family Travel Forum: TRAVEL WITH KIDS WORLDWIDE Facebook Group here which includes lots of ideas & tips for things to do, places to visit around the globe and more with input from members who live or visit these places regularly.
3. Click here to sign up for the latest family travel tips, guides and competitions.
3. Share this post with your friends.
4. Follow Flying With A Baby on the following platforms for exclusive content :
Thank you for your support as always.