Undisputedly the beaches and sea side are “spectacular”. Crete has beaches from West to East than have been voted best in World year after year (Elafonison, Balos, Vai and Chrissi), but as spectacular as they are, they are over visited especially during peak season July-August. Surely a photo opportunity visit is necessary, but the majority of the time you will spend on quieter less populated beach best suited to your individual preference.
After 20 years of beach hunting I’ve found mine in Koutsounari long beach, 5km of pristine, beach, mostly undeveloped, with fine pebble beach, with pebbles slightly coarse than sand so it doesn’t creep into every nook and cranny of body and clothes but soft enough to lay and walk on even bearskin (holding the heat during middle of day), with choice of organized areas with sunbeds /umbrellas, bars, restaurants, toilets, parking and service (at very low price) or vast secluded areas to lay uninterrupted with only the splashing of water.
Mostly calm (without waves) water and relatively rapid decent from shoreline, with water so clear and clean your are tempted to drink. Easy access with easy car parking. Suitable for kids , couples, groups and elderly. Snorkeling, fishing, watersport, SUP, windsurfing.
Other notable beaches
For the toddlers and grandparents, the rock pool formation at Aghios Andreas
for the golden sand lovers “Voulisma”
for the romantics “Agia fotia”
For the hikers, and adventurous and young “Dragons cave – bianco beach bar” & “listis”
For the up and coming next new World best unspoilt beach “ xerokampos“
for those windy days “Mirtos”
for the shallow water / sand lovers “Makry Gialos”
for windsurfers “Kouremenos”
for best photos “Vai – palm forest” and “Chrissi Island – Cedar forest” … unique and exotic beaches.
For discovering the unspoilt “Erimoupolis beach”
And so many more….