Smaller Coastal Towns

Agia Marina

Agia Marina on map of Crete
Agia PelagiaCould be called Chania’s resort and beach hotel section. Many beach hotels and numbers of apartments, domatia and smaller hotels of wide range in style and standard. Many cafes, restaurants, tavernas, gift shops and car rental offices stretch along the coast road. There is plenty of nightlife.

Agia Pelagia

Agia Pelagia on map of Crete
Agia PelagiaOnly just over 20 km from Heraklion the bay is impressive as you drive down from the National road. A narrow but sandy beach, in a bay bordered by the gardens on one side and the natural, small peninsula which separates the small town from neighbouring Lygaria and Made. Water sports. Waterfront tavernas serve a variety of fare, the centre has ample small shops for gifts, food and more. A variety of cafes and some very
pleasing smaller hotels and places to stay. Tourism may be the mainstay, but this is a place with a local and friendly atmosphere.

Almirida (or Almyrida)

Almirida on map of Crete
Almirida beachA sandy beach, partial harbour, wind-surfing facilities, collection of waterfront tavernas, cafes and bars, make this Chania area seaside village resort popular with full-time and holiday-making visitors. Almirida benefits from its neighbour Kalives (Kalyves), which also offers an additional expanse of sandy beach (shallow parts for children) and its own compliment of eating and relaxing establishments, of a more «local» style. Proximity to Chania, intriguing hillside villages nearby.

Amoudara(or Ammoudara)

Ammoudara on map of Crete
Amoudara beachAlmost a continuation of Heraklion to its west, this is the beach resort area. With a long stretch of roadside gift shops, cafes, restaurants just in-land and hotels and apartments from Luxury to cheap. There are beach-edge tavernas. The beach is sand and this is both a popular tourist and local playground. Many local buses (from Heraklion centre) serve Amoudara a 15-20 minute ride.


Bali on map of Crete
BaliSet along a curving and hilly peninsula with dramatic rising mountains inland. The views are of the bay, mountains and sea. As cafes, restaurants and small hotels or apartments are threaded along the west side of the bay, Bali combines the reality of a small place with many changes of scene or atmosphere. While here, make a visit to Anogia. Several beaches, small harbour with waterside cluster of a cafe and three tavernas. Boat trips to Rethymno.


Click to see Georgioupoli on map of Crete
GeorgioupoliAt the mouth of the Almiros river, swimming is protected by a breakwater and the place has a local feel. This is a «small» place with some charm and atmosphere, even though there are many small hotels and places to stay. Much wildlife in the area (river and semi-wetland as neigbours). Turtles nest here and it is viewed by many visitors who return often, as a relatively calm, relaxed place.

(Kato) Gouves

Gouves on map of Crete
GouvesWith a civilized array of beach-front cafes and tavernas, several medium to large comfortable hotels and many choices of apartment and villa rentals, Gouves provides a traditional beachfront holiday atmosphere, close to Heraklion and its surrounding attractions. Good centre for a family holiday. The village of Pano Gouves a few kilometres away on the hillside overlooks this area and has some pleasant Kafeneia. Easy access by bus.


Istro on map of Crete
Istron The village of Istro, a few minutes drive east of Agios Nikolaos, has many modern and pleasingly designed and decorated small hotels and apartments. It also boasts two internet cafes! A few kilometres to the east, along on of the most dramatic stretches of coastal road in Crete, is Istron Bay. The bay is the hotel if you like. Visit Kritsa and drive up to the Katharos plateau (a couple of tavernas and a kafeneio await!).

Kokkini Hani

Kokkini Hani on map of Crete
Kokkini Hani  beachHas a rather quieter feel than nearby Hersonisos, but still sports a collection of hotels, apartments, tavernas and a real beach holiday atmosphere. Just 10 minutes from Heraklion airport – you can land, start enjoying a hotel or apartment and be out dining or sunbathing within half an hour of landing in Crete. Minutes by bus to Heraklion.

Kolymbari (Kolimbari)

Kolymbari on map of Crete
Kolymbari beachUntouched by larger hotel or multiple units of accommodation, Kolymbari has a good beach and some pleasant small and cozy tavernas. A wonderful stone-built cafe on the beach is a very pleasing place to enjoy coffees and conversation at the sea-side. The Odigitria monastery just a kilometre on from the centre has fine buildings and a church with wonderful icons and frescoes. Smaller new and somewhat older groups of apartments and rooms are available on the sea front and also higher up overlooking this small town and the sea.


Maleme on map of Crete
Maleme beachOne of the many beach areas that provide a stop on the long coastal stretch west of Chania – in this case about a half hour or so drive or bus ride away. The largest hotel, the Louis Creta Princess, sits on the edge of the sandy beach here. Several smaller hotels and rooms for rent are close by and the road has some cafe/taverna selections.


Matala on map of Crete
MatalaKnown for its wonderful sandy beach and the caves carved into the rocks. The busy village is now popular for tourism with a very appealing setting. Good swimming – beach, numerous waterside cafes, gift-shops and tavernas are the mainstay of activity. It is tidy, well looked after. Several small hotels, smaller inns and rooms for rent. For other interests, it’s close to the archaeological sites at Kommos , Gortys and Phaestos; also it’s a short drive to Agia Gallini for a change of setting. Nearby villages of Pitsidia (horse riding available) and Kamilari are well worth visiting/considering staying.


Makrigialos on map of Crete
Makrigialos (Makrygialos)Some way from any major or developed tourist towns, it lies east of Ierapetra, along a coastline with secluded bays and beaches. Easy access to and from Sitia. The harbour area has character. Framed in front of an impressive mountain backdrop with gorges that are more accessible and every bit as rewarding as the Samaria Gorge. Large sweep of sandy beach with a selection of hotels, apartments and rooms for rent. Some well conceived and decorated restaurants, cafes and bars, feels casual or stylish, as you wish. «Local» and not excessively tourist-trodden atmosphere.

Paleochora(or Paleohora)

Paleohora on map of Crete
PaleochoraQuite a journey from Kissamos or Chania, Paleohora has the feel of a place that might once have been very popular as a hippy destination. Not any more, but it is one of the less commercial feeling places to base a stay on Crete. A finger of land juts into the Libyan sea, sporting a pebble and rock beach to the east and extensive sandy beach on its west side. Wonderful cafes – including newly opened Water’s Edge and the kafeneio where they heat Greek coffee in the traditional hot sand system – and many smaller places to stay, a proximity to some pleasant mountain villages and relative closeness for a trip to Elafonisos. A friendly place to be. Served also by the south coast ferry service to Sougia, Agia Roumeli (Samaria gorge), Loutro and Sfakia (all worth a visit). Also a point to set sail to the southernmost island of Gavdos from, go whale or dolphin watching.


Plakias on map of Crete
PlakiasA big crescent bay holding a fine beach. This is quite a busy tourist destination, but has a unique feel, which appeals to some who normally choose to stay in smaller, quieter places. Beautiful surrounding countryside, fine walks and gorges. Visit the mountain village of Spili, Preveli Monastery and Preveli beach and the wonderful villages in the hills on the road to Sfakia.


Click to see Platanias on map of Crete
PlataniasOn the stretch of coast west of Chania. Platanias has, apart from shops, restaurants and cafes, many hotels and places to stay on the coast, also an old village on the hill which also offers shopping and dining opportunities, mixed with good views.


Sougia on map of Crete
SougiaA long and spectacular drive from the north coast towns, ports and airports, this is a haven on the Libyan sea. The beach is pebbly and expansive, with waterfront tavernas, a neat internet cafe and smaller hotels and
domatia both on the seafront and the village streets. Also some larger apartment hotels are at the approach to the village, a little inland. Sougia is very small, but the people have built some very attractive restaurant/tavernas and some charming domatia/small hotels along with the standard offerings. A place to laze, not mass-tourism and few typical nightlife/beach bash entertainments.
You can of course take ferry trips to Agia Roumeli (Samaria Gorge), Paleochora, Loutro and Sfakia…or just walk (E4 path goes through Sougia). Good swimming in the Libyan sea. Uncrowded, relaxed, relaxing and friendly.

Sfakia (or Chora Sfakion)

Sfakia on map of Crete
SfakiaThe regional seat, small port and center of the Sfakia region of Crete. Restaurants strung along the harbour-side. Moderate prices for your place to stay and to eat. Sfakia is a pleasing place and avoids most conspicuous signs of tourism – especially friendly people and interesting walks and villages to see, plus the village of Anopolis and its plateau with a dramatic backdrop of the Lefka Ori mountains. A small pebble beach. Loutro only a 20 minute ferry ride away.

Stalis(or Stalida)

Stalida on map of Crete
PlataniasIn the east-of-Heraklion resort stretch of coast, but with a more select and slightly calmer feel than Malia or Hersonisos. Stalis has its cafes and tavernas and beachfront, without the hum and throb of busier neighbours.


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