Best beaches in Crete

The largest of all the Greek islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Crete has long been a favourite holiday destination for beach goers. And with almost 100 miles of beaches along its coastline, tourists are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing their favourite beach. Thanks to such an abundance of beaches there is everything from secluded relaxing beaches with soft white sands, to those with great nightlife and even little pebbly ones hidden in rocky coves.

The beaches along the northern coast are the most developed and made up of soft golden sands that stretch out flat between the island's main cities and popular tourist resorts. One of the most popular resorts here is Rethimno with its wide sandy beach backed by a palm tree lined promenade which leads to the historical streets in the town. Bali Beach offers a much more charming location and set within an old fishing village.

Most visitors will head to the beautiful palm forest and soft sands of Vai; set on the eastern end of Crete it attracts tourists with its safe, crystal clear waters. To the west is Chania, a popular tourist destination and boasting various Blue Flag beaches and historical sites. One of the most visited beaches here is the 2km stretch of white sands of Georgioupolis. Not so far away you'll also find Falassarna beach which is set in front of an ancient city; it's a soft white sand beach and as it stretches away along the coast it rarely gets busy. Another beach set by a historical site is Prevelj beach which is close to the monastery and Kourtaliotikos Gorge; it's fringed with palm trees and dotted with pools from the Grand River.

Head to the southern coast of Crete if you’re in search of quieter and more secluded, rugged beaches, although bear in mind these beaches tend to be pebblier than the soft sands of the northern coast. There are still some sands here though; Elafonisi in the far west is one of these with its secluded expanse of unusual pink sand and blue waters, it's backed by sand dunes and there is a sandy islet just off the shore that can be reached through the shallow waters.