23 Beaches with Green Waters on Crete Island

Find a beach with Green waters near you

  • Red beach
  • Sand
  • Normal
  • Blue, Green

The Kokkini Ammos, or Red Beach, can be found 68km southwest of Heraklion and a short 800m from the popular resort of Matala. You can reach this hidden gem by following a clearly marked trail from Matala, which takes you over Kastri hill. While the trail includes some initial rock climbing and a steep descent at the end, it’s quite feasible. After a 15-25 minute walk from Matala, passing through a shepherd’s gate along the way, the breathtaking Red Beach comes into view. It’s an ideal spot for enjoying panoramic views and beautiful sunsets. Alternatively, you can also reach the beach by boat from Matala Harbour for a small fee of around 5 euros.

The beach is most noted for its red sand, a result of the area’s unique geology, which forms a stunning contrast against the bright blue-green sea. However, it’s important to note that it’s not shielded from the typical western winds in the region. The beach has minimal facilities, with a simple stone-wall coffee shop that opens occasionally offering food and drinks, and some umbrellas. It’s recommended to bring your own mats and umbrellas as the only natural shade is provided by a few tamarisk trees near the canteen.

In the 1960s and 70s, Red Beach was a popular spot among hippies, and its legacy continues with enthusiasts still visiting the beach regularly. Especially the northern part of the beach has gained a reputation as a nudist-friendly area and has gained international recognition for this. The beach and its surrounding area are protected by the Natura 2000 program due to its ecological importance.

The northern end of the beach features a long rocky limestone formation, similar to the limestone found in Matala. These rocks are decorated with carvings of Minoan and Egyptian sea figures, created by Gerard, a Belgian fan of Matala. These carvings have become a key part of the beach’s appeal. Between Matala and the Red Beach, there’s a large rock known as Theosini that offers stunning views of Messara Bay. This rock has been eroded by the sea, creating a marine cave known as Kouroupi, which can only be accessed by boat. The cave is a haven for endangered Mediterranean seals and various species of wild pigeons.

  • Stavros beach
  • Sand
  • Shallow
  • Blue, Green

Stavros beach is situated 17km northeast of Chania on the farthest point of Cape Akrotiri, is known for its distinct, camel-shaped mountain, Vardies. This towering landmark gained recognition in the film “Zorba the Greek” as the backdrop for Anthony Quinn’s iconic Sirtaki Dance in 1964. Once a quaint fishing hamlet, Stavros has since transformed into a bustling tourist hub, complete with numerous hotels and top-tier tourist facilities. The area’s popularity is further boosted by its two stunning beaches.

The primary beach lies to the village’s east, nestled at the base of the Vardies mountain and adjacent to the scenic harbour. It forms a protected, semi-circular lagoon with pristine white sands and shallow, turquoise waters. The contrast between the rugged mountain and the tranquil beach provides a unique and enchanting swimming experience. As anticipated, the beach is well-equipped with all the necessary amenities.

200 meters northwest of the main beach, you’ll find Stavros’ secondary beach, a mix of sandy stretches and rocky areas. It’s less developed and cleaner than its counterpart, but its exposure to the elements can lead to wavy seas. The peninsula separating the two beaches holds historical significance, housing remnants of an ancient quarry that provided limestone for Chania’s Venetian-era Walls (13th- 17th century).

Beyond beaches, Stavros offers an array of other services including accommodation, eateries, mini markets, shops, cafes, and regular bus connections to Chania city.

  • Matala beach
  • Fine Pebbles, Sand
  • Deep
  • Blue, Green

The beach of Matala is situated 68km southwest of Heraklion, where the Messara plain and Asteroussia Mountains intersect. It is one of the most frequented tourist spots in Crete and the most well-known beach in the southern region of the Heraklion prefecture. Matala is notable for its rock-carved caves and its association with the hippie culture of the 1970s. It lies in close proximity to Phaestus, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization, having once served as its port. During the era of the Romans, Matala transformed into a port for Gortyn.

Nestled at the end of a small valley, Matala overlooks an enclosed bay with a picturesque view of the Paximadia islands. The beach spans 300m and features beautiful sandy shores, fine gravel, and crystal-clear deep waters. However, parts of the seabed, particularly the central area, are quite rocky and waves are common due to frequent westerly winds. A large cave can be found on the northern part of the beach, from which some thrill-seekers dive.

Matala beach is well-equipped with amenities such as umbrellas, restrooms, showers, lifeguards, first aid facilities, beach volleyball courts, snack bars, water sports, excursion boats, and a camping site. The surrounding area of Matala offers a range of accommodation, dining, and entertainment options. The beach is largely shaded by tamarisk trees, providing a respite from the sun. Come evening, the beach bars are brimming with people, both locals and tourists. The internationally acclaimed Matala Festival draws large crowds every June.

  • Bali beaches
  • Sand
  • Shallow
  • Green

The coastal resort of Bali is situated in a vast bay, 30km east of Rethymno and 43km west of Heraklion. The National Road that connects Heraklion and Rethymno passes alongside the village, making Bali easily reachable from all parts of the island. It’s a perfect spot for family getaways and romantic vacations. Bali boasts four beaches nestled in sandy coves with appealing greenish waters. The beaches, shielded by the bay facing west, are typically tranquil and suitable for children, with good organization. The coolness of the water is attributed to the numerous springs around that channel fresh water into the sea from the Psiloritis Range.

Livadi Beach

As you enter the village, the first beach you encounter is Livadi, the longest in the area. It’s located in an open bay, which is more exposed to winds than the other three. Despite being well-organized and frequently bustling, it’s less picturesque than the others. Its name, Livadi (meaning meadows), is due to the nearby valley. At the eastern end of Livadi, you’ll find two separate smaller beaches, Kouskouras.

Varkotopos Beach

Moving ahead, at the village center, you’ll find the secluded bay of Varkotopos featuring a beautiful beach with sand and gravel, which is well-organized and popular. It’s perfect for young children due to the shallow waters and proximity to all necessary amenities.

Limani (Harbor) Beach

Further north, you’ll come across the scenic port of Bali, adjacent to a clean beach. Known as Limani in Greek, it’s well-organized and surrounded by numerous restaurants and shops.

Karavostasis Beach

Karavostasis, the last beach you’ll encounter, is the most beautiful in the area. It’s smaller than the other bays, which often makes it appear crowded. Although it’s well-organized, it’s less so than the others.