5 Must-See East Crete Beaches.
Discover the top seven beaches on Crete’s east coast. Learn how to get there with our free map and what to carry to make the most of your holiday in our spectacular Eastern Crete itinerary.
Explore eastern Crete for a variety of reasons. In comparison to west Crete, it is less well-known and hence less congested. East Crete is often less expensive in terms of hotels, restaurants, and shopping. Not to mention the lovely beaches…
True, east Crete’s beaches are less well-known than those in the west. However, this is primarily because most first-time visitors are only familiar with well-known beaches like as Balos and Elafonissi. It’s not that east Crete is devoid of gorgeous beaches.
This is where we can help. We spent two weeks in eastern and western Crete (and want to return!).
While it may not be feasible to visit all of the beaches on both coastlines in a single lifetime, it is conceivable to visit some of them. During our 2-week holiday in Crete, we made it our aim to see as many as possible so that we could share the greatest ones with you!
This Best Beaches in East Crete guide is for you if you want to discover Crete a little bit off the main path.
This third installment of our Crete holiday guide covers both known and hidden gem beaches in east Crete. If you’re not sure which towns in Crete are the finest to stay in, our Where to Stay in Crete guide might help you choose the perfect spot for you.
Follow us on social media or sign up for our newsletter to get future Crete travel tips.
Vayu Beach, Crete, North East
Vayu beach is a must-see for anybody searching for a more off-the-beaten-path beach in east Crete.
Vayu Beach in Greece is a half-pebble, half-sand beach off the usual path in east Crete.
Vayu is a secluded beach where you may enjoy the whole beach to yourself.
Vayu Beach is also found off Kalydon Island’s east shore. However, it is significantly calmer than Kolokitha Beach. When we visited Crete in September 2021, we had Vayu beach almost entirely to ourselves.
The crystal clean, turquoise waters of Kolokitha beach may not be present at this secluded beach. The half-pebble, half-sand beach, though, sets it apart.
The only noises you’ll hear are stones softly smashing against each other or animals bleating in the distance.
What is the best way to go to Vayu Beach?
Kolokitha beach is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from Vayu beach. So just follow the guidelines as if you were going there. Continue walking to the opposite end of Kolokitha beach and along the coast until you reach Vayu beach.
The trek to Vayu beach isn’t difficult. However, there are several thorn bushes along the path. If you don’t want to get stung and scratched, we suggest wearing long trousers.
This region of Crete likewise has no cellular service. So make sure you get Google Maps offline so you know where you’re going.
North East Crete’s Paralia Stalidas Beach (Stalis).
The beach of Paralia Stalidas (or Stalis) is not the most attractive in east Crete. However, if you don’t want to hire a vehicle, it’s probably one of the better beach alternatives.
So, if your Crete holiday aim is to unwind, eat wonderful Greek cuisine, and relax on the beach, Stalis beach is the place to go.
People swimming in the water and strolling on the beach at stalis beach in the vacation town of Stalida.
Stalis is one of the nicest beaches in eastern Crete for families.
What is Stalis like in Crete?
For couples or a group of friends, Stalis is a terrific all-around spot to stay in east Crete. However, it is well-known for being family-friendly. Stalis’ large, sandy beach offers something for everyone.
Stalis beach has a shallower portion that is ideal for children. There are lifeguards on duty. So you may relax on a sunbed and sip a beverage while someone else keeps an eye on the youngsters.
For those who want a little more action. You might participate in watersports, hire a jet ski, or go kayaking along the shore.
Within walking distance are restaurants, cafés, stores, and public transport stations. If you don’t want to spend every day at the beach, you may simply discover alternative activities.
a traditional blue and white restaurant or taverna in Malia’s lovely ancient town, framed by pink flowers
From Stalis, a day journey to the lovely ancient town of Malia is simple.
By utilizing public transportation, you can easily visit adjacent cities and villages such as Malia, Hersonissos, and Gouves (bus). Rent a scooter or buggy and get there on your own to make the trip as enjoyable as the destination.
Accommodations in Stalis (Stalida), Crete.
You won’t have to worry about driving if you stay near Stalis Beach! It’s also a good place to stay if you want to cover most of our eastern Crete itinerary. Here are some fantastic hotels in Stalis:
Maistrali Sea View Apartments are affordable (1 bedroom)
Bella Casa (middle range) (2 bedroom apartment)
Escape to Blue Luxury (2 bedroom villa)
North East Crete’s Paralia Tholos Beach.
Paralia Tholos is a nice alternative to Voulisma beach in east Crete if you’re looking for something a little further off the beaten path. It’s tucked away in a much smaller cove. However, since few people visit, it is considerably quieter.
Tholos beach, like Vayu, is a half-sand, half-pebble beach. However, the water here is that beautiful turquoise blue color that we all love.
Where can I get directions to Tholos Beach?
Voulisma beach is within a 20-minute (17-kilometer) drive from Tholos beach. It’s a relatively straightforward trip to Tholos since the whole route is paved. When you get to the beach, there is also ample of parking.
The Best Hotels Near Tholos Beach, Crete
Aside from the seashore, the Monumental Olive Tree Azoria is one of the oldest and largest olive trees in east Crete. Alternatively, take a stroll into Havgas Gorge. Stay close by to avoid having to hurry back and drive in the dark.
Near Tholos beach, here are some fantastic hotels and vacation rentals:
Private Studio in Historic House at a Low Cost (1 bedroom apartment)
Petra Nova Villas (mid-range) (1 bedroom villa)
Luxury: Tholos Bay Luxus (2 bedroom villa with pool)
East Crete’s Vai Beach.
Vai is one of Crete’s most well-known beaches. It’s known for having Europe’s biggest palm tree forest, not only on Crete Island! It also doesn’t hurt that the beach is stunning.
Imagine beautiful, golden beaches, crystal clear seas, and a sea of palm trees stretching as far as the eye can see. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to some faraway tropical paradise.
Vai Palm Forest Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in East Crete.
Vai is a well-known beach in eastern Crete, Greece.
Vai Beach isn’t exactly off the beaten path. Thousands of people visit this gorgeous beach every year, particularly during the busy summer months. If you’ve never there, it’s worth a visit for its distinctive scenery.
Interesting fact: The term ‘Vai’ derives from the Greek word ‘vayia,’ which means ‘palms.’
Vai Beach against Preveli
The two most well-known palm tree beaches in Crete are Preveli and Vai. If you stay in east Crete, though, seeing both beaches is almost difficult.
Preveli Beach is situated on the island of Crete’s southwest coast. Getting from Vai to Preveli beach takes at least four hours each way.
If you just have one week in Crete, you’ll probably only be able to visit one of them. So, what’s the difference between Preveli and Vai beaches, and which should you go to?
You’ll adore Vai beach if you’re there for the palm palms. Vai’s palm tree grove is six times the size of Preveli Beach.
However, Vai beach is more busier than Preveli beach. That’s because Preveli Beach is a little more difficult to get and requires a short climb.
Vai Beach also has all of the necessary facilities. There is parking nearby, as well as eateries, restrooms, outdoor showers, and sunbed and umbrella rentals. Preveli, on the other hand, offers simply a modest cantina where you can get a quick snack.
In comparison to Preveli beach, Vai beach is arguably more suitable for families with small children.
Bonus Tip: Planning a trip to Crete and want to visit Preveli Beach? For further information and directions, see our South Crete Beaches guide.
What is the best way to go from Elounda to Vai Beach?
Elounda is a 2- to 2.5-hour (101-kilometer) journey from Vai beach. It’s possible, but we don’t encourage it since you’ll likely spend more time driving than relaxing on the beach.
In Crete, driving at night might be challenging. If you want to visit Vai Beach, we suggest staying in Sitia or a nearby town.
Bonus Tip: From the summit, take a short trek up the steps to see Vai beach. It’s breathtaking, and every drop of sweat will be well worth it.
Vai Beach has parking.
At Vai Beach, there is a parking lot. It’s around 200 meters from the beach, and parking there for the day costs €3.
What is the best way to go from Agios Nikolaos to Vai Beach?
We propose taking a trip from Agios Nikolaos to Vai beach if you want to avoid the stress of driving in Crete.
It is, without a doubt, the most convenient method to navigate about Crete without hiring a vehicle. While being transported to Vai beach, you may relax and take in the breathtaking views of the coastline.
Pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation are included in this 6-hour escorted excursion from Agios Nikolaos to Vai beach. And it’ll take you to the 15th century Monastery of Toplou on your way to Vai Beach, a tropical paradise.
After that, you’ll have plenty of time to swim in the crystal blue waters of Vai beach and take in the scenery.
Your trip will stop at Platanos to enjoy the sunset on the way back before returning to your accommodation in Agios Nikolaos.
Accommodations in Vai Beach, Crete.
Vai Beach does not have any hotels or vacation flats within walking distance. However, here are some of the closest alternatives:
Casa Di Mare in Voula is budget-friendly (1 bedroom apartment)
Surf Beach Apartments, Mid-Range (1 bedroom)
Villa Aiolos offers luxury (2 bedroom villa)
East Crete’s Itanos Beach
If Vai beach is too busy for you and you want to explore Crete off the usual path, Itanos beach is for you.
Just 2 kilometers north of Vai beach lies Itanos, a sandy, wild beach. Even though it’s simple to get to and doesn’t require any climbing, this beach on east Crete attracts very few people.
This is the beach you go to if you want to have your own private beach.
Itanos Beach Tourist Tips
When visiting Itanos Beach, remember to carry food and water with you. There are no cafés, restaurants, or restrooms along the beach since it is a wild beach.
Water shoes are a nice-to-have if you want to stroll over the rocks along the coast to get to deeper waters.
You may leave your vehicle at a modest parking lot near Itanos beach.
Hotels in Crete close to Itanos Beach
There are no hotels or holiday flats in the vicinity of Itanos beach since it is very secluded. We suggest staying at the Vai beach hotel listed above if you don’t want to travel far after spending the day in Itanos.
East Crete, Greece’s Best Beaches
On Greece’s eastern Crete, there are a number of beaches to visit. So here’s a brief rundown of east Crete’s top beaches:
The beach at Kolokitha
Vayu Beach is a place where you may relax and enjoy yourself.
Beach of Voulissa
Beach Vai Itanos