The prefecture’s north coasts are very busy and organized. Pay a visit to Rethimno beach just outside the city—its golden sand extends over twelve kilometers—and enjoy the sea. It is ideal for small children as it is shallow for several meters. Alternatively you can follow a very easy route on an asphalt roadway which ends up in the organized beach of Plakia. If you prefer isolated beaches with crystal waters and untouched sceneries away from touristic development you should take the road to the south coasts of the island. In the broader area you will see the isolated beach of Ammoudaki, while if you continue towards Lefkogia you will be amazed by the beautiful beach of Ammoudi with the imposing rocks standing in the sea. If you like underwater explorations the richness below the water will take your breath away.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Crete are Aghia Irini, Triopetra, Ligres and Aghios Pavlos, all located in the southeastern side of Rethimno prefecture.
Preveli is one of the most famous beaches in Crete, isolated, beautiful and romantic.
This beach is located on the central south coast of the island, just a few kms from the monastery of the same name, 43 kms from Rethymnon town.
You can journey to the beach by car and foot, walking over the mountain ridge from the dirt road, or you can take a boat from Plakias or Agia Galini.
The walk is steep and not for the faint-hearted; be careful in hot weather. There are also buses to the monastery and day trips from Rethymnon town.
The tall, steep Kourtaliotiko Gorge meets the Libyan Sea and forms a cool lagoon and sandy beach. Palms and oleanders create shade; a tropical paradise forest amidst the dry rocky Mediterranean terrain.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you will get any peace and quiet in summer, because the beach is busy. There are sun lounges for hire and paddle boats. Ferries and private boats bring more visitors every time you wake up from your snooze.
A short rocky walk over the headland to the west takes you to Drimiskos Beach where Dionyssos Taverna is set back in the shade. You can gaze over the beautiful Bay of Drimiskos and enjoy tasty seafood and traditional Cretan dishes. There are a few rooms; be sure to pre-book in summer.
Another beautiful remote beach nearby is Damnoni Beach. The southern coast of Crete is wonderful to explore and provides the independent traveller with the colours, vast open spaces and textures for adventures.