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There are many white sand beaches in Crete if you know where to look. The five best beaches in Crete which offer glorious golden sands, clear blue waters and the perfect place to kick back and relax are listed below.

1. Váï
Mars chocolate filmed their exotic Caribbean “taste of paradise” Bounty bar advert here in the 1970s. This Palm encrusted beach enjoys golden sands backed by Caribbean style palm trees – an oasis fed by a stream which has stood there for more than 3,000 years. In the height of the season, the beach tends to attract northern European tour groups from nearby resorts, in lower season, this beach offers the same beauty but with more seclusion and is therefore far more magical. Hire a sunbed and a pretty straw umbrella and paddle or snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

From the popular north coast resort of Sitia, public buses run several times daily to Váï, near the island’s northeastern tip. From Váï’s car park, it’s a 2-minute stroll to the beach.

2. Paleóhora
Probably the best beach on the southwest coast. The long and sandy Pahiá Ámmos is ideal for windsurfing. Just 3km to the west, the sandy coves at Gramméno are equally good, and usually less crowded. There are plenty of places to grab a bite in this lively little town on the shores of Paleóhora. Four public buses arrive here daily from Haniá, 75km away. Otherwise daily small boats will ship you in from the resorts of Hóra Sfakíon, Loutró, Agía Roúmeli and Soúgia to the east.

3. Mýrtos
Head down to the Cretan hippie meccas of the ’60s. Eastern Crete is more likely to be wind-buffeted than the rest of Crete, but this kilometre-long stretch of pebble (no golden sand here I’m afraid) on the South East of Crete is protected from the wind.

This bohemian sun trap is warm enough to attract visitors throughout the year, even in the winter. Sun beds and umbrellas here are free, set out by the local tavernas (you should buy something from the taverna that supply your sunbeds). To get there take one of five daily buses Mon–Fri from Ierápetra, eastern Crete’s second town, just 17km east, (but note that there are only two on Saturday and none Sunday).

4. Elafonísi
Situated on the most southwesterly point of the Crete, this sandy paradise is a shallow lagoon with a turquoise water. As one of the most promoted days out in western Crete, this beach can be as busy as it is beautiful. The water here is flat, clear and calm.

There’s just 1 daily morning bus from Haniá, plus boat trips from Paleóhora,/ otherwise you will need to rent a car to get here.

5. Preveli beach in Rethymno
To the south near Rethymno, Preveli beach offers golden sands around a delta where a river flows into the sea. With palm trees growing naturally on the shores and bordered by a natural lake, you can mess around on the beach or the river and swim the day away.
Isolated, beautiful and romantic this beach 43 km 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 Best Villas To Enjoy The Best beaches On Crete
The best choice for a family stay is undoubtedly one of the many beautiful villas available for rent on Crete. Two favourites of are Villa Armonia located in Rethymnon, and Blue Key Villa located in Heraklion.

Villa Armonia
Villa Armonia is a brand new villa built in 2009. This modern, luxury villa perfectly combines modern comfort with elements of Cretan tradition hospitality. Villa Armonia consists of two floors. On the ground floor there is a spacious a living room with all modern comforts (LCD TV, DVD player, mini HI-FI, etc), one bathroom with walk in Jacuzzi cabin , a sophisticated dining area and a fully equipped kitchen. On the first floor, there is a modern bathroom with a walk in shower/Jacuzzi and two bedrooms, one with double bed and one with 2 single beds. Both bedrooms have private balconies with amazing views. Luxurious touches can be found throughout the villa from the cotton sheets to the fluffy bathrobes. In the garden you can pick your own fruits and vegetables for alfresco dining under the stars.

Blue Key Villa
Blue Key Villa is built on a hilltop overlooking the bay of Agia Pelagia, offering unbelievable panoramic views. Inside, this villa is large enough to house 10 guests (300 sq. m.) in four bedrooms (master bedroom, two double bedrooms and one twin bedroom with an extra bed). On the ground floor it features the kitchen (fully equipped), the living room with a satellite TV, the dining room, 1 toilet and one double bedroom with a private patio. On the first level there is a double bedroom, the twin bedroom, two more bathrooms and a large balcony that leads directly to the pool through a staircase. Then there is a separate apartment on the lower ground floor, with another double bedroom, kitchen, living room an bathroom. The entire villa is fully air conditioned. In the grounds of the villa there is 40 sq. m. swimming pool with Jacuzzi as well as a children’s pool. There is also plenty of lounge space, a BBQ area and a dining table where you can enjoy the glorious views to local produce and wine.

You can also read my other top five best articles to discover my pick of the best destinations in Europe for 2017 and the best beaches and luxury hotels around the world.

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.