The beaches of Rethymno are well known for their calm environment and the clear water. Most popular beaches are located on the northern coasts. The southern coasts are secluded and offer quiet beach resorts.
Rethymnon beach (1km)
Situated in front of the city of Rethymno, it is a long sandy beach, extended at a length of approximately 12 kilometers to the East. Within the city and its suburbs, it is very crowded in summer, but going eastwards you can find parts with less people. As it is open to the North, it is affected by the "meltemia" (northern summer winds).
Very well organized, it offers abundant accommodation facilities, of any kind and for all budgets, taverns, restaurants and cafes at the sea front and facilities of swimming, sunbathing (sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sports. If you like diving, a diving centre and facilities as diving excursions and diving lessons are available.
Access from Rethymnon is possible on foot, by public bus, taxi and rented or private car and motorbike.
Triopetra beach (52 km)
The beach of Triopetra, named after the three impressive rocks ("Triopetra" means "three stones" in Greek) in the sea, is found 52 kilometers far from Rethymnon and 13 kilometers from the village Akoumia, at the South. It is a long, sandy beach, open to the southern winds. It is very popular, not only because of the marvelous landscape, the crystal clear sea and the facilities, but also for the magic sunset.
Organized well enough, it offers accommodation facilities, cafes and taverns with excellent dishes and fresh seafood. There are also facilities for swimming and sunbathing (sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sports.
Access from Rethymnon is possible by rented or private car and motorbike. You will take the road to Aghia Galini, follow the signs to the village Akoumia (after circa 40 kilometers from Rethymnon); from the village take the dirt track, drive up to the end and then on foot (a few minutes walk).
Souda-Plakias beach (43 km)
Situated within the Plakias' bay, some 43 kilometers far from Rethymnon at the Southwest and 3 kilometers at the West of Plakias, the beach of Souda is a lovely sandy beach, less crowded than the main beach of Plakias; it is open to the South and affected by the southern winds.
It is a well-organised beach with accommodation facilities in hotels and rooms to let, several taverns and cafes, as well as facilities for swimming and sunbathing (sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sport. The rocky ends of the beach are good for snorkeling.
Access from Rethymnon is possible mainly by rented or private car and motorbike. Of course, you may use the public bus, which will get you up to Plakias; the distance to Souda is some 3 kilometers and you have to walk or take a taxi.
Preveli beach (40 km)
The beach of Preveli, Finikas (Phoenix) as it is officially known, is situated at the southern coast of Crete, some 40 kilometers far from Rethymnon at the South. It is a unique sandy beach, very beautiful, with a palm tree forest, which make it quite exotic. The mouth of the river Kourtaliotis is at this beach; the river has enough water even in summer, and just before flowing into the sea it forms a small lagoon; thus, if you choose this beach for swimming, you might have the chance to bathe both in salted and sweet water! Walking up the river is a fascinating experience; the palm trees grown on the banks of the river give a rich shade and the soil is even and sandy. In times you may think that you are in an African oasis.
Due to this scenic and unusual landscape, the beach is a very popular destination since the 70's when the hippies used to camp here, making huts from the leaves of the palm trees, a practice that went on until the end of the 80's. The beach is open to the South and affected by the southern winds.
Fortunately, this small paradise is not very organized; there are some facilities for food and drink but not for accommodation. The last few years there used to be also facilities for swimming and sunbathing (sunbeds and umbrellas), but it seems that recently it has been decided to remove them, in order to keep this unique environment as natural as possible.
There are two ways to access the beach, the comfortable one and the hard one. If you choose the former, you have to go to Plakias (by bus or by private means) and catch the boat that makes the daily excursion to Preveli. It departs at about 10.00 in the morning and returns at about 4.00 in the afternoon. You will arrive at the beach without being tired, but you will miss the view of the beach from above, which is extraordinary.
The hard way is to drive to the Preveli Monastery (by private means), leave your car at the parking some 1,5 kilometer from the Monastery (the parking is signed) and then start walking (or, better, hiking) down the path with many steep steps. Descending is easy enough, but then you have to climb up, and this is the difficult part of the story. It will take you some half an hour to descend and some more to climb back. If you choose the hard way, don't forget to take water with you and cover your head, as the sun is burning a lot especially from 11.00 to 16.00. Although difficult, this way of getting to the beach will reward you with a marvelous view of the beach from above.
Damnoni beach (38 km)
At a distance of 38 kilometers far from Rethymnon at the South and 6 kilometers at the East of Plakias, it is situated the beautiful sandy beach of Damnoni. The beach is open to the South and, thus, affected by the southern winds.
Well enough organized, it offers accommodation facilities, a few taverns for food and drink; facilities for swimming, sunbathing (sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sports are also available , including diving activities as diving excursions and diving lessons.
Access from Rethymnon is possible by public bus up to Plakias, but the best way is to use rented or private car and motorbikes.
Agia Galini beach (55 km)
The sandy beach of Aghia Galini is situated at a distance of 55 kilometers far from Rethymnon at the Southeast, just beside the same named village, before the river. It is well protected from the winds. The beach is very popular and in summer, especially during July and August many people come to spend their holidays here.
Very well organized, it offers many alternatives for accommodation , good food and fresh fish and several facilities for swimming and bathing (sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sport facilities, including activities as diving excursions and diving lessons.
Access from Rethymnon is possible by public bus, with regular service, and rented or private car and motorbike. There is also connection by boat with several beaches and villages of Southern Crete.
Agia Galini beach (past the river) (58 km)
Situated at a distance of 58 kilometers far from Rethymnon at the Southeast and 2-3 kilometers from Agia Galini at the East, the beach past the river is long with big pebbles and a rocky seabed, good for snorkeling. It is affected by the winds. It is ideal for a quiet swim, far from the crowds of people in Agia Galini, and it is nudism tolerant.
The beach does not offer any accommodation facilities; food and drink and facilities for swimming, sunbathing and sea sports are not available
Access from Rethymnon is possible by public bus up to Agia Galini and then by car, motorbike or on foot. Of course, you can reach the beach by rented and private car and motorbike.
Bali beach (33 km)
Situated 33 kilometers far from Rethymnon, at the East, just one kilometer off the National Road to Heraklion, there are four beaches with sand or pebbles in the Bali bay, well protected and not affected by the "meltemia" (northern summer winds).
The beach is well organized, close enough to Rethymnon, and offers good accommodation facilities. Food and drink are available at the sea front taverns and bars; the visitor can also find facilities for swimming and sunbathing ( sunbeds, umbrellas) and sea sports.
Access from Rethymnon is possible by public bus, with regular service, taxi and rented or private car and motorbike.