HERAKLION - BEACHES
There are amazing Heraklion beaches all along the northern and the southern coasts of the region. Around the tourist resorts, the beaches are organized with plenty of hotels, traditional taverns and water sport centers. The southern coasts offer many secluded bays for total privacy and isolation.
Matala is one of the most famous beaches of Crete, located 42 miles southwest of Heraklion town. The beach extends over 1,000 feet, with light golden sand, bamboo umbrellas and sun beds available for rent. On the right side of the beach are the famous imposing cliffs with the curved caves that hippies used as a shelter in the 1960s. The beach was actually inhabited during Antiquity where the locals dug these caves into the rocks. Today, the prehistoric caves are fenced. Matala used to be a fishing village. There is a camping site and many fish taverns.
Hersonissos is another of the most famous, popular tourist resorts in Crete. It lies 17 miles east of Heraklion Town. It has a long golden sandy beach which extends over many miles and also some palm trees and crystalline azure waters. It is a busy resort offering all kind of facilities and accommodations to the thousands of visitors arriving every year. Hersonissos also has a very interesting aquarium.
Amoudara is a fine beach located in the Gulf of Heraklion, 3 miles west of the capital, on the northern coast of the prefecture. It has soft golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach has been awarded with the EU Blue Flag for its clean waters and fine organization. Accommodations can be found in the area as well as many taverns.
Amnissos is located 5.5 miles east of Heraklion, close to Amnissos village. It is a beautiful, sandy beach with nice, clean waters. In summer, this beach gets very crowded because it is well-organized with water sports facilities, sun beds, umbrellas, showers and seaside fish taverns. There is also a lifeguard for the swimmers` protection while the beach is often affected by northern winds. In addition some archaeological excavations have revealed some Neolithic settlements in the surrounding area and a villa that dates back from 1600 B.C. and whose beautiful frescoes are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Amnissos used to be the port of Knossos in the Minoan times and from there sailed the Cretan ships that took part in the Trojan War. The beach overlooks the islet of Dia, which was a significant Minoan religious site. Another ancient religious site close to Amnissos beach is the Cave of Eileithya, where, according to the myth, Hera gave birth to Eileithya, the goddess of childbirth. The cave is long and narrow, yet open to the public.
Tymbaki is a small beach with pebbles on the shore about 43 miles southwest of Heraklion and pretty close to Tymbaki village. The beach is also known as Kokkinos Pyrgos. There is a small harbor by the beach where boats moor. Tymbaki beach is not as popular as the nearby Matala and Agia Galini beaches. It is usually affected by the strong winds, creating some big waves, good for those practicing water sports. The beach is not organized but it is very quiet and clean. Many accommodation options are found close to the beach and some traditional taverns.
Stalida is a beautiful cove located 20 miles east of Heraklion Town. The attractive tourist resort, full of verdant trees and flowered gardens, embraces the wonderful white sandy beach with crystalline waters and many facilities. Accommodations of all categories and fine taverns can be found in the wider region.
Agia Pelagia Beach
Agia Pelagia is a beautiful village lying 15 miles northwest of Heraklion Town. It has a long beach with wonderful golden sand. The beach is always protected from the winds. Numerous accommodations of all types, taverns and bars can be found in the tourist resort.