Elafonisi, with its pink dunes and clear blue water, is frequently listed as one of the world's most beautiful beaches. Photography by Tom Parker.
When you’re ready to cool down with a swim at the beach, Chania offers bountiful options. There are lots of lovely beaches near the city, but the real gems are just a short trip away. Many beaches are family-friendly but some are hard to access—do some research if you're travelling with small children or have mobility issues.
Prepare to swoon at the shimmering pink sands (thanks to crushed shells) and crystalline waters at Balos. Apart from its otherworldly appearance, what sets Balos apart is its shallow lagoon that’s perfect for hours of wading. Though you can drive the 51 kilometres to Balos, some of the roads are rough, as is the final hike to the beach. The easiest arrival is via the Kissamos ferry. There’s a beach bar, but items are limited and go fast, so packing your own water and snacks is the best way to enjoy Balos.
If one pink beach isn’t enough, venture to Elafonisi. Shallow turquoise waters dotted by islands and coves make the one-kilometre-long coastline a popular spot for watersports, relaxation and photography. Elafonisi offers sunbeds and beach umbrellas, a couple of small beach bars and, during the busy season, lifeguards.
Falassarna, located at the western base of the scenic Gramvousa Peninsula, is another crowd-pleaser, thanks to an abundance of rental umbrellas, snack bars and volleyball courts.
Where there are great beaches, there are bound to be great water sports. With a plethora of equipment-rental companies operating at most sites, you can easily find canoes, stand-up paddleboards, windsurfers and jet-skis. If you’d rather enjoy the ocean by boat, head to nearby Hora Sfakion and take a trip to Loutro, a charming seaside village inaccessible by car. Or drive to Kalypso Beach in Rethymno—a rocky cove with inky blue waters that once served as a pirate hideaway. Rent scuba or snorkel equipment and marvel at the marine life in the Libyan Sea.
Whether you’re Greek island-hopping or plan to spend your whole vacation on Crete, you’ll find plenty to do and see—with sweeping seaside vistas so stunning, it can be hard to keep your eyes on the winding cliffside roads.
Minimize currency exchange fees and buy euros at your bank before your trip. While in Greece, pay with cash or use a credit or debit card with low or no foreign transaction fees. No matter what, avoid airport kiosks at both the beginning and end of your journey; they charge a premium for the convenience.
Don't Forget a Permit
Since some foreign car rental agencies may require an International Driving Permit (IDP), check with your intended provider before setting out on Crete’s winding roads. The IDP is valid for one year after purchase, so it’s handy if you plan to extend your trip to other destinations—or have additional trips planned in the coming year.
Only CAA is authorized
to issue an IDP, whether you’re a Member or not. Go to caamanitoba.com/travel/idp to find out more.
We can help you
to book flights, hotels, cars and activities for your next big adventure.
Visit caamanitoba.com/travel to learn more.
Travelling light is an art form, whether you’re visiting Greece for a week or a long weekend. Here’s how to carry-on the essentials and still explore your destination in style:
- Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane: jeans, sweater, jacket and comfortable walking shoes or boots.
- Limit packed footwear to a pair of casual shoes or shoes that can be dressed up, plus flat sandals or flip-flops for the pool and beach.
- Check what amenities your hotel provides, so you can leave unnecessary toiletries at home.
- Choose versatile clothing—lightweight trousers, skirts, good-quality tees—that can be layered to suit the temperature or occasion.
- Bring a selection of small accessories (think scarves, jewellery, sunglasses) to smarten up your basics. And don’t forget a hat for sun protection!
Shop with us at shop.caamanitoba.com for travel and safety needs.