There are some wonderful snorkelling sites in Crete, Greece. As Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands it has miles and miles of coastline and therefore lots of opportunities to snorkel.
Crete has very clean and clear waters around its coastline and some spectacular beaches. From May until November the sea temperature is very conducive to snorkelling. The warm waters that surround Crete make it ideal to enjoy exploring the undersea.
And even in the colder, winter months a wet suit can be worn.
Because many of the beaches in Crete are gently shelving with shallow waters, it makes snorkeling safer - particularly for children.
If you've forgotten to bring your snorkelling gear to Crete don't worry. Every tourist shop in every beach resort around Crete selling beach equipment such as lilos and inflatables also stock diving masks, snorkels and snorkel fins.
The best beaches in Crete for snorkellers are those that have rocky areas. You'll find plenty to see, with many varied colours of fish, crabs, shells and the occasional squid or octopus. Take care with the black sea urchins and jellyfish though.
So where are the best snorkelling sites in Crete?
Almyrida (sometimes spelt Almirida) is a lovely friendly, tourist resort and fishing village. It has a small sandy beach with shallow water perfect for kids. It has rocky area at one side of the bay and is perfect for snorkelling. It is well equipped with all the amenities a family would want for a day at the beach.
Almyrida beach is on the western side, about 25 kilometres east of Chania, and benefits from being protected from the Meltema – the northern summer winds.
Check out the sweet village of Almyrida with this link.
Between Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, close
to Schisma, is located a small rocky beach. The modern day village of Elounda sits on the site of the ancient Dorian city of Olous (or Olounda). The ruins of ancient Olous can be seen lying under the sea nearby. This is a popular diving and snorkelling site as remains of the city can be seen clearly.
The beach has crystal clear blue waters and is a peaceful and relaxing environment.
Golden Beach at Istron has to be one of the best beaches in Crete and we would say one of the best beaches in the Greek Islands.
Named locally as Voulisma Beach the golden sands and crystal clear sea of this stunning beach are wonderful. There's quite a big parking area at the top of the entrance to the beach and to access the beach you need to use the steps to get down from the cliff tops.
The main beach of Istron Golden Beach is a long stretch of golden sand packed with sunbeds and parasols. There are also a few rocky coves for a more secluded beach experience and perfect for snorkelling.
Voulisma Beach is very popular and is packed during the summer months. There's a little Kantina off the main beach for snacks and drinks and also a small cafe at the top of the main beach.
Platanias Beach is a popular sandy beach just 11 kilometres west of Chania. The beach is a long stretch offering full amenities with great food and drink at the sea front tavernas and bars. It has great facilities for swimming and sunbathing and water sports. 800 metres across the bay is the island of Thedorou, with excellent scuba diving and snorkelling sites.
The nearest village is Platanias
Stavros Beach is located 15 kilometres northeast of Chania at the very north of the Akrotiri peninsula. Famous as the main location for the film "Zorba The Greek", there are actually two beaches in Stavros.
A breathtakingly beautiful little bay as well as a longer almost deserted sandy beach. The main beach is set in a circular sandy bay nearly cut off from the sea, and therefore very sheltered. It is backed by several tavernas and overlooked by the mountain and is well organised.
The other quieter beach, on the north side of Stavros, is known as Pachia Ammos and is excellent for swimming and snorkelling as it is a wide sandy beach fronted by rocks in places, leading to smooth limestone under the clear water.
The nearest village to Stavros Beach is Stavros.
Considered as one of the best beaches in Crete, Elafonissi Beach is just beautiful. Elafonissos is a small islet at the southwest coast of the region of Chania. Elafonissos Lagoon can be reached by boat from Paleohora or by car from the village of Vathi. The Beach has pink sand and very clear shallow waters. Just a couple of kantinas can be found on the beach and no accommodation is offered, but camping is allowed. Elafonissos has fabulous snorkelling sites.
The nearest village to Elafonissi Beach is Paleohora.
Located on the south coast of the region of Chania there are three different beaches in the same area of Frangokastello. The pebbly beach to the west has a rocky seabed and is excellent for snorkelling. The sandy beach in front of the castle has beautiful white pinkish sand and has very shallow and clear waters and is ideal for families with children. Well organised, it offers accommodation facilities, food and drink and facilities for swimming and sunbathing (sun beds, umbrellas).
Finally there is "Orthi Ammos" sandy beach, which you can find within a ten-minute stroll east of the castle. This is considered one of the best beaches in Crete. It is a stunning beach with big sand-dunes and crystal clear water. The far eastern part of this long beach is sometimes used by naturists.
The nearest village to the Frangokastello Beaches is Frangokastello.
Just 6 kilometres west of Rethymno town, Gerani is a quiet, pebbly beach, within a small cove and is good for snorkelling. It is left very natural and is not much organised offering only food and drink in the tavern beneath the bridge of Gerani. It is a beautifully picturesque setting where you can enjoy the natural environment far from the madding crowds.
The nearest village to Gerani Beach is Gerani.
On the south coast of Crete in the region of Rethymno, Souda Beach is a lovely sandy cove. It is found just 3 kilometres west of the popular tourist resort of Plakias. It is great for snorkelling near the surrounding rocks. The beach itself is well organised with sun loungers and umbrellas and is much less crowded than Plakias.
The nearest village to Souda Beach is Plakias.
Plakias beach is located on the Southern coast in the tourist resort of the same name. It lies 40 kilometres south of Rethymno. This beach is just a beautiful example of a vibrant beach offering soft sand, clean waters and all the facilities to make an enjoyable beach experience. Sun beds, umbrellas, various water sports including diving excursions and diving lessons are offered. Sea front tavernas and beach bars line the beach meeting the needs of hungry and thirsty visitors. The eastern part of the beach is kept for nudists.
The nearest village is Plakias.
Matala is one of the most famous beaches of Greece and is found on the south coast of the Heraklion region. The beach of Matala is situated within an area of unique natural beauty. It is a spectacular setting surrounded by caves or tombs cut out of the rock. The caves were created as a Roman and Byzantine cemetery, and during the 60's and 70’s became the temporary home to peace loving hippies who sought refuge from the materialistic world.
Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin all spent time here composing their songs in the hippie era.
Famed also for several ancient shipwrecks, mainly of the Roman period, that have been discovered here, the beach is very popular. The beach itself has light golden sand with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire. The swimming and snorkelling are brilliant and for divers there are underwater remains of the Roman port on both sides of the rocks.
The nearest village to Matala Beach is Matala.
Vai Beach, of Bounty chocolate TV ad fame, offers palm trees, soft golden sand, and clear turquoise water to give it that Caribbean island feel. It is 25 kilometres east of Sitia in the far eastern coast of the region of Lassithi. The beach and surrounding palm forest is simply stunning. The exotic nature of this area attracts thousands of visitors, which can make it very crowded during the high season.
The beach is well organised and has been awarded a blue flag. The surrounding rocky hills to the north and south along with a rocky islet nearby are ideal for snorkelling. There is also a scuba diving club at the beach.
The nearest village to Vai Beach is Paleokastro.
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