Thinking of booking a trip to Agia Marina on Crete? Here’s what to expect from this lively beach resort near Chania.
Where is it?
What’s the vibe like?
Agia Marina is part of the main beach resort area west of Chania. From here to Kolymbari the beach resorts are linked by regular bus. The busiest part is Stalos-Agia-Marina-Platanias where the main road runs slightly inland and forms one big long strip. The areas on either side of the main road are packed with hotels and apartments. There is a highway further inland.
Agia Marina has a rocky headland at its centre that splits the beach in two – to the east is a beautiful golden sand beach which becomes Stalos, and to the west is a mix of sand and shingle which eventually becomes Platanias.
Of all of the main beach resorts near Chania, the beach at Agia Marina/Stalos is the sandiest.
The resort is compact and walkable and has a lively atmosphere with plenty of family-friendly amenities. It’s perfect for a relaxed and easy break where you can stay right by the beachfront and just walk one block back in the evening to the main strip which is dense with businesses and traffic (it can feed a bit crowded in peak summer).
It practically blends into Platanias where there’s a wider range of shops and restaurants, and Chania is a short bus ride away.
What’s the beach like?
Agia Marina beach is a tale of two halves.
The eastern beach (towards Stalos) has rich soft golden sand. It’s quite narrow and packed with sun loungers belonging to relaxed beach cafes like Ammos & Ilios.
At the tip of the headland, opposite the uninhabited island Theodorou, you’ll find some of the nicest sand as well as some large flat rocks and the Cabana Mare Beach Club and Elia Beach Cafe.
As you head west the beach becomes more shingly. There are a number of small breakwaters to protect the beach from big waves. This is a busy section of beach with lots of tavernas and cafes right on the beach plus watersports and lifeguards.
Activities and amenities
Agia Marina is a bustling family-friendly resort with lots of activities on offer. There are plenty of watersports at the beach, from inflatables to kayak and paddleboard hire to parasailing.
It has a wide range of amenities for tourists – along the strip you’ll find souvenir shops, mini-markets, car and ATV rentals, pharmacies, boutiques, and ATMs. There’s also mini golf and play equipment for small children.
Restaurants are a mix of Greek, fast food, and international. There are relaxed beach cafes plus several bars on the main strip – you’ll be able to find sports, pool and cocktails. For more choice, it’s only a short walk to Platanias.
There are several tour agencies that can help you with transfers, rentals, Greek nights, water park trips, activities and excursions around the island. A wide number of excursions are available, some of the most popular excursions are Balos beach, Elafonisi beach, Falassarna beach, Samaria Gorge hike, Knossos tour, and a one-day trip to Santorini.
Free transfers are available for Chania’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
There’s a tourist train which connects the main beach resorts with some of the attractions in the area (mostly up in the hills). Note that it doesn’t run into Chania itself.
Agia Marina’s old village is up in the hills behind the highway – it has a folklore museum and some walking trails.
Transport and accessibility
From the airport:
Agia Marina is a 30-minute drive from Chania International Airport.
Prices for a private airport transfer to Agia Marina are around €40.
Agia Marina is on the Chania City Bus route to Kolymbari which runs from the city to the beach resorts along the west coast – see the Chania Bus website for timetables.
However, the bus leaves from the main KTEL bus station – not the main city bus stop.
The buses are bendy buses and are frequent throughout the day, especially in July and August, but they do get very busy – especially at the end of the day and early evening.
There are multiple bus stops along the main road in Agia Marina. You can buy tickets on board but it’s cheaper to buy them before you get on at either the Chania bus station or any kiosk/mini-market near the bus stop.
The regional KTEL coach from Chania to Kissamos (the port for Balos) also passes through Agia Marina although less frequently.
To reach the airport by bus you’ll have to change at Chania.
Agia Marina is flat unless you’re going right up into the hills behind the highway where there are a few villas.
There are some places you can drive right up to the beach on the western side but parking is limited unless it’s included in your accommodation.
The pavements here are in good condition for Greece with some tactile paving.
Prices in Agia Marina are average (or slightly below) for Crete. Accommodation is good value – it’s a good place to look for good-value comfortable hotels if you want a sandy beach resort near Chania.
Where to stay
There’s a big package tourism presence here but also plenty of family-run traditional hotels and studios a short walk from the beach.
Agia Marina has plenty of 4-star beachfront hotels:
- Vergina Beach Hotel (our pick)
- Giannoulis Santa Marina Plaza Luxury Boutique Hotel (adults-only)
- Thalassa Beach Resort (adults-only)
- Atlantic Amalthia Beach Hotel (adults-only)
- Elia Agia Marina
On a budget? There’s a wide range of simple rooms and studios available – check Booking.com.
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Image credits: All images © The Mediterranean Traveller