Chania is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Crete, but the name also refers to a wider beach resort area near the city. Plenty of visitors choose to stay along the coast which has easy and frequent bus links into the city, especially in the hot summer months when proximity to the sea is practically essential.
The main resort area in Chania extends west from the city all the way to Kolymbari. During the summer season, there are frequent city buses from the main KTEL bus station along the coast.
This is a quick guide to the best beach resorts near Chania (and the best beachfront hotels you’ll find there).
Nea Chora is Chania’s main town beach. It’s also the easiest to reach from the Old Town – it’s just a 15-minute walk east along the waterfront The sand is a dark golden colour and the beach has a wide promenade.
The beach is well-used by locals and has a traditional and family-friendly feel. There’s a small working harbour and marina at the northern end. Along the waterfront, you’ll find a selection of tavernas, cafes, and seafood restaurants as well as a few mini-markets and a car rental agency.
Nea Chora is a residential area but you’ll also find plenty of bargain (but basic) studios for rent as well as a few hotels right in front of the beach.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Chania Flair Deluxe Hotel (adults-only)
Read more: A Quick Guide to Nea Chora
Keep walking past Nea Chora and you’ll eventually come to Kladissos, a long pebble beach in a relatively undeveloped area backed by dunes and scrub.
This is an unorganised beach in a quiet area, popular with dog walkers, cyclists, and runners. Unfortunately, this can mean also mean litter. If you’re concerned about the litter )or the pebbles) there’s a smaller section of beach between Kladissos and Golden Beach which has fine pebbles and is home to Aptera Beach Bar.
A dirt path runs just behind the beach all along the coast – it’s a popular way to reach the sandier Golden Beach and Agii Apostopoli.
There are only a handful of places to stay here and even the closest places aren’t right on the beach but a few minutes walk.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: Domes Zeen Chania Luxury Collection
Best budget beachfront hotel: Sea View Hotel and Apartments.
Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti)
Golden Beach is only a short distance away from the city centre but feels a million miles away. With its fine wide sands and backdrop of pines, no wonder it’s popular with locals in the evenings and weekends.
The sand here is much nicer than in Nea Chora and the beach is more spacious. The trees provide welcome some welcome shade. It’s an organised beach with a beach volleyball court, changing, and a few sections of sun loungers plus a couple of cafes.
You can walk from here into the city in around 1 hour. Many people rent a bike as the path is flat but do note that it’s unlit at night. It’s a short walk from here to Agii Apostopoli.
There are no hotels right on the beachfront here but there are several laid-back hotels in the quiet blocks a short walk away.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: Forum Suites
Best budget option: Elma’s Dream Apartments
The area of Agii Apostopoli is home to some of the nicest beaches near Chania, beloved by locals. You’ll find two small sheltered coves and one long beach here, all with beautiful fine sand amongst tamarisk trees and pines.
It’s a lively family-friendly area with plenty of low-key activities – volleyball, beach tennis, playgrounds, pedalos, and kayaks. There’s a municipal car park next to Camping Chania.
The beaches are organised with lifeguards on duty. There are also several scenic beach bars.
Agii Apostopoli is a quiet place and one of the best places to stay near Chania for sandy beaches. There are a few beachfront hotels on the largest beach, Glaros, but not the coves.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Domes Noruz Chania
Best budget beach hotel: 3-star Golden Bay Hotel,
Read more: A Quick Guide to Agii Apostopoli
The far end of Glaros Beach leads to Kalamaki, an old fishing village around a jagged section of the coast with a small harbour. The busy main road runs alongside Kalamaki and there is a cluster of hotels on the other side of the main road.
There is a small beach next to the popular Kalamaki Taverna on the Glaros end, but the rest of the coast is rocky. It’s only a short stroll to Glaros though.
Kalamaki is a small place with a handful of tavernas and one mini market. The hotels here are mostly in the 3-star range or the aparthotel equivalent. Corinna Mare Suites & Studios has the best location for sea access.
Stalos is the first of a series of beach resorts along the coast west of Chania popular with international tourists staying outside the city. Of this resort area, Stalos-Agia Marina-Platanias is the busiest section.
Stalos was the first place along the coast to turn to package tourism but it still retains its many small family-run businesses and atmosphere despite plenty of euro-centric tourism (the Swedes in particular seem to love it here).
It has a laid-back feel and there are hotels and cafes/bars/restaurants right on the beach here, which is a dark golden sand.
The quieter eastern end of the beach is unorganised, mainly frequented by dog walkers, surfers and the clothing-optional fraternity. The western end of the beach merges with the busier Agia Marina.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Cretan Dream Resort & Spa
Best budget beach hotel: 3-star Theodore Boutique Hotel
Read more: A Quick Guide to Stalos
Agia Marina is sandwiched between Stalos and Platanias, although essentially they all merge into one.
It has both sand and pebble sections of beach. As with its neighbours, there is no promenade or road alongside the beach – hotels and cafes here are right on the sands. There’s a great selection of beachfront hotels here, especially in the 4-star range.
It’s family-friendly but has a lively buzz in the evening and plenty of water sports during the day.
Agia Marina is one of the best places to stay near the beach in Chania for sandy beaches, chilled beach bars, and easy access to the city or to nightlife in Platanias.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: Vergina Beach Hotel
Best budget beach hotel: Akatos Hotel, Perla Beach
Read more: A Quick Guide to Agia Marina
Platanias is the busiest and liveliest beach resort near Chania. The strip here is denser with businesses than Agia Marina and there’s lots of entertainment for both kids and adults – boxing gym, boutiques, mini golf, jet skis, and parasailing to name just a few. Platanias is the best place to stay near Chania for nightlife in the summer.
The beach is a mix of coarse grey sand and pebbles although the western end has finer pebbles with some tamarisk trees on the beach for shade. Most of the bigger resort hotels are located at this end.
There is accommodation for all budgets here.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Minoa Palace Resort
Best budget beach hotel: Lambrinos Suites
Read more: A Quick Guide to Platanias
Gerani is the quieter extension of Platanias, home to several big resort hotels. The beach is a similar mix of fine sand and pebbles but is mostly unorganised and much bigger.
It’s walkable to Platanias. There’s a handful of places to eat, shop, and drink but this is mostly all-inclusive territory.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 4-star Silver Beach Hotel & Apartments
Best budget beach hotel: Matsi Apartments
Read more: A Quick Guide to Gerani
Like Gerani, Maleme is a spread-out resort that’s home to many big all-inclusive hotels.
The beach here is unorganised and has a wild and wavy feel, ideal if you like vast and quiet beaches. Tamarisk trees provide shade.
There’s slightly more sign of life here than at Gerani though – there’s a cluster of seafront tavernas and bars.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Myrion Beach Resort & Spa
Best budget beach hotel: 3-star Maleme Mare
Read more: A Quick Guide to Maleme
Tavronitis is a quiet and functional village alongside a mostly-empty section of beach which can feel a bit scrappy in parts but at least you won’t be fighting for towel space. There are a few tavernas down by the sea.
Tavronitis is mostly residential but there are a few places to stay – a mix of villas and simple family-owned blocks of studios tucked away behind the beach. Towards the far end of the beach where it merges with Kolymbari, you’ll find a few bigger resort hotels.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star all-inclusive Euphoria Resort
Best budget beach hotel: Simple rooms at Golden Rose Suites
Read more: A Quick Guide to Tavronitis
Kolymbari is at the end of the Chania resort bus line. It’s an old fishing village with a small modern marina. It can feel a bit bleak and concrete but it has some great tavernas, walking trails nearby, and a good selection of amenities including a big supermarket and car rental.
The beach is a mix of sand and pebble and is busier than Maleme or Gerani but calmer thanks to the breakwater protecting the harbour.
Kolymbari is home to some of the best luxury beach resorts in Chania.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: 5-star Avra Imperial Hotel
Best budget beach hotel: Golden Rose Suites.
Read more: A Quick Guide to Kolymbari
Other Beaches and Beach Resorts Near Chania
If you want to visit Chania daily (or near enough) from your beach resort base then it’s best to stay in one of the above resorts due to the frequency of the bus.
However, if you’re content to chill by the beach for most of your trip and just pop into Chania once or twice then you have a few more options.
Akrotiri is the large peninsula to the northeast of Chania. It’s home to Chania International Airport but the rest of it is quiet, with some fantastic beaches (including the famous Seitan Limani) and just a few villages scattered around.
Bus routes to the Akrotiri Peninsula are scarce (i.e. one or two in each direction per day) although they do increase in the peak summer period (July to mid-September). But ideally, if you’re staying in this area you should have your own transport. There are no buses between the beaches and the airport.
- Stavros – home to the famous beach of Zorba the Greek and a popular day trip destination (pictured above). A few small resort hotels and villas nearby.
- Kalatha – a small sandy beach on the way to Stavros with one beach cafe. Some villas in the surrounding hills.
- Loutraki/Mathraki – has a range of tavernas and watersports. This is also the nearest beach resort to Chania Airport. Mostly villas.
Best luxury/boutique hotel: Isla Brown Chania Resort & Spa (Stavros, formerly Mr & Mrs White)
Best budget hotel: Zorbas Beach Village Hotel (Stavros)
For a selection of villas see VRBO.
East of Chania
The coastline east of Chania is also lined with beach resorts, although it’s not as densely developed as the west. The landscape here is hillier. These resorts are served by the KTEL regional bus route to Rethymnon (which tends to be half-hourly). The resorts here feel less like a beach suburb of Chania and all have a significant package tourism presence. Psychologically they feel further from Chania even though the travel times are similar.
The main two resorts are Kalyves and Georgioupolis.
Best beachfront hotels:
- Kiani Beach Resort Family All-Inclusive (Kalyves)
- Kalyves Beach Hotel (Kalyves)
- La Mer Resort & Spa Adults Only (Georgioupolis)
Read more about Crete:
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