Agia Galini Beach
Agia Galini is one of the most popular seaside resorts of southern Rethymnon, situated next to the exit of the Platys River. This small town is bustling with life during the summer months and provides all the necessary touristic amenities. The natural beauty of the emerald beaches, the rugged caves in the west, the myth of Icarus and Daedalus (the cave of Daedalus and Icarus is 20 meters away from the apartment), the memories of the hippies and the tranquility of the sea, have made this village a favorite destination for thousands of visitors. The beach of Agia Galini contains many tavernas and beach bars. The sea in the area is almost always calm.
The part of the beach near the port is very well organized and provides all the necessary amenities. It has fine pebbles and cold water, due to the river Platys or Amarianos which is located 200m east of the port. In the area near the river, ruins of an ancient temple of Artemis have been identified.
If you cross the river (there is a metal bridge), you will find the second beach which extends further 1km to the east. The beach has small pebbles and is less organized.
Next to it, there is the camping site of Agia Galini. As you walk eastwards, the beach becomes narrower and rockier. You can walk (1.5-2 hours) to Kokkinos Pyrgos. This beach, in which there is no access by road, is popular to nudists. It is totally unorganized, thus make sure you have food, water or umbrellas with you.
Agios Georgios Beach
The valley of Agios Georgios is located 7 km west of Agia Galini. There are two small bays with wonderful pebbly beaches, which are separated by a rocky shore. The weather here is almost always very mild, making the beaches ideal for swimming all year round. To access the beaches of Agios Georgios, you can follow the asphalt – paved road leading here from Agia Galini to Agios Pavlos. Moreover, there are boats running from Agia Galini to Agios Georgios. Although the area is not developed, on the east beach, which is called Lichnistis, there are a few rooms, a tavern and umbrellas.
Kokkinos Pyrgos Beach
Kokkinos Pirgos is located 67km west of Heraklion and 11 km away from Agia Galini. In Kokkinos Pirgos you will find many hotels, rooms, restaurants and cafes. In front of the village, there is a very long sandy beach. This long beach hosts several loggerhead sea turtles (Carretta carretta) that lay their eggs in the sand during summer. The beach of Kokkinos Pirgos is open to the west winds. The eastern part of the beach, is named Katalyki. Katalyki is a very well organized beach with umbrellas, sunbeds, lifeguards and water sports. There is a seaside road running along the coast with many cafes and restaurants, making this popular for a drink. The climate of the region is generally warm and many locals deal with growing fresh vegetables in greenhouses.
Paximadia (Island) Beach
Paximadia Islands are two small uninhabited islets off the Gulf of Messara, 12km (7.5 miles) south of Agia Galini. By far they seem like a single island because they are very close, but they are two separate islets, the Big and Small Paximadi.Almost nobody knows that there are beaches on Paximadia, since they are thought to be two large dry rocks in the sea. The east (small) Paximada hosts four magnificent tiny beaches with crystal clear waters and fantastic pebbles on the easternmost island.
Paximadia can be accessed by excursion boats, running from Kokkinos
Pirgos and Agia Galini .
Agios Pavlos Beach
The coastal village of Agios Pavlos (St. Paul) is located 23 km west of Agia Galini. You can access the area by driving from the village Sachtouria. It’s a peaceful place, well-hidden in a sheltered bay, which is ideal for quiet family holidays. The bay has a beautiful beach with green deep waters and magnificent rocky seabed. Near the beach you can find a few rooms and taverns. Moreover, basic services are provided on the beach, such as umbrellas, sunbeds and pedal boats.
Matala is located 68km southwest of Heraklion and 28 km away from Agia Galini. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of south Heraklion prefecture. It is famous for the carved caves in the rocks and the hippies of the ‘70s. Matala is located at the exit of a small valley, which forms an enclosed bay with nice view to the islands of Paximadia. There is a beautiful sandy beach, 300m long, with fine gravel and crystal clear deep water. Moreover, the seabed is quite rocky in some places (especially in the central part of the bach) and waves are common, due to frequent west winds. Furthermore, there is a huge cave on the north part of the beach, from the top of which some people dive. The beach is very well organized with umbrellas, toilets, showers, lifeguard, first aids, beach volley courts, snack bars, water sports, excursion boats, a camping site, etc. Around Matala you will find many options for accommodation, entertainment and eating. In the evenings, the bars on the beach are full with many people, both locals and foreigners.
Especially in June, the internationally renowned Matala Festival takes place.
THE HIPPIE CAVES OF MATALA
The most famous feature of the area are the many graves of the Roman and the Christian Era, carved in the soft white limestone thousands of years ago in the northwest walls of the bay. Many of them have rooms, stairs, beds or windows, suggesting that they were once used as residences. The hippies of the ’60s and ’70s found their paradise in these caves, when they visited and stayed in Matala. Hippies expressed themselves freely, enjoyed love and creation. Around that time there was absolutely nothing in the area, so the sense of freedom was unlimited. In recent decades, the region has faced a rapid development and does not remind anything of the atmosphere of the past. Today you will see thousands of people, enjoying swimming on the beach, surrounded by modern hotels and talking about the lost past times. The caves are open to visitors as an archaeological site, but it’s forbidden to stay there overnight.
Plakias is a popular tourist resort, located 47 km from Agia Galini . Next to it empties the river Kotsifos. One of the major growth drivers of the region is the long beachfront, known as Gialia. It is a well organized beach, with cool green waters. Along the beach there is a road, ideal for walking or cycling. Along this road there are several restaurants and hotels, while on the beach there are tamarisk trees, umbrellas, water sports, beach volley courts, snack bars, changing rooms, showers, etc. The eastern part of the long beach is called Paligremnos. The beach is sandy and very well organized, next to hotels and restaurants. Characteristic of Paligremnos are nearby vertical cliffs that rise to a great height that attract many climbers. In Paligremnos a strange phenomenon takes place on every full moon, from September to January. The moonlight is reflected in the mirror-like towering cliffs. Thus, many big squids approach the beach and locals gather them with big sticks. The main beach of Plakias is located between Paligremnos and Plakias village. It is very well-organized, just like Paligremnos.
Preveli is located about 10km east of Plakias and 47 km away from Agia Galini . Beach of Preveli, also known as Lake Preveli or Phoenix, is located at the exit of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge, where the Great River (Megas Potamos) flows. It is one of the most famous beaches in south Crete, accepting thousands of visitors every summer. On the banks of the Grand River there is a large colony of palm trees, which give the region a sense of a tropical landscape. The river, forming a small lake, 500m long, before emptying into the sea, has water all year round. You can walk along the river, under the shade of palm trees and other trees, and start ascending in the beautiful canyon. You can swim in the cold ponds formed in the gorge. A big fire in 2010 burnt almost everything of this paradise, but paradoxically the palmgrove recovered most of its damage. At the exit of the river, a sandy beach with pebbles and sand is formed, with sea water being very cool due to the river. In the eastern part of the beach, there is a beautiful rock reminding of a heart. The beach is not well organized because the area is protected, without any umbrellas.
You have two basic options for accessing Preveli, from the west or east. The first option is to drive from Plakias to the Monastery Preveli, following the relevant signs. 1.5km after the Kato Monastery of Preveli, you will stop at a large parking lot, where a path that descends to the beach starts. The parking is located near towering vertical cliffs, west of the beach, where you can take some fantastic photographs. To reach the beach walk the footpath that takes about 15-20 minutes. However, return is tedious as the ascent is rather steep. To avoid the difficult climb, you can alternatively drive in the dirt road leading to nearby Drimiskiano Amoudi and walk the short path that leads to Preveli in just 5 minutes. However, you won’t have the chance to see the spectacular view from the tall cliffs on the west side. Lastly, there are small boats running to Preveli from Agia Galini and Plakias.
Triopetra is located about 52km south of Rethymno and 30 km away from Agia Galini. It can be accessed by car, through paved roads that start either from Akoumia or Sachtouria. Triopetra lies in the central part of a long beachfront, called Akoumiani Gialia. The first beach, known as Small Triopetra , is located in a closed sandy and rocky bay, south of the three rocks.. On the beach there are a few rooms and taverns, and umbrellas are offered. The area also hosts a small harbor, in the southeast part of the beach. Be careful if it is a windy day, the conditions there are terrible.
The main beach of Triopetra, West Triopetra is formed west of the rocks and extends to the west for some kilometers before the beach of Ligres. The beach has beautiful coarse sand and nice water colors. Its west-orientation makes it vulnerable to the western winds and high waves, but also famous for its fantastic sunset. The east part of the beach is mildly organized with taverns, rooms and umbrellas, but never seems crowded. Be careful if it is a windy day, the conditions there areterrible.
Damnoni is located 5 km east of Plakias and 46 km away from Agia Galini. It is a popular tourist resort, very well developed and organized. The beach that stretches in front of the resort is a long bay with beautiful turquoise waters and coarse whitish sand. Here you will find all the services of a well organized beach such as umbrellas, snack bars, showers, changing rooms, water sports, scuba diving centre, great hotels, restaurants, one horse riding centre etc. The west end of the beach, the most organized part, has a small river with water almost all year round. The east end of the beach is quieter and is linked with the adjacent beaches of Ammoudaki. Moreover, beyond the west end of the beach there are several small coves with sand and rocks, where you can get isolated. These are located just next to the small harbor of the area.