With a summer season lasting well into October - September is still considered high season - and almost tropical-warmth seas at the height of summer, Crete has one of Europe's longest beach-playing and beach-sunbathing seasons. Our pick of the best beach hotels on Crete cover all options, whether you want a luxury resort or an off the beaten track seaside treat.
North and north-east coast beaches are the most popular, with Réthymno boasting the island's longest sandy beach while places such as Elounda and Agios Nikolaos have grown into sophisticated resorts. But it's worth exploring beyond these coastal areas. Vái beach, for example, on the east coast is a classic palm-tree-dotted stretch of sand - more Caribbean than Mediterranean - made famous as the setting for the classic 1970s Bounty bar advert.
Perhaps the most charming beaches are the secluded coves in the south and south-west. Some, such as Myrtos and Paleóhara still retain a hippy vibe from their 'alternative' mecca status of the '60s and '70s. Another beach worth making the effort to reach is on Elafonisi, a low-lying islet off the south-west tip and reached by a sand spit where sugary-soft sands encircle a beautiful lagoon.
So you have a choice for the best beach hotels on Crete: the bigger resorts in the north, close to some of the main towns, or more secluded and potentially quieter coves in the south.
The island offers plenty of choice, whatever your budget, but be aware that the best beach hotels on Crete get snapped up quickly - especially if they have good children’s facilities. Nothing here that hits the spot, then widen your search to include all our Crete recommendations.
A home-away-from-home deep in rural tranquility with beaches, bars and tavernas a walk away. Small collection of traditional stone cottages make perfect base for families. Self-catering and BBQ available for all. Return to simpler times at this beautiful hideaway on Crete.
A charming hamlet of 13 former shepherds cottages surrounded by olive groves and citrus trees. The self catering studios are rustic and quaint and with stunning views of the local area and sea. This authentic and secluded spot is a 15-minute walk from the beaches and local town.
A great getaway on an idyllic blue bay in a car-free village, right on the beach. Off the beaten track, this tranquil hotel is ideal for a simple seaside holiday for families. Boasting unspoilt bay views, life plays out on a different tempo here. Utterly relaxing.
Families with children of all ages love this stylish, family-run hotel that hides itself on a quiet street just moments away from the beach in a low-key village resort. Cool rooms with canopied beds appeal to romantic couples too.
Agios Nikolaos, Crete
Set in an out-of-this-world location right on the Cretan seafront. A collection of understated luxury rooms and bungalows elegantly decorated with simple white walls and furnishings and minimalist artworks. Excellent mediterranean dishes are served up in the restaurants. Ideal for totally relaxing.
Opulent resort of five hotels in one on a private peninsula. Highly discreet, with striking designs, each hotel different. Plenty of suites and private villas with pools. Seven restaurants. The resort is popular with wealthy Russians and others.
A modern North Western Crete resort and spa, surrounded by acres of lush landscaped gardens. The modern rooms boast private balconies overlooking the bay, gardens or pool. There are many dining options from Greek to Italian and the four bars serve up wonderful cocktails.
A vast contemporary beach resort with all the trimmings, lush grounds, four pools and private beach area. Rooms mirror the outdoors, blue and breezy, some suites come with terraces and pools. Enjoy the many dining options, good spa and lots of activities - tennis, water sports and nearby nightlife.
Luxury resort with lots to offer families with children of all ages, but not overrun by kids. On a long stretch of sandy best close to Rethymnon – Crete's cutest town - Caramel is around an hour from Heraklion and Chania airports.
Impressive luxury resort, totally insulated from the outside world in semi-tropical gardens. Large rooms offer mountain views or sea views from the large glass windows. Suites have private pools. An epic choice of restaurants and bars. Lovely beaches, ideal for a romantic break or family holiday.
A stunning hotel and spa resort on Mirabello Bay with its own private beach and dreamy views. Seamless rooms and suites with creamy furnishings, all the modern gadgetry, balconies, some with private pools. Three excellent restaurants, salt water pools and extensive spa. Luxurious.
Luxury beach resort just minutes from Agios Nikolaos. Sumptuous suites and villas with cool contemporary interiors and fabulous sea views, and many with their own private pool. Private sandy beach, and fantastic facilties for all the family including luxury spa and kids club.