The west coast of Crete consists of a few sleepy settlements and some of the animals on the beaches of the island. Drive to the village of Matala to visit one of the most popular beaches in Crete.

The island of Crete, the largest island in Greece, is located in the southern Mediterranean sea and is bordered to the south by the North Sea (Crete) and Libyan Sea. On the sand of Falasarna in the north are the ruins of an ancient Greek city, while on the smaller Elafonisi island in the south lies an azure lagoon of pink-white sand. There is no doubt that there are some secrets to the Beast beaches on the island, and they are worth a trek to reach them.

Another jewel of the Chania region is the amazing beach of Balos at the end of the Gramvousa peninsula on the coast to the far west of the island. The island of Crete is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea and covers an area of 8,939 km2. It is the largest and most mountainous of the Greek islands.

Crete as an island is as different as any Greek island in Greece, and nothing corresponds to its diverse landscape. The mountains, scattered bays and unused villages of Western Crete and its westernmost district are unrivalled. The well-developed north coast of the three largest cities is dwarfed by the incredible mountains of central Crete.

The wilder, underpopulated southern coast of Crete is the most captivating part of the island with pristine beaches and authentic villages. The coastline between Lassithi and Crete is very different, including a large bay (Mirambellos) in the sea between Lake Agios Nikolaos, sandy beaches and small and large ports to the north (Elounta, Sitia, Poro and Faneromenis). 

The rich islands around Crete are an agricultural land with better vineyards and a number of wealthy villages, but you should probably pre arrange for a taxi to Agios Nikolaos to get into the habit of pre-planning any tourist activities you want to experience, anywhere in Greece for that matter.

I love getting lost in the streets, exploring the spectacular 11 km of beaches and Venetian fortresses and eating the best food in Rethymnon in north-west Crete. With so much culture, history, beautiful beaches, picturesque Greek cities and good food, you have to choose an area that you can tackle if you only have a few days. If you only look at a piece of history, read this Crete guide to the Minoan palaces.

One of the main reasons why first-timers flock to Crete is to discover the wonders of the ancient civilizations that populated the island. The beach of Xerocampos, unknown to mass tourism, is the most secluded place in Crete.

The nearby seaside town of Malia is home to a cluster of beach bars, clubs and nightclubs, making it the place for parties in Crete. Crete travel guide Crete is a great island to visit at any time of the year. Even in the peak summer season when everyone goes to the beaches, the island has so much to offer in terms of sand and sea to help keep the mild winter climate that it is one of the few islands worth visiting all year round.