Falasarna Beach: Guide to Crete’s Best Sunset Beach

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Falasarna Beach is huge. It is long and wide with nice, clear water and actual soft sand (never a given in Greece). And since it faces west Falasarna Beach sunsets are some of the best to be had. Nonetheless, it plays a distinct second fiddle to nearby Balos Beach among visitors to the northwestern part of Crete.

Falasarna Beach at sunset

I mean, I get it, Balos Beach is gorgeous, one of the most picturesque beaches in Europe, if you’re asking my opinion. But it is also kind of tricky to access, doesn’t have much for facilities, and space is limited, especially when the boat tours float in.

Falasarna Beach, however, has more than enough space for everyone, making it one of the best beaches in Crete for families, plus there are historic ruins and a whole string of terrific seafood tavernas along the oceanfront. You can also drive right up to the beach on a decent road and there is plenty of parking. From above you’ll see a lot of greenhouses that have popped up in recent years but once you make it to the beach they aren’t really that noticeable.

Falasarna Beach from above
Falasarna Beach from above

Plus, don’t get the wrong idea, Falasarna is still a very pretty beach, with an ancient harbour and big stretch of sand backed by a tall plateau dropping sharply down to the ocean (which provides a very dramatic entrance). It’s just not quite “Balos Beach pretty”.

Of course, the variable spelling can be annoying, although probably not as much for you as for someone like me trying to write about it. You can safely call it Falassarna Beach or even Phalasarna Beach and no one will know the difference. Or how about Phalassarna? You choose, no wrong answers.

Where is Falasarna Beach?

Falasarna Beach is tucked away in the farther northwestern corner of Crete. It is a short drive from the relatively small city of Kissamos (also called Kastelli) but is also only an hour or so from Chania.

Car parked on Falasarna Beach road
Road to Falasarna Beach

Falasarna Beach Map

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Falasarna Bay

Even though the entire beach area is often called Falasarna Beach, there are actually many different beaches in row along Falasarna Bay. The main Falasarna Beach is basically right in the middle, with smaller, more secluded beaches available toward either end of the bay. There are also some sheltered, rocky coves and several impressive viewpoints.

Falasarna Beach

Although it is generally just known as Falasarna Beach, the main section is also known as Pachia Ammos (Coarse Sand). Which I guess is accurate but compared to all the pebble beaches around Crete the fact it is sand at all feels pretty luxurious.

Fine sand on Falasarna Beach

The sheer size of Falasarna Beach means it never feels overly crowded, even when all the summer tourists roll in. It is part of a protected Natura 2000 area with a lot of fascinating flora and fauna. There are rolling sand dunes, rocky coves and even some olive groves. It even has a few areas of pink sand, one of just three beaches on Crete that enjoy this strange phenomenon (along with Balos Beach and Elafonisi Beach).

Pink sand at Falasarna Beach

You can participate in almost any type of water sports on Falasarna Beach. It gets a fair bit of wind and has especially good conditions for windsurfing, although dive companies also head a bit farther out for some excellent, good-visibility scuba diving. There are also some ideal, calm spots protected by rocks for snorkelling at the south end of the beach near the sand dunes.

There are beach volleyball courts, umbrellas, sunbeds, toilets and snack bars (as well as several tavernas at the south end). Meanwhile, if you head to the far northern end there is an unofficial nudist section with no facilities and very few people.

Facing west and with impressive mountains at either end, Falasarna Beach boasts some of the best sunsets on Crete.

Person watching Falasarna Beach sunset
Watching the sunset at Falassarna Beach

How long is Falassarna beach?

The main section of beach known as Falassarna Beach or Pachia Ammos is one kilometre long and roughly 150 metres wide. There are also several more small beaches around Falasarna Beach if you are looking for more seclusion.

Check out our complete list of The Best Beaches on Crete

Karkatsouli Beach

Continuing on north past the nudist area, you can make your way through some rocks, dune and bushes to reach this fantastic little sandy beach with a steep drop-off just offshore.

View to Falasarna Beach

There are some basic facilities here – umbrellas, sunbed, snack bar and lifeguards in high season. You can also walk a little way up the hill inland to get to Galasia Thea taverna, a superb place for lunch or just a drink.

Small Beach / Petalida Beach

Next is Small Beach, featuring a gorgeous stretch of sand that is short but surprisingly wide. It can be found just in front of the Petalida and Falasarna Bay hotels.

Rocky Falasarna Beach

North Beach / Agia Paraskevi Beach / Baby Beach

A little bit farther north is (wouldn’t you know it?) North Beach, although it sports several different names like so many places do in Crete. One practical and geographical, one in honour of the little church on the nearby hill and one… I don’t actually know.

Small white church

Is “baby” a size reference? Or a suggested clientele? Could be, as there is a nice, shallow protected area at the south end of this fine sand beach that is perfect for kids.

Beach chairs at Falassarna Beach

Either way, asking for any of the three should get you there (incidentally, it is listed as Baby Beach Falasarna on Google Maps).

There are sunbeds and umbrellas for rent and several small tavernas/beach bars to keep you fed and hydrated (Alea, Orange Blue, Golden Sunset).

Clear water at Falassarna Beach
Falasarna Beach restaurant with ocean views
Golden Sunset taverna

And if Baby Beach still isn’t secluded enough for you, just keep walking north and you’ll come to a rocky pool with a few abandoned fishing boats, then several more empty little coves further on.

Livadi Beach

At the south end by the tavernas there is another sandy stretch known as Livadi Beach or Limni Beach, which is fairly long and sandy but the seabed is quite rocky so it helps to have swimming shoes.

Table at Falasarna Beach restaurants
Meal with a view at Captain Nicolas

It is surrounded by swampy wetlands that attract a lot of birds in winter.

Pink Sand Beach

The last beach of the batch is just beyond Livadi Beach. While variably visible depending on the level of the tide, you should be able to find a small patch of pink sand here (in the right light).

Beer at Falasarna Beach

Falasarna Village

Falasarna village isn’t much of a village at all – really just a small collection of hotels and restaurants following the main road down from Kissamos. There are also a couple of shops selling basic supplies and an ATM in case you get stuck.

Where to Stay: The Best Falasarna Hotels

There is a decent range of Falasarna Beach Hotels with options that should fit most price ranges.

Petras Resort

At Petras Resort you can choose from rooms with a sea view and pool access up to a deluxe apartment with its own private pool. All units are self catering if you want to have a meal in. You are up the hill from the beach so the views are impressive and the sunsets are even more so while still only being a 5 minute drive away.

Click here for Petras Resort prices

Falassarna Beach Studios & Apartments

Just inland from child friendly Baby Beach, Falassarna Beach Studios & Apartments are a great choice if you are looking for a bit more room as well as a well stocked kitchenette.

Falasarna Beach hotels

Many of the rooms have a beautiful sea view and you are less than a 1-minute walk to the beach.

View from room at Falasarna Beach hotels

There is also a handy small supermarket on site as well as a couple excellent tavernas just steps away.

Click here for Falassarna Beach Studios & Apartments prices

Avenue Hotel Falassarna

If you are looking for something more economical, Avenue Hotel Falassarna is a good choice. It is a bit farther from the beach but is conveniently located near a bakery, supermarket and 2 good tavernas nearby. It would be best if you had a car when staying here but is excellent value for money.

Click here for Avenue Hotel Falassarna prices

Things to Do Near Falasarna Beach Crete

If you have a car there are plenty of things to do near Falasarna Beach.

You might also want to check out Kissamos: Gateway to Crete’s Most Famous Beaches

Wander the Ruins of Ancient Falassarna

As far back as the 4th century BC, Ancient Falassarna served as the main port of the city-state of Polyrrhenia (inland near Kissamos). Also known as Korykos, Ancient Falassarna is just a kilometre north of Falasarna Beach and is very much in ruins these days. Excavations are ongoing but it is possible to see bits and pieces of the acropolis, tombs, houses and partially standing walls.

Falasarna Beach ruins

In its heyday, Ancient Falassarna was a formidable city-state on its own, with its own coins and a temple to the goddess Diktynna. Eventually the combination of constant war and frequent earthquakes led to the its downfall, though. They tried their hand at piracy for awhile but it didn’t really pan out and eventually, in 67 BC, the Romans destroyed the city.

Then, much of what was left was dealt a further blow in 365 AD when it took the brunt of another earthquake, plus a tsunami, just for good measure. Ancient Falasarna did not have an easy go of it, I guess is the point.

Check Out Poseidon’s Throne

Unobtrusively located right next to the road on the way to the main ruins, you’ll find the “Throne of Falasarna”, more commonly known as Poseidon’s Throne. There is some disagreement about whether it was built to honour Astarte, the rather ambiguous Phoenician goddess, or Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

Stone chair

At this point it makes very little difference, though, and it makes for an easy photo op, if not exactly mesmerizing.

Head to Balos Beach

Up in the extreme northwestern corner of Crete, you’ll find Balos Beach, the most photographed beach in all of Crete. It can only be reached via rough dirt road or on a boat tour but is still well worth the journey for the spectacular viewpoints and beautiful turquoise water.

Balos Beach Crete

What sets Balos Beach apart, however, is the narrow sandy isthmus connecting mainland Crete to tiny Cape Tigani. This isthmus divides the area into a warm, shallow lagoon on one side (south) and a relatively sheltered bay on the other (north).

You can drive to Balos Beach on a very rough road or take a cruise from Kissamos. The boats run between June to mid October and sometimes stop at Gramvousa Island as well.

You may also want to check out our Ultimate Guide to Balos Beach

Visit the Ruins of Polyrrhenia

Just a short drive south from Kissamos are the ancient ruins of this important ancient city. At their peak around the 3rd century BC, the Polyrrhenians controlled the entire western portion of Crete and maintained most of their independence even through the Roman empire.

View from Polyrrhenia ruins

Today, you can explore the remains of houses and a village, along with a Roman aqueduct and then climb up to enjoy exceptional views from the ramparts of the old fortress and city walls. There is also a much newer, but still photogenic, little church.

Church at Polyrrhenia ruins

Visit the Isolated Kokkina Gkremna Beach

Found just off the main highway heading toward Sfinari Beach (and eventually Elafonisi Beach), this pretty, quiet little beach is almost always empty and enjoys a picturesque spot in a steeply walled bay.

Crete beach

The rough dirt road to reach it offers up phenomenal views but is probably better suited to vehicles with a bit of clearance (as opposed to our little rental car which successfully navigated it but probably would have been better spared the experience). There is a scenic little church about halfway down where you could park and walk down the last 10 minutes.

Car on dirt road
On the road to Kokkina Gkremna Beach

Go for a Hike at Sfinari Beach

Sfinari Beach is yet another outstanding little pebble beach featuring a couple of relaxed, friendly tavernas and some nicely tree-shaded areas. We can highly recommend a swim, a beer and lunch at Sunset Fish, although the other taverna looked very nice as well.

Beer at Sfinari beach

Before you get full and lazy, however, you should take on the hike up and over the hill to the extremely secluded Platanakia Beach. A trail heads up the hill from the south end of the Sfinari Beach, providing amazing views from the top before heading steeply down the other side.

The hike will probably take about an hour each way. It is not for those who really dislike steep, slippery paths, however.

Explore the Agia Sofia Cave

This impressive spiritual cave was a surprising hidden gem for us. Not hidden in that it was hard to find, of course, as it is located right on the main road through Topolia Gorge between Paleochora and Kissamos. But hidden in that we hadn’t really heard anything about it before randomly decided to stop when we saw the sign.

Stair to Agia Sofia cave

We were very glad we did, though, because it is super cool, to use the technical term. The entrance is huge, providing more light than you normally get in a cave, and it is full of massive stalagmites and stalactites that you can wander around. There is also a small church just outside and a fascinating little shrine inside.

Entrance of Agia Sofia Cave

Some important archaeological discoveries were made in Agia Sofia cave, as well, including pottery from the Neolithic Age up to the Romans, plus an intriguing clay figurine dating back to the 4th century BC.

When to Go: Falasarna Beach Weather

Like most of Crete, Falasarna Beach enjoys a very mild climate year-round thanks to the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. Summers are warm (some would say hot) with almost no rain. Most precipitation comes in the winter months, although that is still pretty minimal compared with many coastal cities.

Crete is one of the most southerly islands in Europe and compared to most of the continent the weather remains bearable all year, with the daily average temperature in Falasarna Beach only dropping as far as 10 / 12 (low/high) in January, although pretty much everything in Falasarna shuts down between November and April. The beach itself is always open, though.

Falasarna Beach chairs

Falasarna Crete tends to receive a lot of wind from the west, making it popular with windsurfers. It also gets very crowded in July and August so it is best to visit in the shoulder seasons if possible. May-June and September-October are perfect for good weather and fewer tourists. It will also be far less crowded early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

How to Get to Falasarna Beach Crete

By Car

Falasarna Beach Crete is easily accessible by car with a decent (but winding) paved road leading directly to it. Public transportation on west Crete can be tedious so we highly recommend renting a car so you reach all the best spots. Plus, it is nice to be able to set your own schedule. We find that Discover Cars usually has the best deals in the area.

Driving Times to Falasarna, Crete

Kissamos to Falasarna Beach: 15 km / 20 min

Kokkina Gremna Beach to Falasarna Beach: 12 km / 25 min

Sfinari Beach to Falasarna Beach: 15 km / 25 min

Polyrrehnia to Falasarna Beach: 20 km / 35 min

Agia Sofia Cave to Falasarna Beach: 30 km / 45 min

Balos Beach to Falasarna Beach: 20 km / 1 hr

Chania to Falasarna Beach: 50 km / 1 hr

Elafonisi Beach to Falasarna Beach: 50 km / 1.25 hrs

Rethymno to Falasarna Beach: 110 km / 1.75 hrs

Heraklion to Falasarna Beach: 190 km / 2.5 hrs

Agios Nikolaos to Falasarna Beach: 250 km / 3.5 hrs

Falasarna Beach Parking

Falasarna Beach has a huge, spacious parking lot just back from the beach so you shouldn’t have to worry about finding a spot other than on the few busiest days of summer. All of the smaller beaches in the area also have their own parking areas, although these are typically also much smaller so it pays to get there early (especially on weekends).

Falasarna Beach sunset
Sunset view from the Falassarna Beach parking lot

By Bus

Unlike many beaches on Crete, it is possible to reach Falasarna Beach using public transportation. From May to October, KTEL buses run between Chania and Falasarna Beach, taking about 1.5 hrs.

The actual starting and ending dates vary each year based on weather an demand. Normally, though, the bus runs 4 times per day in the shoulder seasons and 6 times per day in July and August.

Other Gorgeous Beaches Around Crete

If you love Falasarna Beach, you should probably check out some of the other famous beaches on Crete.

Elafonisi Beach

Rivalling Balos Beach for sheer beauty, Elafonisi Beach is tucked away in the southwestern corner of Crete about an hour from Kissamos.

Turquoise water and the Elafonisi pink sand beach in Crete

The narrow, pink sand isthmus separates two great beaches and shallow swimming areas, features sand dunes and leads to an island with caves, a church and phenomenal views.

Have a look at Elafonisi Beach: Is it Worth Visiting?

Seitan Limania

Not far from the major city of Chania, Seitan Limania features a small but incredibly photogenic rocky gorge leading to a miniscule beach sheltered by tall cliffs on each side.

Seitan Limani Crete

It only gets a few hours of sun each day but is worth a visit for the view from the top alone (although we would highly recommend taking on the rugged 10-minute descent to explore more closely).

Find out how to visit at Seitan Limania: Guide to Crete’s Most Unique Beach

Preveli Beach

Small tour boats offer day cruises to see the lovely and rather famous Preveli Beach. Home to one of two magnificent palm forests on Crete, popular Preveli Beach is one of the most beautiful and photogenic spots on the entire island.

River and palms at Preveli Beach Crete

The palm forest is hemmed in by steep cliffs and from above you can see the trees, the river, the beach and the lagoon that splits the beach in two.

For more info, check out: Preveli Beach: How to See Crete’s Spectacular Palm Forest

Matala Beach

Another beach that started out as a hippie enclave, today Matala Beach still retains much of that relaxed vibe.

View over Matala Beach Crete

With a nice, sheltered bay ringed by welcoming tavernas, the west end of the beach features sandstone cliffs filled with ancient caves. They are worth exploring (€2 per person) for both the historic implications and the interesting views.

For more details, see Matala Beach: Crete’s Original Hippie Village

Vai Beach

Relatively few tourists make it to all the way to Vai Beach, located at the extreme eastern end of Crete. However, it is similar to Preveli Beach in that it is home to a large, beautiful forest of palm trees.

Palm trees at Vai Beach crete

It also has some great viewpoints in the hills surrounding the beach, as well as several secluded coves and there are even some more Minoan ruins nearby.

For more info, check out Vai Beach: Stunning Palm Forest and Ancient Ruins

Falasarna Summary

A massive beach with clear water, easy access and unforgettable sunsets, Falasarna Beach is understandably popular. However, with so much space and so many smaller alternatives nearby, it is a great place to go even in high season.

If nothing else, make sure you set aside time to enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the waterfront tavernas while the sun slowly drops below the Mediterranean.

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