In the south, almost 70 kilometers from Heraklio is found one of the most famous beaches in Greece, Matala. It was widely known during the 60’s and the 70’s that a camping site turned to hippie colony was located here in the ravines and the caves near the settlement. Nowadays, there is nothing to remind of those times but the beauty of the landscape that remains the same. Despite its length (300 m) but because of its reputation it gets easily crowded, so try no to get disappointed if your plans change when you get there. There are plenty of other beaches to accommodate you nearby.
Another overcrowded northern beach along the national road Heraklio - Agios Nikolaos. Despite the advent of mass tourism Malia still remains a beautiful destination for swimming and nightlife. Of course, it is organized so you can rent parasols and deck chairs. Stroll along the seaside to meet friends; that is what everybody else does.
Amoudara (ammos means sand) is a nice touristplace near Heraklion. The water of the sea is clean, the sandy beach is soft, the food in the restaurants is delicious, the people are very friendly. Along the main road you can find lots of shops, bars and restaurants, there are big stylish hotels, which offer most of the time a splendid view to the sea.
Located approximately 20 kilometers West from Heraklio, along the national road Heraklion -Rerthimno, the beaches of Agia Pelagia attract vacationers and families for decades now. They are clean and seldom crowded, unaffected by the strong northern winds; at the local taverns you can experience the excellent Cretan cuisine.
Located in one the best Cretan resorts of the North and birthplace of famous painter Domenicus Theotocopoulos, or El Greco, the beach of Fodele promises endless hours of summer fun to vacationers. Apart from being clean, long, sandy and beautiful it also attracts the friends of windsurfing and other popular beach sports. Nightlife is quite intense here, so be prepared.
An equivalent to Punta Beach in Paros and Super Paradise in Mykonos is for Crete the Hersonissos area; it is a youth colony, reserved for wind surfers and swimmers in the morning and partygoers during the night. Two water fun parks for the kids but also tens of cafes and nightclubs for teenagers promise endless hours of entertainment.
Under the shadow of the castle of Paleokastro, almost 15 kilmeters from Heraklio, is located one of the prettiest Cretan beaches of the north; the view of the fort is magnificent and the water experience unforgettable. In case you get hungry, there are plenty of fresh seafood restaurants nearby