There are hundreds of beautiful beaches around the island of Crete, each one with its own particular charm and features. Some feature fine sand and go on for kilometers, while others are hidden away inside secluded coves along the coast. Agios Pavlos is a rather remote, yet splendid beach on the southern coast of Crete, about 60 km south of Rethymno. A lot more peaceful than the beaches of the northern coast, Agios Pavlos is located inside a small bay surrounded by rocky capes, while you can also find a larger beach to the west known as Alatsogremni.
The two beaches are separated by the picturesque Cape Melissa. If you prefer a more secluded and uncrowded destination in Crete, then Agios Pavlos might be the perfect choice, with a few accommodation options nearby. Below you can find the most important information about this destination and what you can experience in the area.
Where is Agios Pavlos
Agios Pavlos is located on the southern coast of Crete, in the region of Rethymno and about 60 km south from the city of Rethymno. It can be found between the areas of Plakias and Agia Galini, being accessed from the village of Saktouria along a mountain road. You can hire a car from Heraklion that is located about 93 km to the northeast. There are several other superb beaches in the area and you can also find a few hotels and taverns in the vicinity of the beach.
How to Get to Agios Pavlos
Getting to Agios Pavlos by Car
Agios Pavlos can be reached by car from the main cities of Crete on the northern coast, crossing the island over the mountains. On the way, you will encounter some exceptional landscapes and remote traditional villages. The best option is to get to Agios Pavlos with a car rental Rethymno or Heraklion.
The fastest route is to drive to the southwest across the island up to Agia Galini and then continue west through Saktouria. The trip will take almost two hours, while the second option is to drive to Rethymno and then head south, but it will take a little longer.
Getting to Agios Pavlos by Bus
There are no direct buses that reach Agios Pavlos from either Heraklion or Rethymno, the only options being to reach the village of Saktouria by bus from Rethimno and then find someone to take you to the beach, but this will take a long time. Considering the disadvantages, it is a lot better to just rent a car.
Getting to Agios Pavlos by Boat
To reach Agios Pavlos by boat, you need to get to Agia Roumeli. That can be done with the ferry from Paleochora, which is a 90-minute trip one way. The ferry runs from May to the end of October. You can also catch the ferry from Chora Sfakion and Loutro.
The hike from Agia Roumeli to Agios Pavlos is difficult and long. It is a rough 90-minute hike and it is not suggested for novice walkers/hikers.
What to do in Agios Pavlos
A secluded and idyllic beach located on the Libyan Sea coast of Crete, Agios Pavlos or Saint Paul is not known by many travelers, which adds to its charm and peacefulness. While the small beach of Agios Pavlos is located in a protected bay between the rocky Cape Melissa and another cape.
Here, you can admire some spectacular geological formations, with layers of exposed limestone. These are known as the Apoplystra Folds and have been created over millions of years.
The small beach in the cove has rough sand, superb clear green water and a rocky seabed. It is partially organized, with a few umbrellas and sunbeds.
The former fishing village around this beach also features a few accommodation places and traditional taverns. Just above the beach, you can visit the small chapel of St. Paul, which is supposed to have housed the saint on his way to Rome. To the west of Agios Pavlos, you can find an enchanting natural area and wild beach.
Known either as the Akoumiani Gialia or Alatsogremni Beach, it features the beautiful Melissa Cape sandhills. The beach is quite long and usually almost deserted, thus being sometimes used by naturist sunbathers. You can simply walk to this area in a few minutes from Agios Pavlos. This amazing beach features deep rocky seabed and is excellent if you wish to experience snorkeling, while it also features some impressive rock formations.
Visit the gorges and monastery of Preveli
About 40 km from Agios Pavlos, you can drive to the enchanting gorge of Preveli. While hiking through the canyon is quite challenging, there is a road taking you above the stunning Preveli Beach, considered one of the most beautiful in all of Crete. A short distance from the beach parking, you can also visit the splendid Preveli Monastery, with two locations that have been developed at different times in history, but equally inspiring and interesting. The panoramas of the sea and the coast from the high cliffs above Preveli Beach is unforgettable, especially from the road towards the monastery.
Explore the archaeological sites of Gortyna and Phaistos
These inspiring and fascinating archaeological sites are located about 40-50 km to the east of Agios Pavlos and you can easily drive there passing through Agia Galini.
Phaistos or Phaestus was one of the most important settlements in ancient times on the island, with the remains of two palaces and other structures being excavated along the years. You will feel like traveling back in time to the Minoan Age by exploring the various ruins at Phaistos, allowing for a more intimate visit than the palace of Knossos, usually overrun by tourists. The discoveries of Gortyna include the old citadel, a high temple, statues and figurines, an ancient agora and other treasures.
The law code discovered here is considered the oldest and most complete in the whole of Greece, parts of it being displayed in the Louvre Museum.
Discover the beaches nearby Agios Pavlos
While the beach of Agios Pavlos and the nearby Alatsogremni Beach are excellent choices to spend a few unforgettable days, if you wish to explore other stunning beaches of the southern coast of Crete, there are some relatively close that you can reach easily.
Towards the west, you will shortly reach the stupendous beaches of Triopetra, followed by the beach of Ligres. Further along, there are other splendid beaches, including the ones of Katsouni, Agia Fotini, Gialopotamos and the famous Preveli Beach with its river and palm trees.
To the east of Agios Pavlos, you will only encounter small wild coves with small patches of beach, but they do make excellent choices if you are looking for privacy. The closest larger beach can be found in the village of Agia Galini.
Where to Stay near Agios Pavlos, Crete
There are only a handful of accommodation options available in the vicinity of Agios Pavlos Beach, but you will usually find an available room if you book in advance. Staying in this remote area of Crete, you will also avoid the crowds and agitation of the busy resorts along the northern coast. There are only some apartments and studios to rent in Agios Pavlos, with easy access to the beaches and breathtaking views of the sea.
Agios Pavlos Hotel
Located just a few meters from the beach and recently renovated, this excellent hotel offers 15 comfortable rooms with all amenities, some featuring sea views, as well as balconies, shared lounge, snack-bar, restaurant and playground.
☏ +30 28320 71104
Located just 2 minutes from the beaches of Agios Pavlos, this amazing hotel offers pleasant rooms that have a balcony with splendid sea views, as well as free parking and wireless internet. Guests can find a traditional tavern just 200 meters away.
☏ +30 697 803 9531
This superb complex of studios and apartments is part of the Agios Pavlos Hotel and is located just a few minutes from the beaches. Built up the hills, it offers stunning views of the coastline.
☏ +30 28230 71104
Where to Eat near Agios Pavlos
Agios Pavlos Tavern
Part of the Agios Pavlos Hotel complex, this restaurant is located right on the beach, offering traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes, including fresh seafood, vegetarian and vegan options, as well as excellent Greek wine.
☏ +30 28230 71104
Scopas Café and Beach Bar
Located right on the Agios Pavlos Beach, this traditional tavern and bar offers delicious Cretan food, drinks and a beautiful panorama.
A nice and quiet traditional tavern located up the hill, just a few minutes from the beach in Agios Pavlos. It offers a delicious menu with authentic Cretan dishes.
Best Time to Visit Agios Pavlos
You can visit the island of Crete almost all year around, with nice weather and temperatures from many months, starting from April and up to mid-November. During the peak summer months, the temperatures tend to be extremely high on the southern coast of Crete and it might be a good idea to choose the start or the end of the season to visit Agios Pavlos. The beach is uncrowded for most of the year and you will find relative privacy on the nearby Akoumiani Gialia anytime.