One of the most famous beaches of Crete and Europe — Falasarna Beach is a paradise for nature lovers. Discover why this wonderful destination is a must visit when in Crete.
Everything You Need to Know about Falasarna Beach
Where is Falasarna Beach Located?
Falasarna Beach is one of the best known beaches of the Chania Regional Unit of Crete. It’s located in the Kissamos province, at the northern edge of Crete’s western coast. Falasarna Beach is at the foot of Cape Gramvousa, the westernmost peninsula on the north coast of Crete.
How to Get to Falasarna Beach
Falasarna beach is just under 70 km from Chania’s Ioannis Daskalogiannis International airport – an easy and lovely drive of about an hour and ten minutes along the main coastal road town. There is a Rental Center Crete directly at the airport, so you can be on the road in no time. Alternatively, if you arrive at Souda Bay, a car can be brought to you at the port. There is also KTEL bus service from Chania to Falasarna. For timetables and prices, please check here.
The History of Falasarna Beach
Falasarna has a long and interesting history. Now an expanse of unspoiled beaches, this was once a major center of trade. A local lagoon was incorporated into the harbor through a long man-made channel. This made for an unusually secure harbor, which was fortified by the city walls. It was the only closed harbor in the west of the island.
In the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, Falasarna flourished through trade; this was an ideal location for trade with Alexandria, Egypt. They also flourished though through piracy, and this led to the city’s downfall in the 1st century BC. The Romans closed the harbor to large boats to thwart the pirates.
The ruins of Ancient Falasarna are north of the beach. Here, you can see the ruins of the acropolis, the city walls, and some houses, as well as tombs and a throne made of stone, thought to be dedicated to the god of the sea, Poseidon.
Falasarna minted its own money. Coins show a figure of a woman on one side, and the initials FA (ΦΑ) between the points of a trident on the reverse side.
What to See and Do in Falasarna
The beaches of Falassarna themselves will keep you plenty busy. This is not one but actually five beaches, with the middle two being the best known.
Explore the Beaches of Falasarna
The sands here are white, which makes for almost unreal colors of blue and turquoise in the seas. The largest of the beaches is called Pachia Ammo, which means “Coarse Sands”. Pachia Ammos is a big beach – a kilometer long, and about 150 meters wide. The beach is fully serviced with sun loungers and umbrellas and some snack bars. South of Pachia Ammos, there is the beach of Livadi. This is a sandy beach also, but the sea bed is rocky, making this beach a choice of snorkelers. North of Pachia Ammos is a smaller, wilder beach with no facilities.
Try Some Watersports
The west coast of Crete is known for its winds, and all the Falasarna beaches are great choices for windsurfers. You’ll find facilities for watersports at Pachia Ammo beach.
Watch the Sunset
Falasarna’s sunsets are reported to be some of the finest on Crete, with nothing between you and the endless blue horizon
Visit the Ancient Harbor
North of the beaches of Falassarna is Ancient Falassarna, with ruins of antiquities.
Enjoy a Beach Holiday – Gorgeous Beaches Near Falasarna
The western end of Crete is home to some world famous beaches that are definitely worth checking out while you’re here.
Balos, on the end of the Gramvousa peninsula, is actually two beaches – one is on a lagoon, formed by a beautiful small “island” which is attached to the mainland by a small strip of sand. For a long time, this paradise of a beach with its turquoise waters was a secret beach, known only to locals with boats. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were said to have been here on their honeymoon. This beach is reached by boat- there are day cruises from the port of Kissamos, just a 20 minute drive from Falasarna.
Elafonissi is a destination beach, completely unique. This Natura 2000 nature preserve is an island, lagoon, and beach. It’s a habitat of the beloved caretta-caretta sea turtle and other creatures, as well as protected plant species. The tall, white sand dunes of Elafonisi island are covered with wildflowers. The lagoon is edged with pink sands and the brilliantly clear waters are shallow and relatively calm. The beach on the open sea is rough and exciting and a great favorite for watersports like windsurfing. Elafonissi is about an hour and 20 minutes from Falasarna by car, via a lush inland route.
Sougia is one of the most famous beaches of the south coast of Crete. This unspoiled pebble beach is long and very wide- so you can always find some tranquility. The waters of the Libyan sea are deep and therefore cooler than the waters of the north, for a more refreshing swim. Sougia is just under 2 hours from Falassarna and it is a beautiful drive.
Activities Near Falasarna
For a complete change of scene from these famously broad and endless beaches, why not try a cave? The cave of Agia Sophia, filled with stalactites and Stalagmites, is a 45 minute curvy, scenic drive away from Falasarna.
The cave of Agia Sophia is along the Topolia Gorge. This gorge begins at an altitude of 450 meters at the village of Strovles, and ends in Topolia village. The “Topolia” – as the gorge is also called – is filled with rare and indigenous plants.
Are you up for a more serious hike? One of the great hikes of the world – the famous Samaria Gorge – is also in the Chania region. The 16 km hike begins in Xyloskalo, and ends in Agia Roumeli on the coast of the Libyan Sea. Plan an entire day for this amazing experience.
Cultural Excursions Near Falasarna
The ruins of Ancient Falasarna make a great excursion. Follow the signs to the north along the asphalt road. When the road ends, you have a walk along a dirt path which will take you 15 to 20 minutes. Much of the ancient city’s fortifications are still intact, and you can also see the ruins of a temple above the old city. The Ancient Harbor of Falassarna is under the protection of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport. It’s open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 9:00 to 15:00 (except holidays- please call: +30 28210 44418 or +30 28210 94487 to confirm hours)
Chania Town is a must-visit destination- one of the most famously lovely cities of all Greece. Chania is known for the exotic Venetian charms of its romantic harbor. The Venetian boat yards along the marina have spaces for cultural exhibitions, as does the Mosque of the Janissaries– a prominent monument of the Ottoman period. Chania’s old town – the winding alleys behind the harbor – are fragrant with jasmine. Delightful tavernas and cafes line the alleys – some in the ruins of beautiful old houses open to the starry skies overhead. There are also chic and interesting shops that are open late into the night in the alleys of the old-town.
You can get a taste of local life by visiting the historic covered market, where you can shop for olives and cheeses and other specialties, strolling in the Kypo– the “Garden” which is the park in the center of town, and stopping for a coffee in the square of Splanzia, an atmospheric neighborhood behind the marina to the harbor’s east, or having a seafood meal by the old tanneries by the shore at the edge of Halepa, the elegant neighborhood to the east.
This is a great destination for anyone interested in unspoiled beautiful beaches. Falasarna is also a great home base for exploring this exciting region of Crete by car.