Renowned for its astonishing beauty that makes is one of the top beaches in East Crete and even the whole of Crete, Voulisma has become a favorite for travellers to the splendid island. Perfectly located in a small protected cove south of Agios Nikolaos and north of Ierapetra, with easy access from the capital of Heraklion, Voulisma Beach has a lot of amazing highlights.
Featuring clear and shallow turquoise waters, with fine white sand mixed with pebbles and perfectly organized, it has been awarded with the Blue Flag for its conditions and facilities. While it can become crowded at times, Voulisma is a stunning destination that is worth visiting while in Crete.
Where is Voulisma Beach
The beach of Voulisma, is located on the northeastern coast of Crete, close to the village of Istro or Istron. It is the most popular and beautiful among the several beaches that can be found in the three small bays of Istro, which are also part of the larger gulf of Mirabello. The closest larger town is Agios Nikolaos, located about 13 km to the north along the coast, while the town of Ierapetra is located 22 km south across the island.
If you arrive at the airport of Heraklion, the best choice is to rent a car to Voulisma Beach and drive the 75 km distance. There are a lot of enjoyable things to do and interesting places to see at and around Voulisma beach, while you will also find plenty of accommodation options and restaurants close by.
How to Get to Voulisma Beach
Getting to Voulisma Beach by Car
The best way to reach Voulisma Beach is by car, as you will be able to travel in complete comfort and have the opportunity to visit other places. You can visit Voulisma Beach with a car rental from Heraklion by driving for about one hour across the northern coast of Crete.
The beach itself is located about 500 meters from the small village of Istron and fairly close to the village of Kalo Chorio, both of them standing in a splendid valley with olive orchards. There are plenty of accommodation options near the beach, as well as several fascinating sights to visit.
Getting to Voulisma Beach by Bus
You can alternatively get to Voulisma Beach by bus, although it will be a little more difficult and time-consuming. If you do not wish to rent a car, there are buses that connect the capital of Crete to the town of Agios Nikolaos and from there, several daily buses that stop close to Voulisma beach.
Nevertheless, if you wish to visit other fascinating places on the island, you should consider hiring a car in Crete.
Best Things to Do in Voulisma Beach
Voulisma beach is among the most beautiful, but also popular beaches on the island of Crete, people loving this destination for its almost perfect conditions and location, as well as the many things to see in the area. The beach is just 500 meters from the village of Istro or Istron, inside a small gulf. The beach is very well organized, with sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as several cafes and taverns nearby. The main road along the north coast of the island passes right by the beach and there is a parking lot for visitors.
You should know that Voulisma is also extremely popular and it can become crowded in certain periods. Nevertheless, it is quite large and there is usually enough room for everyone, with a smaller and more unorganized beach to the west if you prefer.
The beach is quite enchanting, with white fine sand and a few pebbles, while the water is usually clear and shallow. It can get windy at times and storms might bring rubbish in, but the water is most often a splendid turquoise.
The beach is backed by greenery and the small valley of Kalo Chorio is extremely lush, with orchards, vineyards and olive groves.
Explore the Archaeological Site of Gournia
The fascinating archaeological site of Gournia is located on a hill about km east of Voulisma Beach, close to the village of Pachia Ammos and next to the coastal road. Considered one of the best excavated Minoan town on the island, it was a flourishing settlement in ancient times, being destroyed by an earthquake and later completely deserted.
The beautifully preserved buildings and the many archaeological finds can give you an insightful image into the life of a town of the Minoan civilization. Apart from the houses and streets, there are also the ruins of a small palace, a theatre and a temple.
Visit the Monastery of Faneromeni
The inspiring monastery of Panagia Faneromeni, also known as Virgin Mary of Gournia, is located on a steep slope about 11 km southeast of Voulisma Beach.
It is well worth visiting this old monastery for its beautiful church built inside a cave, but also for the breathtaking panorama of the sea that you can admire from there. The monastery is quite famous in Crete and on the 15th of August, it becomes a large pilgrimage site for people all around the island.
Visit the Monastery of Vriomeni and Churches of Meseleri
By following one of the roads south over the splendid mountains, you will reach a beautiful valley filled with olive groves and old churches, surrounding the village of Meseleri. The trip only takes about half an hour and the best place to start is with the monastery of Panagia Vriomeni, built on top of a steep rock and with a unique church built in 1401 and featuring magnificent old frescoes and decorations.
Around the village of Meseleri, you will also find a lot of other old churches and monasteries to visit, like the Agia Marina Church with old paintings from the 14th century, St. George Church with old frescoes from the same period, Panagia Keragrammeni Church or the monastery of Gourni.
Beaches near Voulisma
Although the beach of Voulisma is definitely the most beautiful and famous in the area, it is not the only one and you can explore the area to find more charming Cretan beaches. Sometimes, you can avoid the crowds by choosing another destination, the whole bay of Mirabello, having excellent beaches. Towards the west, you will first reach the beach of Agios Panteleimon, with its superb church and endless stretch of sand. Just beyond it, you can find the quiet and wild beach of Karavostasi.
On the rock that separates these beaches, you can admire the deserted ruins of the Minoan settlement Priniatikos Pirgos. Continuing towards the town of Agios Nikolaos, you can also stop by the amazing small beach of Vathi, with its stunning blue water and white sand. Other beaches to the west include Ammoudara and Almyros.
To the east of Voulisma, you will first find the hidden beach of Pilos or Istron Bay, located inside a steep cove. Inside the small peninsula to the east, there are also three small beaches that can be accessed on foot and are known as Vryonisi. Other beaches you can easily reach to the east include Frouzis, Kamini and Pachia Ammos
Where to Stay near Voulisma Beach, Crete
The splendid Voulisma Beach is easily reachable from most settlements around the bay of Mirabello, while the southern coast is also less than an hour away. You can visit this beach if you book accommodation in any of these villages, while the town of Agios Nikolaos is just 20 minutes away by car.
Excellent choices to look for accommodation include the villages of Istro, Kalo Chorio, Vathi and even Pachia Ammos. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, Voulisma attracts many visitors each season, so it would be a good idea to book accommodation well in advance or choose a period outside the peak season.
Mistral Mare Hotel 4*
Located just 300 meters from the beach, you can easily walk to this splendid hotel that features elegant rooms with perfect amenities, some of them offering stunning sea views, as a large restaurant, a panoramic swimming pool with bar and lounge, as well as many other activities.
☏ +30 28410 61112
This amazing accommodation complex is located just 300 meters from Voulisma Beach, just across the main road and offering great views of the sea. It includes a studio, apartments and several maisonette, many of them offering sea views.
☏ +30 698 253 6527
Elpida Village Hotel
This excellent hotel complex is located in the village of Istro, on the slopes of a small hill overlooking the coast. Guests can walk to Golden Beach in a few minutes and have the advantage of tranquil location. It features various traditionally furnished rooms, a restaurant and a tavern, a swimming pool and various activities.
☏ +30 28410 61403
Where to Eat near Voulisma Beach
Located just across the street from the parking lot of Voulisma Beach, this highly appreciated tavern offers traditional Cretan and Mediterranean dishes at reasonable prices, including grills and seafood.
☏ +30 28410 61288
Located just across the street from Voulisma Beach, this is a great choice for delicious traditional lunches and dinners, offering amazing authentic food at affordable prices.
☏ +30 28410 61330
Chrisambelos Ouzeri Tavern
Locate in the village of Istron, this small family business offers delicious traditional food and a great ambiance, with beautiful views of the sea.
☏ +30 28410 061396
Best Time to Visit Voulisma Beach
Weather is quite nice in Crete most of the year, except a few months in winter when it is too cold to visit the superb beaches of the island. The peak of the tourist season is in July and August, but this is also when the weather is extremely hot and Voulisma Beach gets pretty crowded.
You might want to try visiting during the late spring or early autumn months for a more relaxed atmosphere and more bearable temperatures.