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|NATURISM AND NATURIST BEACHES ON THE ISLAND OF CRETE IN GREECE|
Throughout Greece, naturism is only allowed in a few licensed areas but it is tolerated in a number of places. Most of these places are quiet, remote beaches or coves. The situation might change suddenly (often when a beach canteen is built a "No nudism" sign will appear) or seasonally (for example at weekends and in July and August when many Greek families go to the beach) so do use your common sense. Remember that you are a guest in this country and avoid deliberately shocking your hosts. Crete is still a deeply traditional place and being nude on a beach may embarrass the locals. Topless sunbathing is fine almost everywhere, unless the beach is situated right in a village.
My personal top three of favourite nudist beaches would be Agios Pavlos Beach (quiet, sandy, such clear waters), the naturist beaches at Tersta (for the same reasons) and the private beaches in the small coves of Xerokampos (if you can find a small free beach to yourself here it's heavenly: sandy when you get into the water, secluded and crystal clear waters, beautiful scenery). We also like to make a stop at Ferma beach where at the end of the stretch of pebbles it gets sandy (the whole beach is quiet) and it is easy to get into the water. In the north we love our small private beach at Tholos or we take a dip into the sea at deserted long stretched sandy Episkopi Beach. In the north the choice in naturist beaches is limited. These are just a few of the naturist beaches on Crete that I have been to, but off course I haven't seen them all...yet!!
Most of the beaches where you can bathe without your textiles on are on the South coast of Crete. Apart from our beach at Filaki these are NOT official naturist beaches so be considerate. These are, anticlockwise from the South-West of the island (but remember sometimes situations change):
Paleohora - A part of the long sandy beach is used by naturists. To the East there is also the beach of Anidri.
|Agios Pavlos Naturist Beach in the south of Crete|
Agios Pavlos is a delightful small coastal village close to Agia Galini in the south of Crete. It can be reached if you take a turn at the village of Akoumia. Compared to some of the other villages in the south Agios Pavlos is relatively quiet. There's a nice beach in the village and two super-super beaches just outside the village. They can be reached by descending a very (!) steep sand dune. But once you are there it's a big reward. The beach is stunning and it's a delight to swim in the sea (in the nude, because nudism is allowed here). A lot of people don't want to go down afraid they won't make it, or even worse: not make it back up the hill again. It's not a place where you will run into families with little children. For us this is just the perfect place. definitely in my top three of Cretan beaches.
|The naturist beach of Dermatos in the south of Crete|
The beach of Dermatos is situated in the south of Crete along the route from Tsoutsouros to Keratokampos. The beach is a few hundred meters long, with pebbles and sand. At one side of the beach next to a hill there are beautiful rocks in the sea. While we were there in 2007 there was only one small house and we swum around without our bathing outfits - so at that moment it was our own nudist beach. It's pretty quiet, but sometimes people that see the beach from the road will come and take a look. There is a small path that leads down from the road to the beach. It is a bit difficult to get into the sea because of the pebbles at the beginning of the water.
|Episkopi naturist beach in Crete|
Directly down the the valley where Episkopi is situated, on 2 kilometers distance from the village, is the start of Episkopi Beach, which stretches all the way to Georgioupolis. It is a sandy and wide beach that is 10 kilometers long. At the beginnig of the beach on the east side there is an opportunity for naturism, and then a few 100 meters further down the beach there is the first taverna with sunbeds and umbrellas. There is also a small supermarket. On the quiet part of Episkopi Beach you can sometimes see a special kind of bird that is looking for food. There can be some sea weeds on the beach but not really much. The beach is quite clean and it is quiet.
|Falassarna naturist beach in the west of Crete|
Falassarna, 20 km west of Kisamos, is a quiet village, with some small hotels, apartments and taverna's. It's the place of a spectacular big sand beach, with beautiful rocks in the sea, making it look like something out of a fairy tale. It looks like a landscape of dunes, with fine sand. Falassarna is also the site of an ancient Hellenistic port, which was surrounded by walls and connected to the sea by a canal. 10 Minutes north by foot some of the walls, the defensive towers and a temple can still be seen.
|The naturist beach and the village of Ferma, southeast Crete|
Ferma is a small village on the southeast coast of Crete, in between Ierapetra and Makrigialos, with a couple of hotels and taverna's. The beach is large and with sand and pebbles. On one side there is a small taverna with just a few umbrellas and sunbeds, on the other side there is nothing but the beach. This side is also used by the naturists - us in this case because there was nobody else on the beach besides two people near the taverna- but we were told that this is the naturist part of the beach. The sea is crystal clear and it has a bit of pebbles when you get into the water. The best part of this naturist beach is actually at the end where the unfinished church is (also good for some shade) and there are some larger rocks in the water, protecting it from the waves. Here it is sandy and shallow and very easy to get in and out of the water. Since the beach at Ferma is pretty large it would be wise to bring your own water if you plan to lie down at the naturist part of it. There are several tavernas in the village and also a good supermarket. In the meantime the beach of Ferma has become one of our favourites for a lazy afternoon in the sand. It is always nice and quiet and it is easy to get into the sea at the end of the naturist beach.
|Gialiskari naturist beach near Paleochora in the southwest of Crete|
The beach of Gialiskari is a rather large pebble beach just outside the village of Paleochora, in southwest Crete. The beach is situated on the eastside of the village and can be reached over a dirttrack (2007) with some bumps in in. On the way to the beach - actua;;y there are two - you will see other beaches along the way. On Gialiskari beach there are umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and there is a taverna. Parts of this beach and of the beaches on the rout to it are also used as naturistbeaches. The beach of Gialiskari is a pebble beach with quite large pebbles.
|Itanos and Itanos naturist beach in the northeast of Crete|
A short drive north of Vai (in the nort east of Crete) you find the relatively isolated bays and beaches of Itanos (also including a nudist beach). As an extra bonus there is a Minoan city at the entrance of the main beach. Itanos was one of the most influential places in the east of Crete. It florished from early Minoan to early Byzantian times. There are traces of a basilic and of Greek walls, and a lot of fallen apart traces on the hill. Itanos was particularly powerful during the Greek era and it was flourishing by the seventh century B.C. Itanos was continuously at war with its neighbours, originally with Praisos, and when Ierapytna destroyed Praisos, Itanos was at war with Ierapytna. An important reason for the conflict was dispute over the control of the Temple of Zeus in Palaikastro. The site covers an area of more than 16,000 square meters, and most of it is still not excavated.
If after you've seen the nearby palmbeach of Vai you think that that is too commercial and too cultivated, than these beaches are closeby and a good option. In the area there are more quiet places to be found. Up north the road suddenly ends. Well: you are not allowed to drive any farther for one reason or another. There are no tavernas, restaurants or anything at all at the site, so you must bring your own supplies. I think that because a lot of the site has not been escevated yet, it is not allowed to build houses any longer (we saw one). If you want a nice beach in the area with restaurants and hotels than Kouremenos (close to Palekastro) would be a good choice.
|Kali Limenes naturist beach in the south of Crete|
Kali Limenes is a coastal village 77km southwest of Iraklion. You can reach it from a side street in Mires (which is a good road) or by a steep and scary dirt road which leads you along a monastery first (we did this...). Either way the trip is really worth it. Kali Limenes has a lovely long whitecoloured beach with relatively unspoilt scenery and clear water. There are a couple of rocks in the sea in front of the beach and a small island with some oil storage tanks. While we were there it was as good as deserted. We didn't see any hotels except for one, but this one appeared to have been closed years ago. On the beach there's one small taverna. The beach is a nudist beach :). This is one of the nicest beaches I found on Crete so far.
Kali Limenes is the site of an ancient city called Lassea, which was a good harbour city during Greco-Roman times. No excavations have been done here yet. It is said that the apostle Paul was shipwrecked here. On the other side of the anchorage you will find another nice and quiet beach. The village of Kali Limenes itself consists of just a few houses and a few fishing kaiks in the water and on the beach. The voice of tranquillity is in the air...loved it.
|The village and the naturist beaches of Kalo Nero on Crete|
Kalo Nero is a small village a little east of Makrigialos, in southeast Crete. This part of the island is very quiet. Near Kalo Nero ars several beaches, amongst which are a large natursit beach and this small beach in my pictures. Kalo Nero means "good water". In the sea in front of this little beach are a couple of beautiful rocks. The whole area of southeast Crete is very pretty and quiet. A bit outside of Kalo Nero you will find a monastery, a gorge and several other beaches.
|The village and the naturist beach of Kastri in the south of Crete|
The village and the beach of Kastri are situated in the south of Crete on the route Tsoutsouros - Keratokampos. There is a village beach and outside of the village it is endless sand with every here and there beautiful rocks in the water or on the beach itself (Listis Beach). It is a very quiet spot. Because it is so large and so quiet the beach outside of the village is also sometimes used as a naturist beach.
The village of Kastri itself is small and yet there are a few hotels (family hotel size - only small ones) and pensions, and there are some apartments for rent. At the seafront there are a few taverna's. At first glance a lovely village with a very beautiful beach / naturist beach.
|Kommos Naturist Beach near Matala in the south of Crete|
Kommos is located 71km from southwest of Heraklion on the sea, just north of Matala. Leaving Matala, you go round a curve and after the campgrounds on the hill and before the village of Pitsidia, there are left turns to the area of Kommos. These are dirt tracks you can walk in 15 minutes or you can drive down from the main road. Kommos has a very big and beautiful sandy beach east of Matala. The beach is quite spectacular and surprisingly undeveloped, probably due to the archaeological site and restrictions on private enterprise in the area. It's much more quiet than the Matala beach, and there's room for nudists.
|Lendas naturist beach in the south of Crete|
The small coastal village of Lendas is 73km southeast of Iraklion, in the south of Crete. The name Lendas derives from the word lion (liondas), because from high up the peninsula looks shaped like a lion. Lendas is an ancient Greek and Roman site, and has Byzantine churches and some escavations that you can visit. It's a cosy little village filled with flowers and bougainville, friendly people, and there are plenty of taverna's and a supermarket.
|Micro Amoudi naturist beach in the south of Crete|
Micro Amoudi is a small nudist beach close to Plakias in the south of Crete. The location is next to Damnoni on the rocky road, practically between Amoudi and Damnoni beach.
|Paleochora village and naturist beaches in Crete|
Paleochora is situated on a small peninsula in the south west of Crete, 77 kilometers from Chania. It's 'crowned' with a Venetian castle that has for the most part fallen apart. In 1278 the Venetian general Marinos Gradengos had the castle of Selino built. The pirate Barbarosa destroyed the fort in a raid in 1539 but the outside of the fortress is still well-preserved. The village of Paleochora itself is build on the ancient town of Kalamidis. On both sides of the peninsula you can find beaches. On one side there is a long pebble beach (and I really mean pebble...no sand) which is used mainly by nudists. On this side you also find the harbour with boats departing to the islands of Gavdos and Elafonisi, and to several other villages that lie along the south west coast of Crete, like Sougia, Loutro and Chora Sfakion. Actually this is the most attractive part of the village. There is a long boulevard with houses, hotels, rooms for rent and shops. On the other side you will find the long sand beach of Paleochora. The beach may be better, but the atmospere is less cosy here.
|The village and the naturist beaches of Plakias in the south of Crete|
The large, stretched out bay of Plakias, that is surrounded by steep hilltops, is an attractive looking village in the south of Crete. The original village with its harbour is on the west side of a very large beach that is sheltered by tamarisk trees. Around the harbour the beach is often pebbly, but if you walk farther the beach becomes better and less crowded. Plakias beach has also places that are used as naturist beaches.
Plakias has become quite popular in recent years (lots of Germans), and hotels and other buildings are rising everywhere in the village. although it is a very pretty village I seemed to be missing some kind of atmosphere. The new part of the town with the boulevard was not my cup of tea. I was missing original buildings, houses that are falling apart, I was even missing goats :).
Update 2016: naturisme in Plakias seems to have ended....
|Preveli Palm beach naturist beach in the south of Crete|
Preveli Beach or Palm Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in Crete. You can reach it in two ways. As you drive south you will see an old bridge on the left side of the road. On the left side of the river you will find the unpaved (but not impossible) road that will lead you directly to the beach. Once at your destination you will be at Preveli beach, but you will still have to climb a hill to get to the other side to "Palm Beach". At the beginning of this road they will tell you that the beach is 3 km away. Don't be fooled: the road is much longer that that! Only if you are a well trained walker you might want to try, but be reminded that you have to climb over mountains up and down, plus you have to walk back again.
The other possibillity is to take the paved road on the right side. You will pass the abandoned Lower Preveli Monastery and a little bit farther down the road there is a sign pointing you to Palm Beach. At the end of this road there is PAID PARKING (1 euro 50 - 2006). Don't think you are there yet, because after you have parked your car you still have a long way to go! There are many, many steps down on the old stairs (and up again!!!) if you want to reach the beach. The views are very rewarding though. And because of this don't think you are going to be alone on Palm Beach, because it's a busy beach.
Palm Beach is a sandy cove with a river running through it, at the end of Kourtaliotiko Gorge. The area resembles a tropical lagoon with its palms, oleanders, waterfalls and stream which flows into the sea. At the end of the beach (on the other side of te hill, away from the river) there is room for naturists to enjoy sunning and swimming without bathing suits, and it is sort of an unofficial naturist beach.
|The naturist beaches of Rodakino in the south of Crete|
The village of Rodakino is situated in the south of Crete on the road between Frangokastelo and Plakias. Frangokastelo is 13 kilometers away and Plakias 15 kilometers. There is a bus connection with Rethymnon twice a day. The village is divided into Ano (high) Rodakino and Kato (lower) Rodakino. Both of the villages are quiet and traditional and seem to sleep in their green surroundings. There are a couple of Kafenions here, but not much more. From Kato Rodakino there is a road, about 2 kilometer long, to the beaches of Rodakino that lie in the Bay of Korakas. There are several beaches with names like Sunrise Beach, Polirizio Beach and Korakas Beach.
A further walk of about ten minutes over the headland will bring you to the next beach which are pristine and practically undiscovered. Behind that there are two more beautiful beaches that are usually empty. These beaches are situated behind a low hill at the west side of the accommodations and there are no facilities here. For this reason and because it is more difficult to get to it these are good beaches for nudists. Behind the largest of the beaches continue to drive upwards until you see the sign "akropolis 1,4 km" on your right hand side. Leave your car at the parking nearby and walk up the hill, than take the first path on the right leading down or walk on to the next path leading down for the second beach etc. I really wanted to keep these beaches a secret, but okay, now I told you... Don't forget to bring water and a good sunscreen if you want to go and visit.
|The naturist beache of Sougia in the south of Crete|
The beach village of Sougia is situated 70 kilometers south from the old capitol Chania. You can reach it from Chania in a 2 hours drive through beautiful green mountains. The westbound boats from Hora Sfakia stop here as well on their way to Paleochora. Sougia is a small village with not many houses on the beach. It will probably stay this way for much longer. Sougia is a historical site where a lot of escavations still have to take place. This is the reason why it is not allowed to build houses and no land is given out for sale, so an extra guarantee that it will not be exploited for mass tourism.
although there is a sign opposite the taveerne on the corner of the main road saying that 'nudism is prohibited' Sougia is mainly a nudist beach. It is long stretched and beautiful with pebbles and sand, the atmosphere of the village is cosy, and the people very friendly. Sougia has some tourist services, such as small supermarkets, rooms to rent and small hotels and tavernas. Behind Sougia there is the start of a second gorge, a bit smaller than the one at Samaria, another opportunity for an interesting walk.
|The village and the naturist beaches of Tertsa next to Vatos and Mirtos in the south of Crete|
The village of Tertsa is a little bit off the beaten track and here it is still relatively quiet. There is not much to do and especially not much to do in the evenings. There are no bars or discos so the options are to just sit in a taverna and have something to eat and drink a glass of wine while you are watching the sea, or you do the same on the balcony of your accommodation (if you have one). It is therefore primarily a place for people that are looking for peace and quiet. In Tertsa you will find yourself a couple of steps back in time. It is still a bit like what Crete was in the past (and I know because my first time on the island was in 1974).
The biggest attraction I believe are the beaches that you can find in Tertsa. If you drive from Mírtos to Tertsa you already see a lot of beaches along the side of the road, but just past the village (that is next to the village beach which has a number of beach umbrellas and sunbeds - also a good and quiet beach by the way) are four fantastic beaches where it is quiet and where naturists can also lie down. They are good beaches where you can easily go into the sea and where there are no rocks on which you can hurt yourself. These beaches are much nicer than the beaches that are in between the two villages because they are beautiful to look at, they are also more private and there are no cars driving past. In short: Tertsa is a top destination for naturists.
During the daytime there are also some people that are visiting from Mirtos to lie down in the sand here, but in the evening they all return and total peace and quiet returns to the village again. Summarized Tertsa is ideal for people who really want nothing (no shops, no night life etc) and only look for silence (although there is a dog that will bark from time to time) and beautiful beaches to relax and enjoy. For good food you also don't have to look any further because Lambros Taverna on the beach is really very good. So if you like to do nothing at all besides packing your towel, your sunscreen lotion, some water and your book in a bag and then walk to the beach to take in the sun this is a perfect place. Of course, you can also make walks in the area or go to the village Mírtos (five kilometers away) where there is some more life. This walk along the coast is also very beautiful.
|Tholos naturist beach in Crete - The secret treasure of the north|
Tholos :)...this is a secret treasure! I think this must be one of the most gorgeous beaches of Crete. Halfway between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia lies the village of Kavousi, and a road leading from this village will take you to this hidden gem. It's quiet, the water is the most turquoise I've ever seen, there's an island right in front of it: it's just absolutely stunning!! On the beach there is a 2 square meter taverne, and one house where you can rent rooms. Together with a small church and one more house this is about all the buildings that you can find here.
Kouremenos and Ithanos also very, very nice, but this would be my number one tip for a beach in the north of Crete. A little bit past the main beach is another smaller hidden beach that is used by naturists (in this case: us, because it is usually empty). Naturism and beautiful nature go hand in hand here.
|Vatos village and naturist beach in te south of Crete|
West of Ierapetra and about two kilometers west of Mirtos on the southeast / middle of Crete lies the tiny village of Vatos, with a small church, two or three houses and large beaches. It is a quiet area and there is hardly anybody on the beaches around the village, so also suitable for naturists, and some parts of these beaches are in use as naturist beaches, even if it is just because nobody is there.
|The village and the naturist beaches of Xerokampos in te south of Crete|
This was for us love at first sight. Xerokampos in the extreme southeast of Crete is actually not really like a village or a beach, but it is more like a collection of different beaches, and different kinds of beaches. There are crudely stated three "main beaches" and than there are several other smaller beaches in the area. On some parts of the larger beaches you can rent an umbrella, but most of the beaches are unspoilt. We had such a good time here en enjoyed every minute of our visit. We found ourselves a great little private beach, one in a row of many more. On parts of the main beaches and on the small beaches you can find the naturists (like us). The village doesn't really have a heart and the houses are spread out over the area, some with each beach, and a taverna every here and there. There were quite a number of hotels, apartmentbuildings and pensions. This was really a fun part of Crete in our point of view and it's also a pretty part, with cute islands in the front. You can reach Xerokampos trough Ziros, Gouderas or Zakros.
|Tip by Rita Woldringh - another naturist beach near Frangokastelo in te south of Crete|
We regularly go to this lovely beach near Frangokastello. Maybe an addition to your list? You can reach it by taking the road just before reaching Frangokastello (coming from Plakias) where it says "Fata Morgana". Above the beach is a tavern, where you can park the car. When you arrive on the beach go left and the end there is (as often) a naturist part. Surrounded by cliffs and sand dunes it is a heavenly place. The sea is shallow and the beach is sandy also when you go into the water. Attached are two photos of the beach (see above).