The proposed route is doable in a day (if you rush) but ideally you will spend 2-3 days exploring the region and give to each beach the attention it deserves. There are rooms to let and hotels near all beaches; the touristic settlement of Agia Galini has the most options (from luxurious hotels to simple rooms) but you can also find hotels in Triopetra, Agios Pavlos and Ligres if you prefer peacefulness and isolation (but you should make bookings in advance).
There is no starting or ending point in this route. We will tell you what each of these lovely beaches has to offer, and the travel arrangements are up to you!
Agia Foteini is among the lesser known beaches of the region, but definitely worth visiting. If you walk along the coast, you will find several beautiful isolated beaches surrounded by sand dunes and the unique Cretan brushwood well worth discovering and spending some time. You can also walk to and from the main beach of Ligkres (recommended!). If you drive, the road will lead you to a picturesque fish tavern, almost touching the water. The menu is simple but great, and the atmosphere is ideal to escape the summer heat. Once upon a time, here was the ancient port of Kissandros, an export-import point that supplied the whole area. There are several other beautiful coves west and east of Agia Foteini.
A vast sandy beach with clean, deep waters that accommodates every taste. Ligres is one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete, ideal for those who seek isolation and the pristine beauty of Cretan beaches, but also for families who want to be near facilities. The asphalt road that leads to Ligres stops at a tavern / guest house, but if you walk a bit further away you will find more isolated spots and small rocky coves, preferred by nudists and campers. West of the beach (towards Agia Foteini) you will find a small waterfall, ideal to wash the salt & heat away!
Named after the three giant rocks jutting out of the sea, Triopetra is an emblematic beach of Southern Rethymno and one of the most distinctive beaches on the island. Here you will find a few taverns and hotels and the best place to set your umbrella is at the eastern extremity of the beach, near the rocks and caves. You can also climb up the rocks and observe these strange rocky formations up close. Triopetra, however, has ‘open’ waters, so when its windy the waves and currents can be dangerous.
Triopetra has a little ‘sister’, east of the main long beach, separated by a small peninsula. Small Triopetra has a more family friendly character and tranquil waters. Here you will find a nice café-tavern to enjoy a drink or meal, and you can also walk to the sand dunes of Agios Pavlos (aka Akoumiani Gialia) to the east, crossing the small delta of a river.
The main beach of Agios Pavlos is probably the most easily accessible and family friendly beach of the region, with a few hotels and taverns, which do not (greatly) disturb the superb landscape. It also has the clearest waters, because it is well-protected from the winds, and has an impressive rocky seabed, ideal for scuba diving. Here you will also find umbrellas and sunbeds to rent. Don’t skip a visit to the top of the hill between the beach of Agios Pavlos and the sand dunes, following a small wooden staircase that starts from the beach. From there, you will enjoy a magnificent view of the sand dunes and the Libyan Sea, and you will see the remarkable rock formations, proposed to be listed to the Natural Monuments of Greece.
Between the main beach of Agios Pavlos and Small Triopetra, there is a completely isolated beach, absolutely beautiful and accessible on foot (the easiest access is if you park your car on the asphalt road, a few kilometers away from Small Triopetra towards Agios Pavlos, and walk down a path that crosses a small river and leads to the beach. You can also walk from Small Triopetra).
On the way to Agia Galini, driving on the coastal road (see map, point 7 - there is no 'official' sign!) you will meet a steep turn to the lovely beach of Ai Giorgis and the idyllic cafe-tavern of Giorgos, an iconic figure and manager of the place! The beach is organized, with sunbeds and umbrellas, but there is also space for the ‘free-rangers’. This is probably the best place to end your day, enjoy a meal or a drink, gazing at the sunset and the island of Paximadia. There is also a trekking trail from Agia Galini to Ai Giorgis (ask the locals to show you where it starts), which is especially beautiful in springtime, when flowers bloom.
Agia Galini was once a quiet fishing village, before the invasion of mass tourism in the ‘70s and 80s. Today it is a well-organized tourist destination with numerous taverns, bars, cafes, super markets, souvenir shops and a variety of accommodation options. It is worth visiting for a stroll in the harbor, where an exhibition of old village photos is set, and up the small amphitheater where the statues of Icarus and Daedalus stand, overlooking the village. Agia Galini has a long organized beach and the best spot - if you seek a bit of isolation – is towards the east, after crossing the river ‘Platis Potamos’ and the bridge. There are ferry cruises from the harbor of Agia Galini to the neighboring beaches of Ai Giorgis and Preveli, as well as to the beaches of Chania and the island of Paximadia!