The town of Paleochora in southwestern Crete boasts somewhere in the vicinity of 42 different beaches. Some are petite, some are grand; some are rocky, some have sand; some are right off the road, and some require an hour-long hike on a dusty trail. We visited five of them on one day just to see what the options looked like. Our very favorite was Paralia Psilos, which is a small rocky cove just a few kilometers west of town.
The beach is made of small pebbles, and there are two rows of umbrellas and a tiny taverna. We liked how quiet and cozy it felt.
My other contender for best beach of the day was the aptly named Wild Beach, another few kilometers more down the road. To get there, you first walk for a brief stretch on the western end of Grammeno Beach (a long, sandy stretch that had plenty of amenities but felt surprisingly underpopulated):
You then need to hike over sand dunes dotted with oleander, juniper, and scrub …
… to get to this:
Wild Beach is rocky and the swimming is rough, but wow, is it stunning. And we had it entirely to ourselves.
Another tiny, rocky gem of a beach is Methexis, at the northeast tip of town.
When we went, the swimming was rough, but it was fun to watch the waves crash on the rocks.
The fifth beach we visited was Pachia Ammos, which runs nearly the entire length of the west side of Paleochora.
This is a popular beach, chock-a-block with umbrellas and people, probably because (1) it’s close to town, (2) it’s sandy, and (3) the water is gentle and good for kids.
There’s something for everyone at Paleochora — I highly recommend exploring these beach options and more. It’s also worth heading into town …
… and having lunch at Aristea’s Kitchen.
The stuffed zucchini flowers, Cretan salad, kalitsounia (stuffed with greens), and bread were all excellent. And it’s good to be back in a place with retsina on almost every menu!
To get to and from Paleochora, we drove down, down, down a long mountain from Omalos. The road winds through tiny villages, past tiny churches and stunning vistas.
En route, you pass hundreds of goats (some of them standing right in the road).
I have no idea why, but I’ll never tire of seeing scenes like this: