I will jump right into it and rank at number one tropical Elafonisi beach, which is located near a islet of the same name. The islet is small, but the beach is certainly not - in fact, it's the second largest beach in western Crete and starting from June until October it looks like a tropical paradise. It can be easily reached by car; you can also take the bus from Chania and Paleochora. The beach is surrounded by seven places where you can find beach beds and umbrellas available for rent. There are taverns here where you can eat and drink. The water and sand are just marvelous! This beach is one of the most beautiful in Greece.
Number 2 is Balos Beach (above), on the small peninsula of Imeri Gramvousa. It is a protected area, with flora and fauna habitats. There are four hundred different sea plants, nearly one hundred bird species, wild donkeys, green turtles and the Mediterranean Sea lobe at Gramvousa. Balos Beach is a lagoon located in a bowl-shaped bay. The colors of the sea water look exotic due to the azure color. Nearby is a 16th-century Venetian fort on the cliffs worth visiting.
Number 3 is Seitan Limania (above), on a small bay near Chania, Crete. The beach lies on an S-shaped bay on the Akrotiri peninsula, not far from the international airport. From Chania city the distance is about 20 kilometers; which means approximately a half hour by car. The road to Seitan Limania beach is relatively good. However, to reach the beach from the parking lot is a little bit difficult because of the rocks. There is no paved path and it requires attention. There are no facilities on Seitan Limania beach so bring enough drinking water and food with you, but the landscape is magic, so it is worth the trouble.
Also, I would like to mention Aspri Limni or White Lake as one of the weirdest beaches in Crete that few people know about. The beach has fine white sand and rocks and it is surrounded by sharp rocks, reminding of a small lake inside the sea. Fortunately, the beach is unexploited by the tourist industry and it remains an untouched paradise. There is no artificial shade in the area. This small discrete beach is located 500 meters west of Chrysoskalitissa monastery and 70 km southwest of Chania city. Thousands of visitors are attracted by the nearby exotic Elafonisi lagoon, but few people have heard of this spectacular neighboring place.
By the way, for a place to accommodate during your trip I would recommend any of the Aquila hotels, which are in my opinion some of the best hotels in Crete, because you will need a comfortable and relaxing place to stay before visiting Crete’s most wonderful beaches.
Finally, let’s not forget about the best beaches around Elounda which are near Plaka (to the north), Havania Beach (to the south), and Kolokitha Beach (on the island to the east, a little hard to get to but worth the effort). The town beach of Elounda is also good opportunity as there are a few beaches close to Agios Nikolaos. One of the best restaurants in the area is To Karnagio where you can eat wonderful local food. It is in Agios Nikolaos. There is a bus that runs between Agios Nikolaos and Elounda but to explore the area and get to the best beaches, a rented car would be my first option. They’re easy to rent in Elounda – usually you don’t have to make a reservation.