Achlia Bay is a beach in the south east of Crete approximately half way between Ierapetra and Makrys Gialos. It is one of the best beaches on the south coast, especially on windy days when the shape of the bay provides shelter on the beach and in the water.
It is possible to stay in the village of Achlia but it is small and has limited restaurants and shops so independent transport (e.g. a hire car) is recommended. To visit from Ierapetra or Makrys Gialos will also require transport. The beach is accessed on a blue and red brick-paved road immediately off the main road along the south coast. There is a small grey sign when coming from Ierapetra but it is easy to miss. There is also a blue sign for “Kantina”. Google Maps does have the beach accurately located as “Paralia Achlia”.
There is a bar/taverna that serves a range of food and drink and has toilet facilities, and there are also showers on the beach so you can wash the salt off after swimming. There are also sunbeds and parasols on the eastern half of the beach for those that want them but there is also plenty of empty sand for those that prefer the free option. The sand is soft enough if not quite fine and golden and the water is usually very clear and ideal for snorkelling. It is easy to get in as the coarse sand continues well into the water so there are no rocks or large pebbles to hurt your feet. The sides of the bay are rocky which provides habitat for more sea life than many beaches so snorkelling is very good.
One thing to watch for out of the peak of summer are annoying insects (e.g. flies). The sheltered bay offers shelter for them too and if the temperatures are only in the high 20’s (e.g. in Spring and Autumn) they can be quite a nuisance.
There are water sports options that go out beyond the bay, leaving the bay itself safe for swimming. There are also some beach-sports set up that are often in use by locals that I believe are free to use if you bring a ball.
There is parking on the side of the brick road but it is best to get the passengers to get out first and then park quite tightly to the wall. As the slope is quite steep I recommend leaving the car in gear rather than just relying on the handbrake. When you are ready to leave you can follow the road down to the bottom and then back up where it will rejoin the main road.