The regions surrounding Heraklion are home to some gorgeous beaches, ranging from small shingle bays to bigger stretches of golden sand with clear, azure waters. Around the more popular resorts such as Malia, Hersonissos, Amoudara and Agia Pelagia, you'll find that beaches are busier and lined with bars and restaurants so you can make a whole day of being on the sands. Why not explore the sea and get up close to the marine life? Hersonissos, Gouves and Agia Pelagia have diving schools that offer some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the region, so you have the perfect chance to try out those flippers. Thrill seekers need to head for Malia, where the beach has a great range of water sports and rides that'll really get the adrenaline flowing. If you're looking for smaller more secluded beaches then Paleokastro and Agia Pelagia Psaromoura are perfect for a few hours of relaxation. The areas might not be as built up as the more popular resorts but you'll be able to see spectacular, uninterrupted views.