Sunbathe on golden sand, swim in warm waters and enjoy leisurely dining at this vacation hub on the north coast of a Greek island.

Ammoudara is a beach resort area with many hotels and restaurants that face the sea. Lying near the warm waters of the Gulf of Heraklion, the commune is the famous home of Olympics soccer games. The town’s name is Greek for “big sand,” which is apt for the 4.4-mile (7-kilometer) shore.

Capture photos of the Mediterranean houses that are subtly nestled into the green vegetation behind the beach. Listen to the sound of the swaying trees as you relax on a sunlounge. Umbrellas for rent are dotted along the coast, offering relief from the intense sunshine and heat.

This is an ideal spot to take the kids, because the water is shallow and has few sharp rocks. Lifeguards patrol parts of the sand, which is soft and yellow. Build castles and search with the children for intriguing vestiges carried by the waves. Swim in the warm water and then dry off in the sand within minutes. Take a class at the windsurfing school at the western end. Squint to see the outlines of mountainous islands to the north.

Discover the small coves and pebble beaches that surround the main area of Ammoudara. Explore the nearby beaches of Almiros and Istron for a variety of scenery during your Crete vacation.

Dine at one of the many restaurants serving Mediterranean delicacies and international cuisine. Tables and thatched umbrellas spill out onto the sand. Enjoy alcoholic beverages from a bar. Across the road behind the beach is a grocery store and cafés. Visit the Technopolis complex, which has a cinema and an open-air theater. Summer is the main season, but some places open year-round.

On the north coast of Crete, Ammoudara is 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west of the town of Heraklion, which has the island’s main airport. Access the beach via one of the many points of access along the stretch of sand. Explore the architectural delights of nearby Knossos and the lively clubs of Heraklion. The stunning coastal town of Agios Nikolaos is 40 miles (64.3 kilometers) east of Ammoudara.

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