Malia to Hersonissos: where to stay in Crete
Crete is one of the most beautiful and popular Greek islands with a reported 3 million visitors every year. It’s also the largest, perfectly balancing the mix of tourism and tradition. Resorts such as Hersonissos, Malia, Rethymnon, Chania, Elounda and Agios Nikolaos beckon with beautiful beaches, great nightlife and plenty of things to see and do.
Hersonissos is one of the most popular resorts on the island, making it the perfect destination for anyone wanting a fun-packed holiday with lots of activities. The beaches in Hersonossis are lovely – 3 large, sandy stretches and some more secluded coves – but they do get quite busy in the summer months. The main beaches have bars to cool down in, a great choice of watersports and plenty of sun loungers to hire. Hersonissos really does have something for everyone to enjoy. It turns on the charm in the evening with a fantastic, lively atmosphere; dine in a wide choice of restaurants, sip cocktails in numerous bars and dance the night away in one of several clubs. With your family and bored of the beach? Hersonissos has a couple of great water parks, an aquarium, golf and a labyrinth theme park. Take a stroll around Hersonissos town, where you’ll find plenty of shops and boutiques selling everything from jewelry to local goods such as honey and leather.
Sitting next to Hersonissos is Malia, Crete’s party capital. Malia is a modern, high-rise town that is one of the most popular clubbing destinations in Europe. The main strip is packed with bars, pubs and clubs that cater for all types of music and attract plenty of big name DJs throughout the summer. Spend the gloriously sunny days relaxing on one of Malia’s six beaches, stretching out for 5km in total with golden sand and beautifully blue sea. Venture into the old town for cobbled streets, beautiful Medieval churches and quiet squares with traditional Greek tavernas.
Chania is considered to be the greenest part of Crete, with truly beautiful scenery: stunning beaches, the panoramic White Mountains and the infamous Samaria Gorge attract visitors from across the island. The town is bursting with charm and character, playing host to a beautiful Venetian harbor, labyrinthine shopping streets and waterfront restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood.
The White Mountains are dusted with snow until the warm summer sun melts it away to reveal bright limestone, keeping the vision of the mountains white all year round. The Samaria Gorge is incredible and one of Crete’s tourist highlights. It is rich in plant and animal life with a clearly marked footpath (complete with drinking water springs and toilets) that twists and turns through this amazing example of natural beauty.
Rethymnon is a picturesque town that is perfect for people wanting a relaxing holiday in a charming and atmospheric location. The sandy beach stretches out for several kilometres and sits in the middle of the town, so it’s within easy reach for visitors. Fresh seafood restaurants, a beautiful harbor, a handful of lively bars, pretty streets lined with shops and tavernas, a fortress and lots of Venetian and Turkish influences make Rethymnon a diverse and interesting place to visit.
Agios Nikolaos and Elounda
To the east of Crete lie Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, two very pretty towns with scenic harbours and lovely Blue Flag beaches. Elounda is a popular upmarket destination and boasts some of the most luxurious resorts on the island. It is a little quieter than cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos, which has excellent tavernas and a fantastic choice of tavernas and bars. It also has a lagoon-like lake lined with tavernas, cafes and boutique shops; according to mythology is where the Goddess Athena used to bathe and as the sun sets, a definite sense of romance sweeps in to this pretty spot.