When you think of Bali, you might think of the Indonesian isle, but there’s another Bali – in Crete – and it’s ravishing. An attractive cluster of fishing villages, beaches and coves tucked between the mountains and a jutting peninsula on the island’s northern coast, Bali’s become more developed in recent years, but still retains plenty of quaint charm. On Bali holidays you’ll find four beautiful beaches formed around sandy coves, including one at the town harbour.
The bay here is well-protected, meaning calm, clear water. Getting to the different beaches is a breeze, thanks to a mini train that pootles between them. In the evenings you can enjoy plenty of excellent bars and restaurants – just don’t expect all-night parties. Food here is fresh and fantastic, and the seafood in the tavernas clustered around the harbour is particularly good. It’s worth taking a boat trip from here out to the city of Rethymno and the nearby islands. If you’re looking for a taste of laid-back Crete life, you’ll find it on holidays to Bali.
Take a boat trip out to the pirate island of Gramvousa and wonder at its Venetian fortress, then swim in Balos lagoon’s gorgeous turquoise water – it’s not nicknamed ‘the Caribbean of Europe’ for nothing.
Head to the hills
Hidden in the hills above Bali is Agios Ioannis Prodromos, a 17th-century monastery. Spend time in its fountain-filled flower garden and enjoy the scenic vistas.
Celebrate at a festival
Join the fun at one of three festivals held locally every year: the feast of Agia Triada is in June, and Panagia Charakiani and Agios Ioannis festivals are in August.