Crete's party capital attracts more than those who want to let their hair down. This charming coastal town is modern and activity-fuelled, with plenty of beach water sports to enjoy. Located in Greece's northeast corner, Malia is home to vast, sandy expanses of coastline, archaeological sites and historic Minoan Palace. When you are not sunbathing, swimming or dancing until the early hours inside one of Malia's nightclubs, you can traverse the land on a mountain bike or shop on famous Beach Road. From day trips to the small islet just off the Cretan coast to afternoons cruising around the town on the Happy Train, there is more than meets the eye in this 'party' resort.
Positioned on Kavala city's modern side is the coastal metropolis of Neapolis. This city is a colony of Thasos, so you’re guaranteed an authentic Grecian experience when you visit. Although the ancient remains of Neapolis' beginnings are far and few, some of the city's preserved sections date back to the 5th-century. Archaeological excavations have taken place in this area numerous times, uncovering ancient artefacts and religious hearts. While the site may not have experienced mass tourism as much as other parts of Greece, Kastania Cave tends to attract a portion of Crete's tourists.
Elounda can be found on the northern coast and is comprised of numerous villages. A portion of the land remains uninhabited, offering a visitors a quiet and peaceful getaway. Many visitors choose to embark on a scenic drive from Agios Nikolaos to the area, which saw settlement before the ancient Greek period. Tourists can visit the sunken city by swimming around Elounda bay. When it was first discovered, archaeologists determined that the city was formerly associated with Rhodes and Knossos, after revealing ancient texts inside the walls.
While once Palekastro was a bustling hub for trading activity, it is now a vibrant destination for a great getaway. Located on the island's eastern end, Palekastro is a small historic site surrounded by the flow of Mother Nature. With the majority of Palekastro's local people working in the agriculture industry, you’ll be amazed by their inviting and friendly nature. Despite the fact it isn’t considered a tourist resort as such, has attractive beaches and a selection of traditional Greek restaurants. Set away from the sea, the village's focal point is Kastri - a flat-topped hill overlooking the ocean and surrounding olive groves. Regular bus services allow for easy access to and from Malia.
Malia was once home to Crete's biggest Bronze Age archaeological site, believed to be Europe's most ancient city. During the Minoan age, Knossos would have likely been a notable centre of power. In summer, the ‘palace’ gets very popular, with tourists flooding the grounds to learn about the area’s engaging history and participate in organised tours.
Malia Old Town
Forget about nightclubs and beach parties for a moment, because there is an authentic Cretian side to Malia. The labyrinth-like streets that weave through Malia Old Town will give you a glimpse at ancient churches, live music dining establishments, and quaint cafes. Boutiques and local stores are housed inside yellow-coloured buildings, many of which were constructed in the 19th-century, just like the church of Agios Dimitrios. For an insight into the Venetian era, marvel at Agios Ioannis. Also located in the Old Town is Agios Nektarios church.
Land Rover Safaris
Shake off your hangover and prepare for a day of exploration by strapping yourself into a 4x4 Land Rover. Off-roading safaris are very popular in Malia, which boasts an untouched landscape. Apart from the tourist-focused beachfront, much of the mainland and off-the-beaten-track areas remain flawless and in their natural state. Take this opportunity to get a closer look at Cretian villages, mountain viewpoints, and the Cave of Zeus. This legendary birthplace of Zeus plays an important role in Greek mythology. Rich in stalagmites and stalactites, the cave is burrowed into the side of Mount Idi.
Central Malia beach is the most well-known area of coastline and it can be found at the end of Beach Road. Seaside bars line the waterfront, which extends for just over 600 metres. Another sandy section is Sun beach, where you can rent a sun lounger for the day or test your water skiing skills. These aren't the only beaches that entice sun worshippers by day and party-goers by night, however. Potamos beach and Tropical beach are two other seaside spots worth checking out.
Traditional life in Crete is simple, with the local people using locally grown and/or sourced ingredients to prepare healthy, nutritious Cretan dishes. Crete is one of the world's biggest producers of olive oil, with 60 olive trees per citizen. Flavoured with herbs and Cretan cheeses like anthotiros, myzitra, and graviera, Malia's staple dishes like Gamopilafo (rice dish) and Hirina Apakia (smoked pork) are almost always cooked fresh.
Sink your teeth into the juiciest burger you've ever tasted at The Bull Steakhouse or enjoy an English breakfast at the Red Lion Gastropub and Restaurant. For traditional treats, dine at The Brasserie Pizza Pasta & Grill, Taverna Kalyva, Drossia Restaurant, or Odas Taverna. Once you've cleared your plate, why not wash down your dinner with some Cretan brandy?
Whenever your schedule allows you to take a break in one of Crete's favourite holiday destinations, you should think about booking the trip through easyJet holidays. Our complete destination guide will make it easy to select the perfect hotel and if you save yourself the hassle by booking a flight at the same time, you can also save money on the overall cost – that way, you’ll spend more on souvenirs, excursions, and cocktails.