Malia Old Town
Have a walk in Malia’s Old Town to absorb a touch of its traditional charm. Especially in the evening, the labyrinth-like alleys and picturesque, flower-filled courtyards give it that little something that makes it appealing and cherished. Have a look inside of one of the small, white-washed, Byzantine churches and their beautiful wall paintings and icons; you’ll be amazed at the refined atmosphere there is inside. For your dining pleasure, experience the culinary Cretan delights or flavours from around the world in one of the inviting taverns. Some of them are located in beautifully restored old Cretan houses that have kept their initial character.
Visit the remains of a unique palace that are evidence of the glorious Minoan civilization that flourished here 4,000 years ago and that turned Malia into an important trade and shipping centre with substantial political and economic power.The first palaces in Crete were built around 1900BC, a period we call Proto Palatial. Excavations of the palace of Malia and of the nearby grave complex ‘Chrysolakos’ have given us a lot of archaeological evidence and rich finds, one of them being the famous gold bee pendant, a brilliant example of protopalatial gold jewellery.Set on a flat plain with easy access, just three kilometers east of Malia, by the sea and with the proud Mt. Selena rising behind it, it is easy to envisage this monumental palace in its days of glory.
Malia is a place with many aspects that combines splendid beaches, stunning landscapes and charming mountain villages with a touch of traditional charm. Apart from that Malia has also established a reputation of being one of the most dynamic and vibrant places in Crete. When it comes to nightlife and entertainment, the area of Malia is hard to beat. It has gained – with good reason – a reputation of being party destination Number One in the Mediterranean. Malia’s Beach Road is a buzzing enclave of nightlife where the action mainly takes place on the streets. It clusters numerous bars, cafes, pubs and cutting-edge night clubs. The beat goes up after the sun goes down: No face control, no stress, just a good vibe in a cool atmosphere.
The idyllic mountain village Krassi is the easternmost village of the prefecture of Iraklio with a population of 350. Perched on the northern slopes of Mt. Selena, at an altitude of 600m above sea level, it breathes a feeling of serenity with a giant plane tree – proudly presented as the oldest one in Crete – and with a well that has water running directly from the springs of Mt. Selena; there’s nothing like its cool shade on hot summer days! Chill out and relax in the cozy surroundings of one of the inviting taverns that serve delicious, authentic Cretan cooking with pure ingredients or enjoy Greek coffee or home-distilled rakí in the tiny coffeehouses
This pretty mountain village on the way to the upland plateau of Lassithi has preserved its traditional character and takes you back in time, with picturesque alleys and flower-filled courtyards, where locals are sitting outside their doorstep in the loom of the evening, chit-chatting about everyday things, with lovely whitewashed churches and chapels, like the church of Panayía and its impressive Byzantine icons and wall paintings. Relax and enjoy Cretan hospitality on the shady village square for either a typical Greek coffee or rakí, or a hearty, home-made Cretan dish. Weekends you may even witness a typical Cretan wedding or a traditional (organized) Cretan night.
Let the attractive landscape of the upland plateau of Lassithi charm you: With its orchards, crop fields, a deep cave, vast mountains and the occasional white-sailed windmill, you get the feeling of driving away from the bustle of the tourist resorts, straight into the tranquility of rural Crete, where life still follows a slower rhythm. Beautiful panoramic views of the Bay of Malia alternate with olive and vine groves along the uphill drive and stunning, scenic views of the plateau.
The attractive, bustling capital of Crete and the Minoan site of Knossos – allegedly home to legendary king Minos – are well worth a visit. Heraklion is Crete’s biggest city and the island’s main gateway. Although it won’t easily cast off its disorderly image, the historic quarter inside the old city walls is anything but that. Here, traces of the past go hand in hand with a modern, cosmopolitan way of life: Modern shopping precincts with boutiques, mainstream shops, alluring cafeterias and taverns, alternate with beautiful historical buildings, sight-seeing attractions and museums. You will leave Heraklion with only the best of impressions.