Malia – Sightseeing, Amazing Beachlife and Parties till Dawn

Malia is a popular beach resort in Crete, located just 35 km east of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. It is located on the outskirts of Mt Selena on a fertile plain with many springs. The long, sandy beach of Malia is famous among young tourists for its wild nightlife. Nearby you will find the ruins of the famous ancient palace of Malia.

The narrow street in the old part of Malia, Crete, Greece
Narrow street in the old part of Malia

In old days, Malia was just a small village on the coast, but it has seen a rapid growth in recent years, and today it is a popular tourist resort, especially among young tourists. It is famous for its huge beach and wild nightlife, as young people party till dawn during the summer months. In the early morning hours, you will see young people staggering their way back to their hotels.

Landscape of beautiful coast during sunset near Malia, Crete, Greece
Landscape of beautiful coast during sunset near Malia

In Malia town there are two main roads meeting at the town center, at the church of Agios Nektarios. One of them is a pedestrian street and it connects the old village with the beach. Here you will find countless clubs and bars where thousands of young people party every night. Along the other main road, vertical to the first you will find shops, cafes, banks, supermarkets, clinics, etc.

Young woman reading a book at the beach while the sun rise, Hersonissos, Crete Greece

Book Your Stay with Discount!


Where is Malia in Crete?

Minoan map of Crete, showing the location of Malia
Minoan map of Crete, showing the location of Malia

Malia is a coastal town which is part of the municipality Hersonissos. It lies 34 km east of Heraklion, the Cretan capital city. The town has a population of nearly 4000, located in the northeast corner of Heraklion Prefecture. The town is a tourist attraction, primarily for its significant archaeological site and nightlife. The Minoan town ruins lie three km east of the site and cover an area of about 1 km². The original name for the town is unknown.

Malia – things to see

Aerial view of the ruins of the Minoan palace in Malia, Crete, Greece
Aerial view of the ruins of the Minoan palace in Malia

Malia is famous for the archaeological site of the third-largest Minoan palace in Crete.

The Palace of Malia

The palace of Malia, dating from the Middle Bronze Age, was destroyed by an earthquake during the Late Bronze Age; Knossos and other sites were also destroyed at that time. The palace was later rebuilt toward the end of the Late Bronze Age. Most of the ruins visible today date from this second period of construction. The palace features a giant central courtyard, 48m x 23m in size. On the south side are two sets of steps leading upwards and a maze of tiny rooms. Also here is a strange carved stone called a kernos stone, which looks like a millstone with a cup attached to the side of it. On the north side of the courtyard were storage rooms with giant earthenware pithos jars, up to two metres tall. These were used for holding grain, olive oil and other liquids; the floor of these rooms has a complex drainage system for carrying away spilled liquids.

The palace of Malia was discovered in 1915 by Hadzidakis, a Greek archaeologist and was fully excavated a few years later by the French School at Athens in collaboration with Greek scholars. What has recently been discovered is that the palace was surrounded by a Minoan town. Excavation is ongoing. Important parts of the old and new excavations are covered by a series of large semi-transparent roofs, which protect them from the elements. In places tourists are allowed to wander among the ruins; in others, walkways allow passage above.

Grain silos in Malia Minoan Palace, Crete, Greece
Grain silos in Malia Minoan Palace

There are rooms which have been identified as metal workshops, ceramic workshops and meeting rooms; there is also a large residential dwelling with on-suite bath, which is similar to a design at Phaistos, both taking advantage of expansive views.

The famous Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains on the island of Crete in Greece. Tourists walking along the hiking trail ahead crossing the dry riverbed.

Samaria Gorge


Modern Malia

The Malia Strip during the day, Hersonissos, Crete
The Malia Strip, Hersonissos

Today Malia is a holiday resort, tourism is the main economic activities in the town, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, gift shops, bars and nightclubs. Malia has become one of the most popular tourist locations on Crete, and one of the most popular in Europe. It is mainly visited by young British tourists.

Malia Main Strip

Malia has earned its name as one of the leading spots for nightlife in Europe because of the events and big name DJs. The Main Strip is home to many bars, clubs, taverns and restaurants. This is supported by the many hotels and apartments in Malia and the immediate area. Malia has a fine sandy beach which starts from the bottom of the strip and continues towards the East near the Minoan palace of Malia.

Malia Beach Guide

Malia would never have become a famous holiday resort without its sandy beaches.
  • Malia beach – is the eastern part of the 6 km long bay starting at Stalis. It is a wide beach with fine sand and shallow water. It is a very popular beach, tending to get quite crowded. The beach is fully organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sports. You might even endulge to some extreme services like massage, beach gym, pool bars at the hotels, you name it.
Aegan sea and Malia beach, Crete, Greece
Malia beach
  • Stalis (or Stalida) differs from Maila in the way that Stalis mainly attracts families and things are a lot quieter here. The resort of Stalis is well organized, with large and small hotels, restaurants, bars and taverns. You will find an ATM and a pharmacy, as well. Stalis is located 30km east of Heraklion, between Malia and Hersonissos. The beach is long and sandy with shallow water, lying just beside the seaside road. The beach extends all the way to Malia in the east. Stalis beach is divided into two by a short rocky cape. Stalis beach is organized with umbrellas, showers, lifeguard, water sports, beach volley courts, changing rooms, and service at the beach. An afternoon walk along Stalis beach is a must! You will also find a small colony of Cretan Date Palms. The bus from Heraklion stops on the Old National Road, just 500 m from the beach.
The islet of Afendis Christos from the beach at Malia, Hersonissos, Crete
The islet of Afendis Christos from the beach at Malia, Hersonissos
  • Potamos beach – is long and sandy, well organized, but mostly less crowded than Malia main beach. Due to the archaeological site this region, especially the eastern part is not as developed touristically. However, west of Potamos beach, you will find several beach hotels with small sandy coves.

The traditional village of Krassi

If you rent a car, you should visit the traditional village of Krassi. It is around 15 min. drive north of Malia. Along the way you will cross a beautiful gorge with oak trees and carobs. The village landmark is a huge plane tree in Krasi central square. Drink your coffee here, enjoy your lunch in one of the village taverns and go for a stroll in the alleys. Lastly, at the square you will find a spring with clean cold water.

off-roading in Greece, 4x4, land rover safari

Crete Inland 4×4 Safari


4×4 Safari Inland

This could be the most exciting day of your holiday in Crete. You are guaranteed to have a day full of information about rural Crete, opportunities for photographing breathtaking scenery and getting in touch with the local life. The best way to witnessing Crete’s wildlife which most people never get to know first hand. The drivers are most willing to share their great knowledge with a sense of humor, making your day one that will highlight your holidays.

Travel to Greece by plane

Flights Worldwide


Weather and climate in Malia Crete

Average montly temperatures in °C and average rainfall in mm in Malia Crete