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Every Greek Island has a party hotspot and Malia is Crete’s answer to Ibiza. Providing the perfect backdrop for boozy beach blowouts, it’s a magnet for groups of mates on a holiday bender.
After sunset, the main strip becomes a muddle of late teens staggering between shot bars and twenty-somethings on the rampage for holiday romance.
However, Malia is more than a place to get messy. Following in the footsteps of the Balearics, its bars and clubs are now attracting big-name DJs to play summer sets, elevating it from borderline tacky to the coolest new kid on the beach block.
Crete isn’t all about late nights and loud beats. Scattered with sleepy coastal resorts and mellow beach villages, it’s also a sensational spot to stock up on some Zen.
If your holiday to Crete is all about clearing your head, stick to picturesque little places like Maleme and Kolybari, where evenings are reserved for long meals in locally-run restaurants, barefoot strolls along the sand and cocktails by harbours full of bobbing boats.
For the ultimate getaway, stay in Loutro, a tiny resort accessible only by foot or by boat. Quiet doesn’t even begin to cover it.
If you’re after nightlife laced with local flavour, head for Chania or Rethmynon. Here, islanders outnumber tourists in the nightclubs and restaurants are filled with Cretan families, giving you a glimpse of the real Crete.
In both cities, you’ll find hole-in-the-wall tavernas playing traditional music, cocktail bars for Crete’s bright young things and jumping clubs that never seem to close. It’s hedonism with a cultural edge and a great way to meet to locals.
To find out more about the pre-bar dining scene on the island, visit our eating out in Crete page.