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If you’re planning a mad bender with a bunch of mates, Malia makes the perfect backdrop for a hotel stay in Crete. Crete’s party hotspot, it’s somewhere to go hard until you go home.
A cocktail of appealingly cheap three-star Crete hotels, all-night bars, Irish pubs and clubs billing big name DJs: Malia is paradise for the young, free and single. Home to six golden beaches buzzing with jet skis and banana boats, you can sweat out the hangover by day and do it all again by night.
For a break from the hedonism, head for Malia’s old town, a maze of cobbled streets and dinky local cafes.
Find out more about the after-dark scene in Malia – and what’s available elsewhere on the island – on our Crete nightlife page.
Circling the shore of Lake Voulisemi, Aghios Nikolaos is a mixture of luxury hotels and local charm. Budget getaways are also possible, with plenty of cheap hotels in Crete lining the streets around this picturesque body of water.
The waterfront is edged with candy-coloured cafes and traditional tavernas, all perfect for people-watching over a chilled glass of wine (or three). Evenings are deliciously low key, with fishing boats bobbing in the water and live music drifting from a handful of bars.
Beyond the lake, you’ll find a string of small beaches just begging to be explored, so hop in a hire car and find your own personal sunny spot in Crete.
Maleme is a snoozy slice of paradise surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. A three-kilometre golden bay sandwiched between the villages of Tavronitis and Gerani, it’s a great place to get away from it all.
Home to just 800 villagers, a couple of four-star Crete resorts, a few cheap B&Bs and a handful of tavernas, you’ll be shooting the breeze with locals before you know it.
Pretty as a picture, it’s packed with authentic charm. If peace is your priority, there’s nowhere better in the whole of Crete.
Rethymnon might be Crete’s third largest city, but it moves at a deliciously slow pace. A hodgepodge of Venetian and Turkish influences, it’s a place where the past bumps into the present around every bend.
Wander along the palm-lined promenade that backs the beach, play pirates in the fortress and feast on seafood along the old harbour at sunset. With a modern buzz, bags of local flavour and several dreamy beaches on its doorstep, it’s a brilliant place for romantic breaks and family holidays alike.
Planning to push the boat out in Crete? If so, hotfoot it over to Elounda, a playground of the upper crust.
Built around a colourful harbour perched on a natural lagoon, it’s probably the most exclusive resort in Crete in 2016, with a sprinkling of five-star hotels, luxury spas, trendy villas and modern apartments.
The scenery is spectacular, with views over to haunting Spinalonga Island and two Blue Flag beaches.