The coastal town of Malia is Greece’s party capital with thrilling nightlife and a big personality. Although Malia holidays have become most popular for clubbers visiting Crete, the town still functions as a cultural and historical attraction. As a result, the town allures a varied demographic, with sights and sounds to suit those in search of both hedonism and education. The preserved monuments in Elounda and the museums and archaeological sites of Heraklion, maintain the town’s rich history. If you’d prefer to retreat from the lively nightlife, a plethora of nearby villages showcases quaint beaches and scenic beauty.
At first glance Malia is a modern town with towering buildings, with world-class nightlife and activity-fuelled beaches to match. Despite the party credentials, holidays to Malia will also include visits to tiny medieval churches and a secret network of cobbled streets in the hidden old town. For opportunities to relax, you can head to one of the beaches to bask in the sun or visit a laid-back tavern to try the local cuisine.
For a heady mix of wild nightlife, Mediterranean sunshine and stunning beaches, Malia has it all. Spend your days playing games on the magnificent beaches, discover the fascinating archaeology or explore the local culture. When the sun goes down you can get drinks at a beach bar and then hit the strip for your choice of buzzing pubs, bars and clubs.
Top Hotels in Malia
Primavera Beach Apartments
Stella Maria Apartments
Real Palace Studios
Malia Mare Hotel
At a Glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 4h 20m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
For a true taste of Malia, visit the oasis of Mylos on the eastern edge of old town. With strings of garlic hanging from the walls, and lush trees full of flowers and leaves in the garden, this restaurant is famed for its psito dishes, which are roasted oven meats, cooked in the garden’s wood-fired oven.
Get to know the history of Malia at the Old Town. Wander through the narrow streets and explore small squares, old churches, café and restaurants that give a taste of times gone by. Visit the oldest church in Malia, Panagia Galatiani, built using mud mixed with animal milk from local shepherds. You may also want to go inside the church at Agios Nektariosa, where there are impressive wall paintings to view. Another stunning church to check out is the Venetian Agios Ioannis which is surrounded by bougainvillea. In Old Town’s picturesque square is the Agios Dimitrios church, as well as an old kiosk from the Second World War, used to provide work for wounded soldiers.
Just outside of Malia is the Minoan Palace of Malia, dating back to 1700BC. The site includes the recently discovered Hypostyle Crypt, the necropolis, the First Palace and the Second Palace where many delightful Minoan artefacts are still kept.
Wine and Dine
Cretan cuisine makes use of the finest foods available in the Mediterranean. Using fresh ingredients and pure olive oil that is highly regarded, the Cretan Diet is very simple. Seasonal ingredients that are locally grown are common in many of Malia’s restaurants, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. You can wash down your food with local wine which is produced at boutique wineries in Crete.
During your holiday to Malia, you will have a choice of traditional and British restaurants that are conveniently located by the beachside, along with pubs and open-air bars. In the nearby area of Agios Nikolaos, you can indulge in fresh food and delicious wines.
Near Potamos Beach, on the west of the Malia archaeological site is the beachside Taverna Kalyva, with an ever changing menu that serves simple seafood and mayirefta dishes. Another great taverna to visit is Stablos & Elisabeth on Old Malia’s main square. Serving Greek and international foods, you can enjoy your dinner on the rooftop garden.
Despite being well known for its club scene, Malia offers a lot of activities for families. From fun water sports off the Bay of Malia to theme parks, this town has something for all ages. Explore Malia and surrounding villages on the Happy Train which offers a more relaxed way to see the sights.
Take the whole family to the Star Beach water park, only ten minutes from Malia, that offers exhilarating rides and slides for all ages. Another water park in the area is the Aqua Plus park which has adventurous rides and a bubbly pool.
If you and the little ones would prefer to stay dry then take a twenty-minute drive down to Gouves, to the Dinosauria Exhibition Centre. Here you will find a host of 30 different dinosaur species from all periods of the Mesozoic era and other prehistoric animals. You will also learn about the life of dinosaurs from films in the 5D and 7D Cinema.
Action and Adventure
Off the beaten track, Malia has an array of adventurous activities for you to enjoy. From walking to rock climbing and caving, holidays in Malia offer all the action.
You can hike or bike through rugged landscapes, passing gorges to explore the region’s countryside. Take a challenging mountain bike tour that leads along off-road tracks through the mountainous region of Lassithi with breathtaking scenery.
The caves in the Malia region are closely linked to Cretan mythology, especially the Dikteon Cave which is also known as the Cave of Zeus, said to be where the god was born. The deep system of caves are located on the slopes of Mount Ida and feature beautiful stalagmites and stalactites down a winding, sheer path.
Hop aboard the Black Rose pirate ship on a tour from the port of Hersonissos. Float through the clear waters of the Cretan Sea, passing through Sissi, Malia and Stalis, whilst watching out for glimpses of dolphins and sea turtles. You will get to explore the caves at St George’s bay with snorkels and enjoy an on board barbecue lunch.
Life's a Beach
On your holiday in Malia, you will be blessed with six irresistible beaches that offer something for everyone. With five kilometres of golden sand, the beaches are lined with restaurants and bars. If you’re in search of peace and sun after a night out on the main strip, then head east for a quieter atmosphere. If you want some action then there is a great choice of water sports on offer, including jet skiing, water skiing and scuba diving.
Malia beach is long with clean and inviting sands and also has plenty of sunbeds and parasols to hire. Glozanie Beach offers complete exhilaration with jet-skis and banana boats for rent. Further down on Sun Beac, there is a children’s lido, sun loungers and umbrellas. At the end of the stretch of sand are the clear-blue waters of the undisturbed Potomas Beach, which offers a quieter vibe popular with locals.
For sunset to sunrise partying, you will always have an unforgettable night on your Malia holidays. Malia is known as Crete's 'nightlife capital', with a vibrant party atmosphere. There is a collection of late night clubs and bars offering a wide range of drinks and music.
Head to Malia’s main strip, Beach Road and begin your night at bars and clubs such as WKD, Candy Club and Bananas. Big name DJs provide the soundtrack to summer, along with foam parties and laser shows for a multisensory clubbing experience. Many of the nightclubs open at midnight, so the nearby bars, with indoor and outdoor areas will quench your thirst and prepare you for a lengthy night.
If you fancy a low key night, then there are relaxed bars on Dimokratias Street that runs straight to the beach. The Mean Fiddler is a popular haunt with tourists as its music and dancing has an Irish flavour, whereas Malia’s two main clubs Apollo and Zoo offer huge dance floors and podiums.
A holiday to Malia is perfect for those looking for an exciting and fun-filled beach holiday destination with their special someone. If you and your partner want fun under the sun, then this resorts offers a choice of beaches that will provide you with both pristine sands and transparent waters. At night Malia transforms into a hotspot for entertainment, with dozens of bars, clubs, restaurants, and pubs lining the streets of this Greek town.
For the ultimate relaxation, and unique experience you and your loved one can swim to the small islet opposite the main beach of Malia. Here you will find the little chapel of the Transfiguration, as well as some springs on the beach.
At the Lyrarakis Estate is a family winery, outside of Malia. The vineyard produces high quality wines including rare local varieties and single variety wines, as well as reviving two ancient Cretan varieties. The winery’s romantic setting, surrounded by the vineyards and the Lassithi Mountains, allow you to enjoy nature while drinking delicious local wine.
Malia is the oldest inhabited area of Greece and its islands. A big part of the area’s rich culture is its production of olive oil, which is the symbol of Crete. The olive farms shape the stunning countryside, from which Malia produces around 600 tons of olive oil a year.
There are several archaeological sites that you will be able to explore on your holiday in Malia. You can visit the remains that are evidence of the glorious Minoan civilization that flourished here 4,000 years ago, turning Malia into an important trade and mercantile centre with great political and economic power.
In the centre of the town is the impressive Central Court measuring 48m lengthways and 22m across. Archaeologists discovered one of the Kernos Stones on its western side, which is thought to be used for religious purposes.
Top Malia holiday destinations
Like the sound of Malia but want to explore some more of the region? Here are some other great destinations you can find in Crete: