Introducing holidays to Sissi
If you fancy the Cretan weather, but don’t want to go wild in one of the island’s famously lively resorts then check out peaceful, family-friendly Sissi on the north coast of Greece’s largest island.
Sissi is still very Brit friendly, while maintaining its character as a traditional Cretan fishing village on some of the best coastline in the Mediterranean. If you fancy a change from its quieter attractions, then head west to the famous party town of Malia, or just a little further along the coast to the island’s capital, Heraklion.
Sissi is a place to take the kids, with its protected beach guaranteeing calm waters for smaller swimmers. In fact, there’s a good choice of beaches nearby, including one specialising in snorkelling with an offshore island to explore.
Nightlife is laid-back and on a manageable scale, more taverna than super club, and, if you fancy some time away from the beach, head inland to check out the barren mountains of the interior or explore the historical sites around Heraklion.
Life’s a beach
Sissi’s more of a harbour town than a beach resort. Take the short walk to Boufos for a small, sandy beach that can get crowded and Malia, with its huge famous sandy beaches and tons of water sport facilities is only around 3 miles away.
Milatos Beach to the east is small but good for swimmers. Slightly further afield, you’ll love Vai Beach, which as well as good sands and clean water boasts Europe’s largest palm tree plantation, reportedly about 5,000 of the tropical beauties are found here for your shading delight. When you take a trip to Heraklion, have a look at the enormous Tymbaki Beach, which mixes pebbles and sand with some good taverna-style restaurants to retreat to. Or close to Agios Nikolaoas – another good local resort if you’re after facilities - you’ll love Istro Beach, with its child-friendly waters.
If you’re into partying, you’ll love the proximity of Malia. Not only has the resort got some of the north coast’s best beaches, thronged with water sport opportunities by day, by night, (to be honest, by day too) it becomes Crete’s party capital. That can mean big name DJs to rival Ibiza, but Malia’s not one-dimensional, there’s also a pretty old town, quieter beaches, and traditional Greek life to explore.
Heraklion is not much further down the coast, and is a million miles away from a sleepy tourist town – you’ll definitely find a living, busy, authentic city here. The Archaeological Museum is, as you’d expect on Crete, of fantastic quality. There’s more modern history too, with Venetian fortifications enclosing the prettiest parts of the town. If you want to go shopping, head for the Platía Eleftherías, the city’s main square.
Knossos is a must see if you’ve got an ounce of history lover in you. It’s the former centre of the Minoan civilisation – home of the original labyrinth and the myth of the Minotaur – and has been remarkably well preserved.
Crete has a very proud sense of its own identity, and you can explore that – and enjoy beautiful local agricultural products - at villages like Vrahasi and Epanosissi or on the little island of Spinalonga off shore. You’ll find a friendly welcome and a way of life that’s remained little changed for many years.