Introducing Maleme holidays 2019 / 2020
Maleme is a relaxed little seaside town overlooking a long shingle beach on the northern coast of Crete, a 20-minute drive from the enchanting city of Chania, and just 10 minutes by car from the lively resort of Platanias. This quiet little resort is particularly popular with families and couples, thanks to its laid-back charm, pristine beach and sprinkling of traditional cafés and tavernas. The beach is long and well-equipped and some sections are a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead turtle. Maleme is a great base for exploring the region, whether you want to do some hiking in the White Mountains, visit the beautiful and historic city of Chania, or seek out secret coves on the Rodopos peninsula.
Most popular hotels in Maleme
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 55m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Maleme is charming, low-key resort on the northern coast of Crete, just a 20-minute drive east of the beautiful city of Chania. It has a long shingle beach with plenty of sun beds and facilities for water sports, and sections of it are a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead turtles. The little village has enough shops, bakeries and restaurants to make your holiday enjoyable and hassle-free, and there’s plenty of nightlife in Platanias, a lively resort located 10 minutes away by taxi. There are lots of pretty and authentic villages to explore in the hills behind Maleme, where you’ll find lots of fantastic hikes and walks. Chania, which is prettily arranged around a gorgeous Venetian harbour, is perfect for a day trip, and kids will enjoy the boat excursions and water park.
Maleme has a good choice of cafés and tavernas, many of which are traditional, family-run affairs that serve delicious Cretan cuisine. You can enjoy some fabulous fresh seafood, or go for one of the typical lamb dishes, such as tsigaristo, chunks of lamb tossed in a frying pan with olive oil and onions, or lamb with stamnagathi, a popular wild green, and lemon. Then there are the refreshing Greek salads, prepared with the island’s beautifully fresh and abundant produce and topped with a local cheese such as mizithra. For dessert, go for a honey-drizzled slice of baklava and finish up with a glass of raki.
Tranquil and relaxed, Maleme is the perfect destination for a sun, sea and sand holiday with all the family. Kids will enjoy the lovely long beach (although beach shoes are a good idea, because of the shingle), and the chance to snorkel around the coast. You might be lucky and see some of the hatchlings make their dash to the sea at the loggerhead turtle nesting site. There are plenty of child-friendly restaurants and cafés, plus a useful pharmacy and shops. And you can pop into nearby Platanias, a bigger resort, to enjoy a host of water sports. Maleme is a great base for exploring the tiny villages in the hills, where you’ll find lots of wonderful picnic spots, and it’s only 20 minutes’ drive into Chania. This is a gorgeous city with a charming Venetian harbour, and it has a host of family-friendly attractions, from boat excursions to a water park.
Action & Adventure
Maleme is a peaceful little spot, but it makes a great base for a host of adventures, whether you’re into hiking (Crete is a superb base for walking) or water sports. While there are few water sports available in the village, it’s a popular snorkelling spot, particularly around the sunken German warplane located just off shore. There are several diving schools in the area, including in the nearby resort of Platanias, which run excursions to some of the best dive sites on the craggy northern coast of Crete. Inland, you’ll find a host of excellent hiking trails, whether you’re looking for easy walks between traditional villages, or want to do some more demanding hikes in the magnificent White Mountains.
Maleme beach is a long stretch of shingle lapped by turquoise waters. It’s long enough to have plenty of space, even in the height of summer, particularly if you head west. It’s just one of a whole string of beaches that extend for more than 10 miles around the Bay of Chania. Maleme has plenty of sun beds and parasols for rent, and there are lots of tavernas and cafés lined up along the seafront promenade. Although the beach has no facilities for water sports, it’s a great place to snorkel, particularly around the sunken German warplane located just offshore. You’ll find plenty of aquatic activities in Platanias, the nearest big resort, which is a 10-minute drive away.
Maleme is a very quiet little town, but it has enough nightlife options to keep you happily entertained on balmy summer nights. You could simply relax at a beachfront taverna, soaking up the sunsets as you sip an ice-cold drink, or else head for one of the smattering of livelier bars, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two in the company of the friendly locals. There is plenty of nightlife in nearby Platanias, a larger resort, which has a good choice of bars and clubs if you want to let your hair down. If you’ve been sightseeing in gorgeous Chania, you could hang around after nightfall to take in the city’s fabulous rooftop cocktail bars and buzzy nightclubs.
Maleme retains all the authentic charm of an old-fashioned Greek village, which makes it perfect for a romantic getaway with your partner. You can soak up the sun on the beach – which is plenty long enough if you want to find a secluded corner just for the two of you – and enjoy long, languid lunches and romantic dinners in the pretty, traditional tavernas. There’s just enough nightlife to keep things lively without getting too hectic, or you could pop into Platanias or Chania if you want a wider range of nightspots. Head into the hills to find some beautiful walking trails and picnic spots, ideal for a romantic stroll.
History buffs will be interested in Maleme’s key role during the Battle of Crete (1941), when locals heroically resisted German paratroopers trying to occupy the strategically important airfield located in the town. There’s a moving German war cemetery with beautiful sea views just above the village. Maleme also makes a great base for visiting Chania, the former capital of Crete, which sits around a handsome Venetian harbour and is full of elegant mansions and museums. The oldest part of Chania is Kasteli, which is still wrapped in 12th-century walls, and contains the vestiges of an ancient Minoan settlement.