Surely not Malia said friends and family after my daughter and I had booked a last minute cheapie – its a place of nightclubs for Brit boozers and bad behaviour. I’d never heard of it so wondered what I had let myself in for. Well, I need not have worried it turned out to be one of the best holidays.
The hotel was just off the main ‘Malia mile’ but far enough away to miss the noise and was quite a little gem in that it was surrounded by beautifully kept gardens, a small very clean pool and the rooms although fairly basic were very clean and comfortable. Air conditioning was extra but we didn’t bother as we thought in mid June we could leave the balcony door open and this proved to be the case although temperatures did reach 30s most days. Breakfasts were continental style and as the revellers were still sleeping it off we found there were only half a dozen or so taking advantage of what was on offer.
The Malia ‘scene’ streets were lined with nightclubs, restaurants and gift shops all very pleasant and the nightclubs only opened at 10.pm or later and so the town was fairly quiet during the day – quad bikes hire was the thing here and anyone could pick one up for 10 euros a day and go anywhere around the area – unfortunately there were some who just rode them constantly up and down the road, revving up and being macho, but even that didn’t really detract from the fun of being on holiday.
Having walked through the centre of ‘scene’ Malia, you then came down to the beach area again lined with lovely bars and cafes most of which had their own sandy spaces with umbrella and tables and really made a most colourful vista. The locals were extremely friendly and welcoming, snacks and drinks were reasonably priced and it was easy to sit and watch the world go by.
Turn around and face back inland and the views of the mountains were stunning and the interesting thing was that between the various shops and cafes were plots of ground that were cultivated and the lovely red soil and freshly growing vegetables were used by the restaurants for all their dishes.
Not wanting to stay put in one place we took a ride on a visitor ‘happy train’ which took 1.5 hours from one end of Malia Bay to the other and showed us that the other holiday resorts along the coast were much more developed with large complexes and used mainly by Dutch holidaymakers and some German. At the other end of the bay the development petered out altogether and passed the lesser known Malia Palace ruins – another Minoan site – and we arranged to drop off there and pick up the next train which gave us 1.5 hours to immerse ourselves in some archaeology. Not as famous as Knossos but still interesting.
Another day we booked a boat trip from Hersonnissos to Sissi across the bay with lunch on board and swimming off the coast. This was very enjoyable and gave us the opportunity to see the towns from the sea, as well as how dwarfed they all were by the mountains which we were told were twice the height of ours in the UK.
A third trip was a 4×4 safari into the mountains with bbq and although necessarily a bumpy ride in places was a great way to get up and over the landscape, seeing the goats, the coast far below, a bit of history and culture, and a hard climb up and down to see the birthplace of Zeus in the Dikti caves.
The old town of Malia – further up the hill – was a delightful place to stroll around – not much in the way of shops but plenty of real Greek cuisine and all restaurants beautifully kept and colourful with masses of flowers and true hospitality. Eating out in the evenings was a particular highlight of the week and we enjoyed every meal trying out lots of the local specialities.
I am so pleased that I didn’t speak to people first or do my usual research before booking – I don’t think i would have dared to chose this resort but it turned out really well and there was never the slightest problem. I would go back again tomorrow!