The Malia Experience

by - 12:00

Ooh ahh Malia - the party central of Crete, the LA of Greece and the first holiday I planned and booked all by my bloody self! That, for me, was a big and exciting step, and now I'm so ready to do the same for all my future adventures!

At the end of June, me and my boyfriend Dave went away to the beautiful island of Crete, to Malia, for a week in the sun. Needless to say, we were not disappointed, and really enjoyed our first proper holiday alone together. Malia was perfect for us, and set the tone for many more holidays together!

With a 4 hour flight, Malia is just about the right distance for a week's holiday. The flight was smooth and only marred by a couple of unhappy babies (is it even a holiday if there aren't crying children on your flight?) and we landed in 31C heat at Heraklion airport. 
The transfer to Malia takes around half an hour and we checked into our hotel before getting a quick briefing from our holiday rep who was really helpful in giving you lots of options for activities without being forceful

After dropping our bags off in our room and changing into some considerably cooler clothes, we went out and explored the main strip which is full of of swanky bars, clubs, a range of restaurants, and all the right 'holiday' shops: in short, Malia is one of your typical 'British-dominated' holiday destinations, but it still manages to hold its own in the majority of its areas.

The old town is situated more inland with beautiful traditional buildings and authentic Cretan restaurants and it feels more like 'true' Greece. Outside of the main strip area of Malia, buildings and resorts become more refined with beautiful palm trees and cactus plants lining every road. It was really beautiful.


Our 2 star hotel (hotel 'El Komi') was simple but totally ideal for what we wanted. It had clean rooms, comfy beds, a good shower and a nice little balcony that faced in towards an internal garden filled with Palm and Orange trees.

Couples were situated in one part of the hotel with groups located in another, which meant that most of the noise didn't travel too much, although if people were really giving it large, you would definitely hear it. But hey - you do realise you're in Malia, right?

The hotel pool was lovely, it had really comfortable sun loungers with some shaded seating areas and a poolside bar for when the sun got a bit too much (which was often as it was 30C+ every day!). For the most part it was easy to get a sun bed though towards the end of the week it did get busier, with more groups of lads turning up. As we went before most colleges/universities would have finished, I think we were lucky to have missed most of the riff-raff.

We found that the beach really wasn't ideal to spend the day on unless you were staying at the hotels which bordered it as it was a very small strip of beach that was filled with loungers/beds that you obviously had to rent. It was perfect for going down to in the evening though, either to watch the sunset or chill on the loungers at 3am, stargazing after your night out.


As expected, the majority of restaurants catered to British tastes but there were a few slightly more upmarket places which did some nice traditional Greek dishes like Moussaka and Greek salads, and everything was very reasonably priced.
Most mornings (I say morning: it was more like 1pm) we went for a fry up at one of the many places that served them for 2.90 euro. These included all the best breakfast items you could want and were a good way of fuelling for the day while also soaking up the dregs of alcohol from the night before.

Dinner was a mix of pizza, seafood, Moussaka and burgers as we tried out the majority of restaurants that were on the strip, as well as one in Heraklion and one in the old town of Malia.
We had a fridge in our hotel room in which we kept water (a necessity), snacks and other drinks which came in really useful and meant we could just have two meals out per day and eat tapas style food at our hotel in between. Alcohol in the supermarkets was ridiculously affordable and most food was the same - I think staying at an apartment would allow for an even lower-cost holiday than we had.


If one of the main reasons you've come to Malia isn't the nightlife, then you've come to the wrong place. With an exciting club scene featuring big names in the DJ and celebrity scene, there's always something on to make your night amazing. If clubs aren't your thing, there are plenty of bars that offer a stylish setting for your '3 for 5 euro' drinks with comfortable seating areas or so much loud music playing that you could just as well be in one of the clubs.

Since last year, the clubs in Malia have started charging for entrance and (having seen inside a couple) we decided it really wasn't worth the money. They were all very small with little room to actually dance and with some entrance fees costing up to 35 euro it really didn't seem worth it. Especially since the bars were so nice and had great drink offers. Pretty much every bar does a '3 drinks for 5 euro' deal and, even though the alcohol is nowhere near as potent, it's a good way to have a cheap night out with some nice cocktails (or Sambuca shots if you're that way inclined!)

The night doesn't really get started until 11pm as most of the clubs don't open until midnight and the bars get busiest around this time too. Most nights we had dinner, got dressed up and then went out to a couple of bars for some cocktails and occasionally a bit of Shisha, we'd watch the footy if it was on (it's suprisingly nicer to watch when you're in 25C heat and have a drink in hand!)  and then usually finish the night by star gazing on the beach or playing cards back at the hotel. We decided early on that we just weren't up for getting absolutely slaughtered every night like the groups of lads out there, but both of us did end up feeling a bit worse for wear a couple of mornings!

Towards the end of the week, we spent an evening in Heraklion which was lovely as it had a much more refined feel to it and there was a lot of older-style architecture as well as some structures which dated back to ancient Greek times! It was only about 45 minutes away by bus and was a nice way to see a bit more of the island and experience some actual culture.


Overall, I'd say that Malia is a really fun place to guarantee a 'proper' holiday: gorgeous sun, palm trees, cheap food and alcohol and friendly people. The only thing that lets it down is the beaches, as it seems that, unless you can drive out of town, there isn't really much room for those who aren't staying in the beach-side resorts. Another thing that was surprising was how many groups of lads are out there compared to groups of girls or couples - the difference is staggering and just makes for a bit of a sausage fest haha. Still, that's to be expected I think!

Price wise it was perfect for me and Dave though. We booked through Thomsons and it cost us around £500 per person for EVERYTHING: flights, transfers, accommodation, food, excursions, alcohol - the lot. That's pretty damn good for a week on a beautiful island. 

I would definitely return to Greece again but I'd like to try out some of the different islands like Mykonos and Santorini, and I think I've had my fill of the typical 'Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents'-type locations that are as messy and crazy as they seem!

Have you been to Malia or somewhere like it? Does it sound like the kind of place you'd want to visit?

Stay inspired!

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