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East of Heráklion to Ag. Nikólaos

Aquariums, Mália, Milatos Cave and Dreros

Heraklion and east

East of Heráklion and Amnisós, Europa, once raped on the island by Zeus, gets her revenge on Crete with endless concrete tourist sprawl. Yet there are a few reasons to put on the brakes if you’re after more than booze, sex and footie on telly, especially if you have kids.

But what goes around comes around. The Dorians, pioneer cultural polluters who swamped these shores back in 1100 BC with heavy metal swords, were probably just as silly and tippled even worse.

Beach at Malia, Crete, in September 2019.

Yet the sandy beaches are so big, and so close to the airport (you can be nursing a cocktail on the sands in about an hour of landing, although it won’t be much longer before the city has a new modern airport to the south), that both Chersónisos and Mália also host some of the island’s biggest and fanciest resort complexes, as well as Crete’s first golf course.

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Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Bernard Gagnon, Cayambe, Mark Cartwright,, My old Cadogan guide, Olaf Tausch, Schuppi, Shadowgate, Simon L Kozhin/Кожин Семён Леонидович, Stegop