Crete

Have you ever been on a holiday and felt immediately at home? After (approx.) 30 minutes drive from Heraklion airport is the small resort of Stalis (Stalida). Nestled between the busier resorts of Hersonissis and Malia, this resort provides the perfect balance between relaxation and stimulation.

There are many hotels and complexes to choose from, and I have tried a few, but we luckily landed a true gem with the ‘small and friendly’ Moonlight Hotel in 2013. Which is why we didn’t hesitate to rebook on our return in August 2017. Run by a lovely Greek couple, George and Maria, they couldn’t look after you better. George is always on hand at reception – no request too big! Maria is ready each morning for breakfast with an array of lovingly prepared hot and cold options. After breakfast, Maria is also who will make your (recently refurbished) room spic and span.

In the evenings you have the bar situated at the front of the hotel which is run by the extremely helpful, friendly and knowledgeable Bojan and Simon (brothers). The relaxing atmosphere at the Moonlight Bar is a welcome change to the madness that is Malia (if you venture that way…) We always schedule in one Mad-Malia night in each of our 2 weeks in our attempt to, at 30 years old, remain ‘down with the kids’! I will stress though that a pool/beach day is required following this in order to recover from all the shots/drinks offers taken up the night before.

Excursions

We aim to revisit Stalis every 3-4 years and this began in 2010 (with just two of us … we hadn’t met the other two yet – see future blog post for details!), followed by 2013 and then 2017. We drew up a list of places to visit/excursions to take up whilst we visit and every time we visit we hear about or notice new places or experiences we want to try!

I wont go into too much detail on each activity/excursion we have taken part in but I will list you the ‘must do’ (in our opinion.)

Spinalonga

A former leper colony. A must visit AND try, if you can, to read ‘The Island’ By Victoria Hislop prior to your visit as it will just make the place come to life. This tour included visits to Agios Nikolaos with its fresh water lake and Elounda.

Chrissi Island

VERY hot but a beautiful beach. Famed for filming of bounty adverts back in the day.

Santorini

Not a cheap excursion and it is a very long, full day but we thoroughly enjoyed this excursion and the beauty of the picture perfect island towns such as the famous Greek yoghurt adverts filmed in Oia.

Star Beach resort in Hersonissis

We always walk from Stalis to Hersonissis whilst we are there as it is a lovely walk and we stop for lunch along the way. We walk along the coast and end up at Star Beach. Water slides and parties if you want them plus bungee jumping and other water sports available here. Buzzing atmosphere.

Star Beach resort in Hersonissis

We always walk from Stalis to Hersonissis whilst we are there as it is a lovely walk and we stop for lunch along the way. We walk along the coast and end up at Star Beach. Water slides and parties if you want them plus bungee jumping and other water sports available here. Buzzing atmosphere.

Horse Riding

We do this every year we visit and we ALWAYS visit Nikolaos at Amarillis Stables because we KNOW his horses are his life and well looked after. A leisurely ride along the coast or a full day riding in the mountains are both on offer and both WELL worth it.

Heraklion

It was our first time visiting Heraklion this year and it was a recommendation from bar man Bojan. SO easy to do – just get the bus (about 4 Euros) and after 30 minutes you have arrived. During this day we visited the Palace of Knossos, town centre for some shopping, museums and the Venetian fortress. We didn’t realise but there was so much to do/see we ended up getting the bus back at 7pm.

‘Bikini Beach’

This was a stop on the bus to Heraklion from Stalis that we noticed people were getting off here so we made a point of doing the same later in our holiday. The beaches around Stalis and surrounding areas are small and can be crowded with sun beds taking up space. This beach was vast and you would never be tripping over anyone here.

Malia Old Town

Shut in the daytime/ghost town but in the evening it wakes up and there are some gorgeous tavernas to try.

Red Lion Bar

I am very much a stickler for avoiding ‘English pubs’ when abroad … however, the staff and customers (regulars and new) make this place stand out. We tried each night to attend at least the bingo and karaoke but sometimes we even made it for the quiz. Billy and his staff will welcome you as friends and look after you well.

Food wise there are SO many great tavernas and restaurants to choose from – we aim to eat at somewhere different each night and choose our favourite for our final night. That HAD to be Creta Restaurant where Lefteris will produce the most phenomenal cocktails presented in the most imaginative ways (edible glitter!!!!!) and you will NEVER complain about the portion size!

There is so much more to talk about with regards to Crete and Stalis but it would turn more into a book than a blog post. If you want a great location, great weather, lovely people, great food, history, views … to name a few – then Stalis is the place to be!

Now I know how much I rave about the place and how at home I feel when I am there – I also know I still have lists of places to explore on the island when we return but I still couldn’t be one of the people who return to the same place year on year. Call it ‘wanderlust’ if you like but there are just too many other interesting places in the World to discover and experiences I want to have first (while I can!).

Thanks,

D.I.N.K.Y

(Double Income No Kids Yet)