Malia lies 37 km east of Heraklion and is a popular destination, with excellent infrastructure and vibrant nightlife that attracts thousands of visitors each summer. There are several beaches in the area to accommodate all visitor needs and preferences. For those who prefer to avoid or escape the crowds at the main beach of Malia, Potamos beach further to the east is an excellent option. It is named after a small river that flows there forming a wetland of great importance. The beach is some 700 m long, with sand, blue crystalline waters, some rocky outcrops at the edges and is framed by tamarisk trees all around. If you visit at the start of autumn, you might even encounter the white sea-lilies that grow in the sand, heralding the beginning of the autumn season. Most of the beaches in the area are well organized and that is true for Potamos too. You will find sunbeds, umbrellas, toilets, showers and plenty of water-sports. Because of its northern exposure, the beach is frequently exposed to the winds. However, a lifeguard is present to watch over the well-being of the swimmers. While in Malia, do visit the archaeological site of the Minoan palace and its town, which is close to the east end of the beach. It is the third-largest Minoan palace complex, and the first traces of human settlements date back to the Neolithic Age. In the Minoan era, it was an important centre but probably had a more provincial character and role compared to the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos.
The presence of the archaeological site has restricted all hotels and similar tourism-related developments to the western end of the beach. There is also a small space for fishing boats and small private yachts and boats. In Malia, you will find luxury hotel complexes, a variety of different rooms and apartments for rent, tavernas, restaurants, bars and a huge range of shops for all your holiday needs. This is a great area to base yourself in if you want to explore more of central Crete that is also well connected to the southern coast. Whether you are after stunning beaches, culture, hiking or just indulging in Cretan delicacies you are guaranteed to have a great time.