If you are staying at Hersonissos, you should definitely spend some time visiting the lovely surrounding places that stand out due to their uniqueness and beauty. Malia is one of them; it is a village situated a few kilometers away from Hersonissos and almost 30km away from Heraklion Airport, therefore you will need a car from Hersonissos Car Hire, to wander around easily and comfortably.
Malia is known as a large and popular tourist resort, but for the savvier tourists, it is also a place of great historic interest as the third largest Palace of the Minoan Era was discovered here.
If you decide to pay a visit to Malia get ready for a full and very interesting day, starting from the Archaeological Site; start your day trip early, because especially during summer heat and sun may make your exploration harder if you decide to visit the site of the Palace during noon or warmer hours. The archaeological site at Malia offers no shade anywhere, therefore be prepared for a long, but interesting, walk under the sun.
The Palace of Malia
The Minoan Palace of Malia covers a total area of 7,500 sq meters. It is the third largest Minoan Palace, after Knossos and Phaistos, although it was considered a little more provincial than the other two. Its original name is not known; therefore it takes its name from the Malia Village located just 3km away. The ruler of the area was Sarpedon, the son of Zeus and Europa.
The first palace was built in 1900BC and was destroyed in 1700BC, although the newest palace, which we can see today, was built some time after 1450BC. The main Palace featured two floors and several constructions inside: there is central court, a theatre, sanctuaries to the Gods, the Royal chambers and workshops, as well as stores and storage rooms. The excavations brought some caves to light as well; according to the historians these caves were used by the Malians as storage space for food and products.
500m away from the palace, lays the Necropolis of Malia, featuring the royal burial enclosure where archaeologists discovered the famous Bee jewels that are displayed at Heraklion Museum. The entire site is very interesting and impressive and the archaeological work done there is pretty thorough, therefore it is really worth spending a morning wandering around the site.
Once you leave the Palace, you can head to the town of Malia and its renowned beach; you will see numerous hire car, mopeds and quads around, as this place is popular among youngsters that stay in Malia or surrounding areas. After spending some time walking in the archaeological site, the best thing you can do is to visit the nearby beach and enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear blue waters of Malia.
The beach is long and sandy and offers all amenities the modern and young tourists might need: beach bars and clubs, umbrellas and deck chairs, restaurants, beach and water activities and pretty much everything you can think of.
If you are up to some fun and entertainment, you can stay in Malia until the evening, when you can discover why the area is famous for its wild and rich nightlife. Clubs and bars exist everywhere and you can join groups of Brits or Scandinavians dancing and drinking all over the village.
Friendly advice by Car Hire in Hersonissos: If you are driving a car, make sure that you do not drink much and return to your hotel safe and sound after a long and enjoyable day at Malia.