The historical village of Maleme lies 16 km west of Chania and essentially forms part of the great tourist area extending from Chania in the east to Kolymbari in the west.

 

Just 4 kilometres from the commercial seaside resorts of Platanias and Agia Marina, Maleme has a more rural, quaint atmosphere, with houses spread along the road and landscape marked by countless olive groves.

 

Maleme is best known as a landing site for German paratroopers invading Crete in 1941, at the start of the Battle of Crete (Operation Mercury) during World War II. The heroic resistance of the local Cretans, including women and children who fought with any weapons they had at hand, inflicted many casualties among the German invaders and many of them lost their life and are buried in the German War Cemetery located on the hill, just above the Mistral.

How the Battle of Crete Changed the Course of World War II

 

On the way to the German War Cemetery there is also a Late Minoan tholos tomb which was accidentally revealed and then looted at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War II a bomb caused the partial destruction of its roof and the backfill of the chamber. It is a significant funerary monument excavated in 1966 by the curator Mr. C. Davaras and partly restored in 1970. It dates back to the Late Minoan III A-B era (14th-13th c. B.C.).

 

A mini market and a rent-a-car shop are located right next to the Mistral. A short walk toward the centre of the village there is a two floor supermarket Synka with an ATM at the entrance. 

 

The beach of Maleme is remarkable. It is wide, a mixture of pebbles and sand and quite large in length. You can walk or cycle on the large promenade along the beach, enjoy lunch or a refreshing drink on the seafront tavernas and cafeterias. Usually they have umbrellas and sunbeds that are free to use by customers. The beach in front of the Mistral is sparsely used by locals and has a few Tamarisk trees for shade. 

 

The lively touristic resorts of Platanias and Agia Marina, with their sandy beaches and clubs along the seaside, are just a short bus ride from the Mistral. A large array of shops and restaurants stretch along the road between the two resorts.

 

Also a short bus ride, but in the opposite direction (toward West), lies a charming small fishing village – Kolymbari, with a quiet atmosphere and laid back cafeterias and tavernas on the waterfront, most serving delicious fish and seafood. The monastery of Gonia is located 1 km north of Kolimbari in a wonderful place with a magnificent view to the bay of Chania. It was built in the 17th century, in the Venetian fortress style and has a small museum collection of icons, books and manuscripts, liturgical vestments and heirlooms.

 

Another way to explore the local area is by Little fun train – with 10 different routes among inland villages and interesting facts and landscapes that make Crete unique. You can book trips at the reception.