The beach at Anissaras is the resort’s main fixture. It’s mostly a rocky stretch of coast, but there are some man-made sandy patches beside the big waterfront hotels. Along the beach, you’ll find sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as a handful of beach bars dishing up quick snacks and cocktails.
Cut into the coastline are a number of small, rocky coves sheltering pools of water that are safe for kids to splash around in. As for the sea itself, it’s rife with water-sporting activities, as there’s a local diving centre that’ll help school you in the art of scuba diving and snorkelling.
The shores at Anissaras are connected to a number of smaller resorts on Crete’s northern coast. Walk in any direction and you’re bound to come across a new set of sands, like Analipsi, Gouves to the west, and Hersonissos to the east.
Relaxation is the main priority of most holiday-goers in Anissaras. Days here are spent stretching out on the sand, and the biggest challenge you’ll face is deciding what cocktail to order next. The hotels are largely self-contained, so many people don’t feel the need to leave. But should you want to get out and explore your surroundings, Anissaras borders a number of resorts offering up glimpses into the Cretan lifestyle.
Up into the hillside are Koutouloufari and Piskopiano, two traditional villages, whose stone buildings and narrow alleyways house family-run tavernas and local shops. Gouves is another local town that’s split into a modern beach area and laid-back old town, but if you hire a car, your options multiply to also include Gournes, Gouves’ twin sister. That’s where you’ll find the Cretquarium, the island’s premier aquarium home to more than 300 species of underwater life.
The vibrant town of Hersonissos is just beyond Anissaras’ boundaries – some people even refer to the smaller town as Hersonissos’ wealthy suburb. Its centre is only a 15-minute drive away, or a brisk coastal walk.
Hersonissos is one of Crete’s most popular towns – it comes packed with three waterparks, three beaches whose waves are alive with watersports and a beautiful harbour.
Some of the best shopping on the island can be found in Hersonissos, whose beachfront features designer brands and quirky boutiques, but nothing quite surpasses the town’s nightlife. It’s the area’s main draw, as holiday-goers here have their pick of swanky beach clubs and friendly local pubs with a Greek twist.