14 kilometres of beaches
While Istron Kalo Chorio may have its own complicated name, the town makes things simple when it comes to its beaches. It’s treated to an incredible 14 kilometres of coast, which are broken into three beaches dotted with secluded coves.
The first is the aptly-named Golden Beach – locally known as Voulisma Beach – which is the most popular of the bunch for families and sunbathers, with honey-coloured sands and rows of sunbeds.
The second is Silver Beach – also called Agios Panteleimonas Beach or Church Beach – which gets its second nickname from the small, whitewashed church located on its shores. It’s known for getting its fair share of wind, making it a top spot for windsurfing. The final beach is Bronze Beach, or Karavostasi Beach, which is made up of pebbled shores, and is topped with a popular taverna.
Olive grove strolls
In the daytime, both Istron and Kalo Chorio keep things chilled out with afternoons of coastal snoozing and walks through the olive groves lining the hillside. The town of Istron is located atop what was once a Minoan village, so there’s always something unique to discover when strolling through the lush terrain.
For an insider look into this part of Crete, nearby resort Aghios Nikolaos offers a wealth of opportunities for you to live like locals. It can be found along the coast, which means your beach selection multiplies, adding the possibility of scuba diving and snorkelling to your holiday schedule, plus a vibrant port that’s lined with tavernas.
There are olive oil farms and herb gardens you can explore, where you’ll learn the secrets of Crete’s cuisine, and endless sightseeing tours to join. You can set out on foot or aboard a cartoonish train, by boat or atop a quad bike at heart-racing speeds.
Local dining and home-grown treats
For most restaurants in Crete, the location comes first, and those in Istron Kalo Chorio are no different. Many tavernas choose their locales for the view, which means that no matter where you dine, you’ll almost always have the beach within your sights, whether that’s from the sand or up into the hillside.
Also, like most eateries in this region, the cuisine is largely Greek, and the owners make a huge effort at ensuring their ingredients are locally-sourced and always fresh. Many of the restaurants here serve homemade wine and raki, as well as home-grown veggies.
The resort is home to a handful of bars scattered along the coast and into the mainland, each of which offer fairly laid-back nights. A large ex-pat community mixes with locals, helping to create an energetic atmosphere, with live music, karaoke and sports on TV. There are also a couple of pool bars, where you can get your suntan on as you sip from a cool cocktail.
When the going gets quiet, Crete’s largest city is only a 30-minute drive from Istron Kalo Chorio. Heraklion is one of the island’s major urban centres, and has been for thousands of years. It has top museums and archaeological sites, restaurants boasting fare from all over the world, plus a swoon-worthy selection of wineries. What’s more, the two towns are connected by bus, so you won’t have to hire a car if you’d rather avoid the hassle.
Many of the town’s sites revolve around its ancient history, from the Heraklion Archaeology Museum to the Historical Museum of Crete, each of which offer relics like pieces of frescos, pottery and delicate décor.
But nothing quite tops the Palace of Knossos, the biggest archaeological site on the entire island. It’s also the oldest city in Europe, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age, and still houses ancient columns, stone walls and recreations of what Minoan civilisation might have looked like centuries ago.