Stalis Beach extends for more than six kilometres, stretching all the way into nearby Malia. On the Stalis end of things, you'll find laid-back, family-friendly spots with sunloungers and umbrellas, while the Malia side takes things up a notch with water sports and dancing on the shores come nightfall. But regardless of where you are, Stalis Beach is backed almost completely with hotels, tavernas and bars.
The beach is split in two by a rocky cove, and features a beach volleyball court. Otherwise, this patch of the coast stays relatively quiet and peaceful throughout the year, with children paddling in the gentle waters and sunbathers stretching out onshore.
Stalis by horseback
Stalis is backed by olive groves and the Dikti Mountains, so walks here are especially scenic. There are also a number of horse stables scattered throughout town, which will allow you to go out on rides along the coast on horseback.
The volcanic island of Santorini is reachable by ferries that leave from Stalis. This beautiful spot is as authentic as Greek islands go, lined with whitewashed buildings and blue-topped churches overlooking the Aegean Sea. Because the island is essentially a giant volcano – the main town is built into a caldera – you can embark on walks up to high, volcanic peaks and peer into ancient craters.
Nightlife and dining on the softer side
It probably comes as no surprise that the vast majority of dining options in Stalis serve Greek food, though you'll still find a healthy selection of Italian and British eats. Many of the tavernas feature outdoor terraces and even balconies with views of the town or the waterfront.
When it comes to nightlife, Stalis is laid-back when compared to its bordering towns. There's a good-sized collection of Irish pubs serving familiar beer, sometimes poured alongside sports on television and live music. But if it's wild nightlife served with a side of hangover you're looking for, nearby Malia is your best bet, as it's regarded as one of the island's party capitals.
With 4,000 years of history under its belt, Malia has a lot to boast about. It's the sight of an ancient Minoan Palace built in 1900 BC, archaeological sights and an old town laden with cobbled streets.
But if we're being honest, the main draw of Malia is undoubtedly the wild nightlife scene. The streets here are filled with reps offering the best deals into their bars and clubs, who often keep the energy up until six in the morning. If that still isn't good enough for your inner party-goer, Malia's club Petrino's is open 24-hours a day.
The resort of Hersonissos is the picture of a coastal holiday. It has three beaches packed with water sports, three theme parks and a host of culinary experiences ranging from elegant waterfront restaurants to casual cafes. The region also boasts some of the best shopping in Crete, with designer brand stores and quirky souvenir shops dotting the town.
If you're travelling with kids – or, let's be real, even if you aren't – you'll be drawn to Hersonissos' fantastic range of theme parks. The Labyrinth Theme Park is a haven for puzzle-enthusiasts, with games and mazes, plus a petting zoo and horse enclosure.
And then you have your fair share of water parks, with the Star Beach Waterpark – which is literally on the beach – and the Acqua Plus Waterpark. Both of which have a fantastic array of waterslides.