The beach at Kalives is a long stretch of sand that’s divided by rocks and the River Xydas, technically making it two separate beaches. Both shores are fringed by trees and feature views of the White Mountains towering over the village from behind.
At the main beach, you’ll find umbrellas and sunbeds set out by seaside tavernas and hotels so, naturally, they’re within close proximity for lunch and cocktails. On the beach, there are water sports available, plus volleyball facilities, and the water is shallow and typically calm, making it a safe spot to swim. For even more relaxed vibes, the second beach at Kalives – closer to the village – is less busy, so you’ll have nothing to bother you as you sunbathe.
Kalives is located on one of the most fertile parts of Crete, which means it’s steeped in greenery. The village is surrounded by olive groves, patches of countryside and a mountainous terrain, all of which make for energy-elevating excursions in the outdoors.
The White Mountains are supremely walkable and scenic – when out, you can even arrange to join up with a tour group and cut past the towering rock walls of the famed Samaria Gorge.
If you’re travelling with little ones – or even if you aren’t – the Limnoupolis Waterpark is only a 30-minute drive from Kalives. It’s the only waterpark in the west of Crete and features a central pool, lazy river, sky-high water slides and sunbeds, for the chilled-out at heart. Other than this, your main activity in Kalives will be living as the locals do: lounging around the coast, drifting into shops and dining on the waterfront.
Waterfront days and Chania nights
The vast majority of Kalives’ restaurants are located along the waterfront, which means you won’t have to ditch the sea views at any point during your holiday. The cuisine here largely centres on classic Greek food and fresh fish, though you’ll find hints of the Mediterranean in pizza and pasta dishes.
When it comes to nightlife, outside of the odd disco in the summer and live music by local musicians at neighbourhood tavernas, Kalives stays very laid-back. Come nightfall, you’ll be invited to settle in with the locals over a glass of honey-glazed raki and soak in the warm, Greek night. But should the need for a neon-lit dance club arise – or even a pub for a pint of ale – nearby Chania will have you covered.
Quaint corner shores
Kalives doesn’t have much in the way of name brands and high end retailers – instead, these luxuries are more than made up for with stores the locals use in their daily lives. Walking through Kalives, you’ll be tempted into corner bakeries and butchers for tasty Cretan treats, or souvenir shops boasting authentic Greek gifts.
Crete is known for its olive oil, honey and wine – not to mention the raki – so pausing in these little shops will give you the opportunity to take home a little slice of your holiday.
As the second largest city in Crete, Chania has a wealth of offerings for the well-versed traveller. More waterfront restaurants, avenues lined with market stalls and thousands of years of history await only a 30-minute drive down the coast.
Chania has swapped ruling hands throughout its history, and the architecture shows this – the waterfront is speckled with a Venetian harbour and lighthouse, plus a fortress overlooking the town, while mosques from its time underneath Turkish rule can be found along the streets as well.
Following suit, the cuisine here is anything but basic, with fare from Greece, Italy, America, Morocco and an incredible amount of others, which means you’ll never have to dine in the same country twice on this part of the island.