“ Holiday resort located on the northeast coast of Crete, Greece. „
In May I was lucky enough to escape the British weather when I visited the sunny Greek island of Crete for a week. My friend and I opted to stay in the resort of Stalis as neither of us had ever been before but we'd both heard of this resort... and were slightly less keen on the resort of Malia which was the only other one we'd heard of! Crete is the largest Greek island and is very popular with holiday makers during the summer months due to its favourable climate, great beaches and relaxed atmosphere. We stayed in the resort of Stalis which is located on the north east coast of Crete between Hersonnisos and Malia. It was advertised as being a relaxed resort that is popular with both British, Irish and European holiday makers. The resort is approximately twenty miles from the airport and has an advertised transfer time of around forty minutes. We opted to include flights when we booked our holiday but we found that a taxi transfer from the airport would cost you around forty euros for just one way. The town of Stalis is situated on the main beach with most bars, hotels and restaurants running almost parallel to the beach along a road. The main bit of Stalis runs for around a mile down this road and you'll find either side of it flooded with a wide variety of bars, restaurants and shops which are mainly aimed at the tourist market. It's what you'd call a purpose built tourist resort in many ways as in the winter the resort does go very quiet indeed due to the large lack of tourism in these months. One of the main attractions of Stalis itself is the beach. It actually stretches along the whole north eastern coast of Crete and it was absolutely beautiful, the sand was golden and the sea water was crystal clear. The sea wasn't rough at all and we swam out in it several times. When we visited in May the beach was quite quiet where we were, there were people on it but it wasn't crowded, apparently in the summer months it can get very packed indeed so that might put some people off maybe. There are plenty of sun beds available for hire on the beach, it seems that whatever bar or restaurant backs onto the beach "owns" that section of beach and can do what they like with it. The majority of them have (very cleverly) opted to put sun beds and umbrellas to attract the tourists. We paid five euros for two sun beds and an umbrella for a day right in the centre of Stalis which wasn't bad, the price was originally eight euros but, as with most things, be prepared to haggle it down! On previous holidays there's been somewhat of an influx of the famous "lucky lucky" men on the beaches but I'm pleased to say we were only bothered once and that was by a lady selling fresh fruit. The only trouble we had was when we walked down the main street at night as obviously everyone thinks their bar or restaurant is the very best and wants you to eat there. In the end we did get a little bit sick of being stopped and just adopted the old "We're all inclusive" response when approached! In terms of restaurants we found there to be a wide range of places to eat, from the traditional Greek places to your more Irish pub type places there was something to suit everyone. We ate somewhere different every night as we wanted to try different things and found some amazing places offering a wide variety of food, I even tried about four different Greek dishes too... get me! Most of the restaurants offer outdoor eating areas and if you eat at one overlooking the beach it really is beautiful. We tended to have a starter each and a main course each every night (we could never manage desert), along with a carafe of wine. The bill always seemed to be quite reasonable really, the lowest we ever paid for this was about twenty two euros and the most we paid was thirty five euros which we didn't think was too bad. The wine was the real surprise, a whole carafe was normally around five or six euros which isn't like the restaurant prices where I come from as we got two large glasses each from it. The bars were very typical of your tourist resort and there was a distinct lack of authentic places to drink we found. Due to the resort being home to a large number of Irish people there were several Irish pubs along with your usual British pubs and a few live music pubs as well. There were one or two places that seemed to target the younger crowd but on the whole it was a very family orientated place at night with a couple of the bars having children's play areas and even children's discos too. Drinking in Stalis wasn't overly cheap sadly... unless you were drinking wine (whoop whoop!) which was around a euro to two euros a glass! Cocktails seemed to be around the four or five euro mark and pints of British beers were around three or four euros. There were also a couple of smallish supermarkets which were quite clearly aimed at the gullible tourists as they had quite inflated prices, apparently about fifteen minutes away there was a much cheaper place that the locals tended to use. There were very few hotels located on the main strip of Stalis, we saw a couple that looked really nice but the majority of apartments seemed to be focused on either the locals or the summer workers. There were quite a few Brits over in Stalis already when we visited who were there for the summer season and it made for a very friendly atmosphere in many bars. The hotels were set back slightly from the strip; ours was about a ten minute walk which we didn't mind as it meant it was really quiet. Stalis is just a twenty to thirty minute walk from Malia although if you want to travel by taxi you'll find it costs around the eight to ten euro mark. We walked it during the day which was fine although the roads were very dark at night so I wouldn't advise it at night! We only visited once as we found it to be just too lively and it wasn't really what we'd come away for. It's also about three miles from the town of Hersonnisos and a taxi there will set you back around the twelve to fourteen euros. We really enjoyed our week in Stalis as the beach was beautiful, the weather was lovely and there was a great choice of places to eat. Sadly the resort did lack any great signs of Greek culture or history as it is very much a purpose built tourist resort. It was once a small coastal town which depending on agriculture and fishing but it expanded during the late 1970s and the 1980s when tourism started to come to the island. It is very much a couples or family resort rather than a partying resort. There are plenty of things to do around the resort of Stalis - we did some water sports in the actual resort itself and we did a boat trip to a traditional fishing village which was beautiful through a tour operating shop on the main road of Stalis. There are several different companies offering tours, we were told some horror stories about how one company was operated by the Greek mafia although they seem to be willing to say anything to get your business! Our boat trip was around fifteen euros each. If you want to explore further into the island of Crete then there are plenty of sites that your can visit. There are several museums and sites of historical interest including Spinalonga Island where the lepers used to be sent by the Crete government. I can't really fault the resort, it suited us down to the ground although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, especially if you're keen on culture. We had a great time and I'd thoroughly recommend the resort of Stalis as a clean and friendly place for a holiday! Thanks for reading.