Maleme beach is fine, so is nearby Gerani. Between Chania and Gerani the whole of that coast has turned into one long strip of development: tacky hotels, crowded beaches, and a busy road connecting what used to be several small beach villages. I wouldn't advise staying in any of them.
An exception, though, is Chryssi Akti, the nearest beach to Chania, which is wider than the others and very nice. There are villas for rent there. If you wanted to be near Chania, this might be a good choice
If you aren't set on a villa, another possibility is the Ammos Hotel, which is 5km from Chania and has had very good reports:
You can also read its Trip Advisor reviews.
If you want to be further west, skip the stretch between Chryssi Akti and Gerani.
I like Kolymbari, a large-ish village with a bigger choice of places to eat and a pebble beach; and there is a lovely sandy beach at Nopigia, between Kolymbari and Kastelli-Kissamos.Edited: 25 September 2011, 12:17
Thanks for the advice I'll have a look at some of those areas. Do you know whether Maleme village is good for eating out and has shops and supermarkets?
Yes, there are shops and mini markets - you'd be well provided for. I don't know the tavernas myself, but perhaps someone who has been there recently will contribute. Meanwhile, have a look at this thread:
Maleme has 5 or 6 quite good restaurants, a couple of which stand above the others. There are two main supermarkets in Maleme which are well stocked. One in the centre, and one at the western end. There's a third, smaller, supermarket down near the beach. The beach is very nice and not heavily populated. Much less people than we saw at the other beaches, which was a real bonus to us. A few people have made the comment elsewhere that the beach is stoney. That's a gross over exaggeration. There are sections of smooth pebbles but there is a ton of sandy areas to lie on. The water has sand on the bottom, not stone. We spent 10 days in Maleme, and at least 2 hours of every day were spent at the beach.
We spent 2 weeks in Maleme in June this year. We thought the beach was a bit scruffy and at the end we stayed it was mainly pebbles, but there was plenty of space and once in the water there was sand under our feet.
The large co-operative supermarket on the main road was excellent and sells everything you could wish for a self catering holiday at reasonable prices. There are a couple of other smaller general shops, plus a bakery and butchers and tourist shops selling souvenirs, postcards, stuff for the beach.
There are a few restaurants & tavernas. We particularly liked The Black Lamtern on the main road and Maleme Fish Taverna on the beach road.
Hope this helps.
I have stayed in Maleme and Agia Marina. IMHO the beach in Agia Marina is far better, also to my taste it is a better resort as well. I found Maleme to be a bit quiet, and I agree the beach has a bit of a scruffy look as it is a mixture of sand and small pebbles, whereas Agia Marina was just right - a good beach, a good mix of tavernas and shops and a few bars, without being too 'loud'. I think that it is by far a better option than Platanias, which is IMHO too lively, and Maleme. Ag. Marina is also within easy bus or taxi journey from Chania.
It depends on what time of year you are going as well, as the resorts are much busier in school holidays.
I cannot comment on Chryssi Akti, or on the availability of villas in Agia Marina (or Maleme for that matter). I would think that any villas between Kato Stalos and Maleme would probably be slightly inland, not directly on the beach, but others may have further information.
We stayed at Ammos Hotel - excellent beachfront hotel with a unique atmosphere. The beach is lovely too with no pebbles. A short walk into the local village with a good selection of tavernas.
See my review below.
In Western Crete the best sandy beaches are Elefonisi or Falasana but you probably wouldn't want to be based there as they are a bit remote. Try Kissamos/Nopigia/Kolymbari areas. The beaches there tend to be part sand and part stones but they are very clean and not a bit scruffy. The Nopigia bay is stunning. Check out the property listed on trip advisor www.holidaylettings.co.uk/homedisplay.asp…
I agree with you, azurebeachvilla. That area is much nicer than the Chania-Platanias coastal strip. The beaches are better, and Kissamos and Kolymbari are both nice places, not entirely devoted to tourism.
Nopigia's beach IS lovely: the only drawback there is that it's close to the National Road: if the wind is in the right direction you can hear it at night.Edited: 05 October 2011, 14:06
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