Low-cost travel in Europe can be a satisfying blast, but sometimes budgeting can take a bit of the fun out of it. Good news: there’s no easy way to take the fun out of Crete’s trendy town of Malia, no matter what your budget.
Malia, 35km from Crete’s capital Heraklion, is full of hot Grecian sun and even hotter island nightlife – especially if you’re young and like to dance.
The lure of old Malia includes narrow streets, bougainvillea-garlanded houses, and tavernas with live Greek music; the lure of new Malia lies in its club/bar and beach scenes filled with fresh, fun-loving travelers, especially from the British Isles. It’s a fantastic place for a budget break if you’re traveling through Europe and in need of some guaranteed sun.
Between April and October is Malia’s high/party season, and June through September is when temperatures – and prices – hit their peaks. However, there are plenty of lodging options in Malia, and you can always find an inexpensive one. Backpacking hostels/hotels and other affordable lodging can cost up from €8 in the early season to €18 in July and August, and you can find increasingly fancy choices all the way up to luxury hotels for around €350 per night. In terms of current exchange rates, at the moment €1 is worth about $1.29.
Also, keep an eye out for Malia holidays package deals, which can start at €335 per week including airfare from the UK plus hotel – in July!
If you’re coming to Malia to party – and many people are – you’ll pay around €6–€10 for a liter of house wine, and 500ml of beer will set you back around €2–€2.50. Keep an eye out for all sorts of bar deals once you get there, especially buy-one-get-one-frees and happy hours – and chances are you’ll meet some cute fellow budgeters as you seek out your deals.
In the past couple of years Malia has been cracking down on drunken (sometimes dodgy and dangerous) antics inspired by its vibrant nightlife, so the streets at night are safe, though as with anywhere it’s always a good idea to watch your purse/wallet and any other valuables you have with you.
Food-wise, there are plenty of stalls and shops selling souvlaki and gyros, both will cost from €2 – and they’re filling. There are also plenty of burger and sandwich places to get a low-priced bite. If you hit one of the many restaurants, you’ll be looking at €3–€5 for breakfast, €2 for coffee, and €10 upwards per person for a decent two-course meal.
Daytime activity options also abound in Malia. There are, of course, the many beautiful beaches and shopping streets, and if you’ve got a thirst for wandering and/or history, you can rent bikes, motorbikes, or quad bikes at reasonable rates and explore – perhaps a visit the Palace of Malia, (built in 1900 BCE, 3km outside of town) or the Dikteon Cave (vying for the title of the birthplace of Zeus) or the not-so-ancient-Grecian Water City water park or mini-golf-course nearby. Public transportation is readily available, with bus stops all over town and not-too-pricey taxis looking for a fare.
All in all, a great place to have a great time without breaking the bank. Enjoy Malia!
Image by Henry Jackson Photography used under creative commons license
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