Makry Gialos is a famous seaside resort in southeast Crete, in Lassithi Prefecture. You may know it as Makrygialos or Makrigialos, though in recent years the locals have been attempting to establish the name Makry Gialos, because many people were confusing the village in southern Crete with another of the same name in northern Greece.
If you drive along the road through Makry Gialos from Ierapetra to Sitia, you may not be that impressed. You may think this is just another village not worth stopping for. But if you go a little further east, there is a unique view of the bay of Makry Gialos, revealing all the beauty of the village with its little harbour and large beach.
The name Makry Gialos (Long Beach) reveals its main advantage, as it is actually a large bay with a beautiful sandy beach over a kilometre long.
What makes Makry Gialos special
Why is Makry Gialos a popular Cretan tourist resort? Because the beaches of Makry Gialos are beautiful, with clear shallow water, it has good food and quite a busy nightlife for its size, and it boasts a very relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, making visitors feel at home as soon as they arrive.
If you have a boat or yacht, you should know that Makry Gialos has a pretty, picturesque harbour, sheltered and safe.
Makry Gialos is a great place for both couples and families. There are not many large hotels, but there is a wide variety of apartments and studios for rent, for travellers in search of peace, quiet and privacy.
In the evening, the local youths gather on the beach road of Makry Gialos to dance the night away in the bars, while families may prefer the quieter little tavernas on the shore, mainly at the east end of the beach.
The best thing about the area (Makry Gialos and Koutsouras) is that it meets the needs of both families, who want more organised facilities, and young people, who are looking for fun, watersports and other activities.
How to get to Makry Gialos
Makry Gialos is 38 km south of Sitia and 25 km east of Ierapetra, in the southeast of Lassithi Prefecture. It merges into Koutsouras and Analipsi, the seaside villages to west and east of it.
The road from Ierapetra to Makry Gialos is very good and mostly straight, offering a marvellous view of the various beaches and villages on the way to Makry Gialos.
The road from Sitia to Makry Gialos, on the other hand, winds through the villages of the interior of Lassithi Prefecture, offering a lovely drive through a verdant landscape.
A piece of advice: open your window as you drive from Sitia to Makry Gialos - the area is full of thyme and oleander, the characteristic plant of Lassithi Prefecture. You will be enchanted by the wonderful smell, the scent of Crete itself.
To get to Makry Gialos from Heraklion Airport or port, you need to head towards Agios Nikolaos, then to Ierapetra and on to Makry Gialos. It is 125 km distant, about 2 hours’ drive.
Makry Gialos is 265 km from Chania and 205 km from Rethymno.