Stalis is 30 kilometres east of Heraklion, 3 kilometres after Hersonissos and 3 kilometres before Malia.
The intensive tourist development of the area has resulted in the three towns (Hersonissos, Stalis and Malia) merging into a single coastal resort about 10 km long, full of hotels and apartments. Especially if you take the coastal road from Stalis to Malia, it is impossible to see where one resort ends and the other begins.
Cretan tourism grew dramatically in the 1980s. This was when Stalis, too, became a popular holiday resort in east Crete. Until then it was simply the beach where the inhabitants of Mohos, the village on the mountain rising south of Stalis, spent their summer holidays.
The fact that Stalis did not exist as an autonomous village until then is obvious from its disjointed layout. There is no central square, just the coast road lined on both sides with shops, tavernas and hotels.
Stalis differs from neighbouring Hersonissos and Malia in that it does not share their wild nightlife. Stalis is more suitable for family holidays, but if you want to dance the night away, Hersonissos and Malia are close by.
This does not mean that Stalis has no bars and cafes. There are lots of cafeterias and beach bars along the beach, so you can still have fun, just at a quieter pace than that of the neighbouring resorts. Many people consider this an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
Stalis above the road and Stalis below the road
The main Hersonissos-Malia road cuts Stalis in two. On one side is coastal Stalis (below the road), and on the other is Stalis above the road. The main road is very busy and there are traffic lights at only one point, the crossroads to Mohos and the New National Road. You can also turn here to go down to Stalis beach.
The constant flow of traffic along the main road means that pedestrians must be extremely careful when crossing it. There are underpasses at various points, both for pedestrians and for normal-sized cars. Be careful, though, as some signs give the wrong height for underpasses; in the accompanying picture, the height is marked as 1 metre instead of the correct 1.9 metres.
Stalis Hotels and Apartments
There are lots of hotels and apartments in Stalis and you will easily find what you want. You can stay by the seaside, or, if you prefer quieter surroundings and a panoramic view, choose one of the hotels on the hillsides above Stalis. These are 0.5 to 1.5 km from the beach, within easy walking distance.
There are many restaurants and tavernas in Stalis, as well as tourist shops, travel agencies for daytrips, car and motorbike hire agencies and, of course, minimarkets.
There are banks in Hersonissos and Malia, while Stalis has various cashpoints.
From Stalis there are regular buses to Heraklion, Hersonissos and Gouves to the west and Malia and Agios Nikolaos to the east, so it's easy to visit many towns and cities along the north coast of Crete.
The beach at Stalis
The beach at Stalis is a beatiful sandy beach divided into two sections, one extending from the western corner of the bay to the Anthoussa Hotel, and the other from the Anthoussa Hotel to Malia.
The beach is exposed to the weather, so on windy days you need to be careful and follow the lifeguards' advice.
The water becomes deeper very gradually, so small children are free to enjoy the sea.
The beach at Stalis is an organised one with lifeguards, umbrellas and sunloungers. Some beachside restaurants have special offers combining beach umbrella and lounger hire with lunch or drinks.
Lovers of watersports will have no difficulty finding what they are after.
What to do in Stalis
- A walk on the beach to admire the sunset
- A walk along the main (coast) road of Stalis. On summer evenings the road is closed to traffic, so you can walk along it safely. Roughly halfway along is the small Byzantine church of Agios Ioannis. It is mentioned on seventeenth-century Venetian maps, when there was hardly anything in Stalis.
- Vist neighbouring Malia and stroll through the picturesque alleyways in the old part of town (above the main road), or visit the archaeological site of Malia and admire the Minoan Palace ruled by Sarpedon, brother of Minos.
- Visit neighbouring Hersonissos with its waterparks and the Crete Golf Club.
- Visit the village of Mohos, where almost all the inhabitants of Stalis come from. The village is high on the mountain behind and to the south of Stalis. The road there winds up the mountainside, offering a stunning view of the Sea of Crete, Stalis and Malia.
- There is also an old footpath from Stalis to Mohos. It's called the "Bulgarian Path" because it was built by Bulgarian prisoners of war during the First World War.
- In summer there is a Cretan Night once a week in Mohos, with live music and traditional dancing in the village square.
- Another pretty village is Krasi, a few kilometres after Mohos. If it's a very hot day in Stalis, come here to cool off in the shade of the huge plane tree next to the running water.
- Visit the Lassithi Plateau and descend into the depths of the earth in the cave of Psychro or
- Dicteon Andron, where legend has it that Zeus was born.
- From Stalis you can go on organised daytrips, either to Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, or to Agios Nikolaos and the island of Spinalonga.
- From Stalis you can also take a boat trip to the island of Dia, a few kilometres off the north coast of Crete, or even enjoy a day cruise to scenic Santorini.
- Stalis is located in the centre of the north coast of Crete, so you can easily explore the island in a hired car, on organised excursions or by bus.
Read here for road distances in Crete in kilometres.