The village of Maleme is located along the old coastal road 25 km west of Chania, where the houses are spread along the road, the area is rural, and the landscape is marked by countless olive groves.
Touristic development in Maleme
A milestone in the touristic development of Maleme was definitely the construction of the comfortable hotel Maleme Beach in the 70s, which first changed into Chandris and about 20 years later into Louis Hotels. Since then the number of smaller and larger hotels, studios and apartments grew, and today the coastal zone Maleme, with its beautiful promenade and elongated beach, has developed successfully into a holiday resort.
The beach along the promenade is a mixture of coarse gravel and sand. Besides parasols and sun loungers are also Tamarisk trees for shade to choose from, and the adjacent taverns also offer local specialties.
The entertainment in the quiet and still rural Maleme has remained limited to coffee shops and taverns, but the nearby hustle and bustle of Platanias (about 5km east) offers the lively balance to this until the early morning hours.
There are good bus links to the west to Kolymbari or Kissamos, or towards east to the coastal resorts of Platanias, Agia Marina and Chania, or to Paleochora on the south coast.
Maleme is not different visually from the other villages on the road between Chania and Kolymbari.
And yet the name of the village is known worldwide. May 20 1941 was the date which will forever connect the Cretan village with the recent history of Europe as a venue for the Airborne Battle “Operation Mercury”. Only on this day the Transportation of the German Wehrmacht brought 7,000 paratroopers to its operating at the military airport of Maleme. This study, conducted by German Airborne and Paratrooper associations was also the first major airborne operation in history.
The historical airport
This historic airport is no longer in use, but sometimes exercises of the Greek Air Force still happen there.
As part of the annual commemoration of the anniversary of the “Battle of Crete” in the month of May also demonstration flights take usually place.
Until 1959 it served to the city of Chania as airport for domestic flights, then its functions were moved to the NATO military airport on Akrotiri peninsula over Souda Bay north-east of Chania, with the official name “Souda Airport”.
What to do in Maleme…
- Within 1 km from Maleme the German military cemetery is well within walking distance
- A Minoan dome grave lies only a few meters before the cemetery on the left hand
- The city of Chania with its old Venetian port is located just 25 km away
- 5 km west lies the coastal town Kolymbari and the Gonia Monastery
- The beautiful sandy beaches of Falasarna and its ancient site are located about 40 min. away by car