How to get there
On footYou'll find Malia Old Town in the south west of Malia, just under five minutes' walk from the centre. On foot, the simplest way to get there is to follow the Grammatikaki road until you reach a fork in the road. Turn left onto Taxiarchon and follow that until it becomes Pindarou. At the end of Pindarou, you'll find a T-junction. Turn left onto 28is Oktovriou, which is the road that takes you into the Old Town. You'll know when you get there, as the whitewashed high-rises, busy bars, and tourist shops will give way to cobbled streets, quiet tavernas, and Medieval churches. If you need landmarks to help you orientate yourself, keep an eye out for the impressive Church of Agios Nektarios, which marks the centre of the neighbourhood. If you're coming from the beach, it'll take you around 15 minutes. If anything, this route is more direct and leads straight from the sands to the Old Town. From the beach, take a stroll along the Armirolakou road, before taking a left onto Dimokratias. Follow this street until it splits into two and take the right-hand road, which is Mattheou Zachariadi. After around five minutes' walk, this feeds into 28is Oktovriou.
By busWhile Malia is fairly compact and the Old Town is easily accessible on foot, those coming from further afield might like to do as the locals do and hop on a bus. If you're travelling from Stalida, you'll find the bus stop on the El Venizelou highway, which is about three minutes' walk from the centre of the town. The journey shouldn't take much more than 10 minutes and the best way to ensure you get off at the right stop is to ask the driver to let you know when you're there. For those travelling from Piskopiano, you need to get to the bus stop, which is located next to the EO Irakliou Agiou Nikolaou highway, in Hersonissos. If you don't mind the walk, it'll take you around 20 minutes to get there. Alternatively, grab a taxi and you'll be there in under five. From the bus stop, hop on the bus for Malia Old Town and get off at either Stop 32 or Stop 33. If you're in any doubt, ask the driver to alert you when you've arrived.
Standout attractionsWhile it's easy to spend an afternoon wandering around the Old Town's atmospheric labyrinth of streets and alleys, there are some sights that you really ought to take the time to see.
Church of Agios NektariosEasy to spot, the Church of Agios Nektarios is the largest in the Old Town and located on the main street, 28is Oktovriou. From the outside, it's unmistakeably Greek, with its graceful arches, squat towers and pristine walls painted white and embellished with gold. However, while its exterior might look a little humble, it's a different story once you step inside. From floor to ceiling, the interior is decorated with incredible paintings, depicting saints, angels, and Biblical scenes. These were created by the acclaimed Greek painter, Michael Vassilakis. To add extra drama to the surroundings, an enormous and ornate chandelier is suspended from the ceiling, overlooking the stunning altar.
Church of Agios DimitriosAlthough not quite as big as the Church of Agios Nektarios, the Church of Agios Dimitrios is equally impressive. It also happens to be set in one of the best squares in Malia Old Town. A beautiful, cobbled courtyard filled with flowers and lined with authentic tavernas, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a strong Greek coffee or a leisurely traditional lunch. You'll find plenty of locals sat on chairs outside, some focused on intense games of chess while others just watch the world go by. You'll also find a small kiosk, where you can buy snacks and drinks. These were founded after World War II as a means of giving wounded soldiers some form of employment.
San Georgio TavernaIt always helps to know a good place to eat and the San Georgio Taverna is widely-hailed as the best in Malia Old Town. Decorated in blue and white and draped in ivy, the taverna is instantly recognisable and popular with both visitors and locals. You can dine al fresco at the tables outside, sit and soak up the authentic atmosphere inside, or watch from above while you enjoy a delicious dinner on the taverna's balcony. The food is traditional and homemade, featuring classics such as beef stifado, kleftiko, grilled seafood, and taramasalata. Vegetarians will find plenty on the menu and you can choose to sample a little of everything by ordering a mezze or select from a variety of starters, mains, and desserts. The San Georgio Taverna is always busy, but a great place in which to spend an evening, particularly if the owner's daughter produces her guitar and serenades you as you dine.