Greek Guide

Crete Night Life Greece Nightlife Crete

Crete Night Life Greece Nightlife Activities

Crete has one of the most vibrant night scenes of all the Greek islands. There's a huge amount and diversity of nightlife ranging from brash Brit bars and frantic foam parties to more traditional evenings of Cretan music and dancing. Head for the big package holiday centres for all night anything goes partying in high season or join the locals in the more sophisticated night scene of the main north coast towns.

The twin resorts of Hersonissos and Malia, east along the coast from Iraklio, are the two main hot spots for package holiday party animals. Both resorts are awash with bars and discos catering for young, foreign visitors hell bent on serious round the clock revelling. The drunken antics of foreign clubbers (mainly British) have prompted a police clampdown in recent years but you'll still find a wild, on the edge party scene here. Sexily clad nubile bar staff do their utmost to encourage outlandish behaviour from their co operative clientele of drunken youngsters who frequent aptly named clubs such as "Orgasmic" and "Corker's".

It's not worth hitting the clubs much before 1am and the serious stuff doesn't take off until much later. Then the drinking, dancing and degenerate behaviour continues till dawn. New pubs and clubs, many of them British owned, come and go but there's always a plentiful supply of sports bars, theme bars, cocktail bars, Irish nights, techno, trance and whatever else you want from a wild night out.

The main towns of Iraklio, Hania and Rethymno all have a lively nightlife with numerous music bars and dance clubs where you can take your pick of international chart music, Greek pop or traditional Cretan entertainment.

In Hania, which must rank as one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of Greece, you can join the locals in their early evening " volta " (a stroll with no particular aim or destination in mind) before relaxing over a sundowner or taking a ride in a horse drawn carriage down at the harbour. Most bars and discos here are gathered around the inner harbour and scattered throughout the old quarter. The town has a thriving gay scene and from July to September there's an arts festival with various events including classical music concerts, jazz and traditional music and dancing. Open air film screenings (often in English) are often held in the public gardens.

The capital Iraklio also hosts a big arts festival in the summer with various entertainment ranging from ancient Greek and renaissance dramas to ballet and Greek music, both modern and traditional. Most of the events take place either on the roof of the Koules Venetian fort or at the Kazantzakis Garden Theatre and the Hadzidaksis Theatre. There are also three outdoor movie venues in town.

You can savour traditional Cretan cooking and fresh fish grilled al fresco at one of Iraklio's good quality but inexpensive ouzeris. For Cretan music and dancing head for Aposperides on the road out to Knossos or Sordina, five kilometres south west of the city centre.

Rethymno holds a Renaissance Festival in July and August with ancient Greek dramas, folk and rock concerts, films and art exhibitions. Many of the performances take place in the magnificent setting of the town's 16th century Fortezza the massive Venetian fortress dominating the headland at the western edge of Rethymno. The town's annual wine festival takes place in the Public Gardens and involves music, dancing and sampling the local wines.

The attractive town of Sitia in the eastern corner of the island holds a Sultana Festival every August in honour of its prime local export. Locals and tourists alike dance and down copious quantities of locally produced wine.

Agios Nikolaos, overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mirabello, holds an arts festival from late July until early September with traditional Cretan dance troupes and musicians. The locals sometimes throw parties for visiting foreigners who favour a night out at the festival over the clubland cacophony of nearby Malia.