Bali is a small, picturesque village between Heraklion and Rethymno. People go there usually when they buy the whole package (flight, hotel, food etc)
Bali used to be a fisherman village, but now during the summer it is a family vacation destination. There are few large hotels and many small hotels. Bali has at least 3 beaches with the largest (not too large) beach on the eastern end of the town. The most beautiful part of the town with tavernas, fisherman dock and the narrow streets is on the western end of the village.
Bali is definitely pretty place and hotels have great pools to lounge around.
Bali is also great place if you are going with children. Most of the people go there with small children so do not worry about your child to sit lonely on the beach.
As for the beaches, the water is great and child friendly but the sand is very dusty, yes dusty( a volcanic sand). You will find all your beach clothes, towels and shoes to be dirty, that is why lots of people prefer to stay at the hotel pool.
If you are stuck in Bali but would like to go to nicer beach, rent a car( there are many rental places in Bali along the main street with very small cheap cars ready to rent) or hop on a local bus to go out West. The highway will take you along the sea coast where you can find many beaches with the golden sand. All the beaches between Stavromenos and Rethymno have better sand than Bali, but expect larger waves and stronger winds.
Fondest memory: I liked Bali a lot, but since I don't have a children I quickly got tired of hearing constant crying and all that baby talk. I also wasn't very happy with the volcanic, "dirty" sand on the beach, so we stayed there only one day and moved to Matala and next to Georgioupoli beaches.
Good thing, there was no mosquito in Bali, or at least I did not see any. There is also not too many people in the water since everybody has some baby to hold on to on the beach ;-)
Check our my Bali pictures for yourself.....I have also few more tips about Bali on my Chania and Rethymno pages.
Agios Nikolaos is a lovely town, worth spending several hours walking around. In the center there's a lake connected to the sea. On the left side there's a pleasant walk in the shade by pretty boats , then at the far edge there's a steep climb for a beatiful view of the lake and the town around it. Getting down to the water after a long walk, the right side is a row of restaurants and coffee places, just right after the trip.
Going on the seaside promenade to the right from the center the view opens up, there's an interesting glass and stone statue, made with stacked thick slabs of greenish glass, see picture. It is illuminated at night, I'll have to return with a steadier camera. Along the promenade there are houses climbing up the hill, several with interesting architecture and painting with fantasy and humor.
From Agios Nikolaos we drove to Eloudna close by, so many beautiful houses, each one different but all in good taste.
Ierapetra is a fair-sized town on the South coast in the East of Crete, in fact the southernmost town in Europe. It is a resort, but not a major one. Most people visit to take a boat trip to Chrissi Island, which is meant to have good beaches, and I believe, to be the hottest part of Greece.
I didn't take the boat trip, arriving at Ierepetra lateish afternoon after a bit of driving. I wandered westwards along the front, had a beer in a beachside bar, and did a bit of sunbathing and had a quick swim. The temperature was noticibly hotter than on the North Coast (this in a hot July). Most of the people on the beach were, I think, locals rather than tourists. I partly based this on: they looked like locals and generally spoke Greek; they nearly all lay on their towels and not on the sunbeds (!)
The beach itself is grey and pebbly, a bit of a shock when I first saw it, but ok as long as you don't wander barefoot. You can just manage to pick your way into the water unshod. I still prefer a sandy beach, though. Looking at some more info on the town, I may have only seen half, beachwise: the other part being a bit east of the Chrissi ferry terminal.
Ierapetra has the bonus of being reached through a low pass from the north coast: a break from the mountain roads. This geography also made it important historically: it was a popular pirate base at several periods through history.
More info and a virtual photo map at Ierapetra.net
Old Greek houses are quite popular among people from other European countries. That's why despite their age and condition they are quite expensive.
Well, you must admit that there is something beautiful in those houses, even if they're falling apart...
Agios Nikolaos, capital of the Prefecture of Lasithi, is one of the most highly developed tourist towns in Greece.
It lies along the west of the Mirabello bay. The main road axis of the island passes right outside the city limits , connecting it with Iraklion (66 km) to the west, Sitia to the east (70 km) and Ierapetra to the south (36 km).
The sea in Agios Nikolaos is superb and the surrounding area of the city is noted for its sandy beaches and beautiful bays.
The landmark of the city is a small lake, known as "Voulismeni" that is located in the center of the city, at the foot of the cliffs. Its shape is circular with a diameter of 137m.
According to the mythology, the goddess Athena used to take her bath in this lake. The depth of the lake is 64 m and was connected to the sea only recently, with a canal opened at 1870.
Fondest memory: There are wonderful places here that were discovered, long before the area became a tourist resort, by charismatic people mainly by cinematographers like Walt Disney and Jules Dessain. Films like "Moon Spinners", "Celui qui doit mourir", the most recent "Beware of the Greeks", but also the TV series such as BBC's "Who pays the ferryman" are typical since the wider area of Agios Nikolaos is clearly presented in them.
It's a very special place to visit. It's a small town in the south part of the island. It has this caves where the hippies in the 70's used to live there. It has a lot of artesans shops where you can buy some artistic products. I really recommend it.
It's an hour and a half from Irakleion by car.
Favorite thing: Stay at Aghia Galini on the south coast of Crete. It's not yet overcrowded by tourists. You can still feel the Greek atmosphere.
Elounda is a very nice little place about 60 km from Iraklion.
The BBC movie:Who pays the Ferryman is recording in Elounda