A Quick Guide to Bali, Crete

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Thinking of booking a trip to Bali on the Greek island of Crete? Here’s what to expect from this scenic and colourful beach resort on the north coast.

Where is it?

It’s Bali – but no, not the famous island in Indonesia. This Bali is a holiday resort on the north coast of Crete, halfway between Heraklion and Rethymnon and next to the resort Panormos.

What’s the Vibe Like? 

Boho cafe in Bali overlooking the beach.

Bali is tucked away in a hilly and idyllic section of the coast.

It’s small and scenic and although relatively heavily developed it’s still one of the prettiest beach resorts in Crete. The landscape in parts might make you think of the Amalfi Coast (especially when the bougainvillaea is in flower).

The resort winds around several bays, each with a small beach. Due to the hills, it feels pretty remote from its neighbouring resorts although the main road between Heraklion and Rethymnon passes just behind the town. 

One of the prime benefits of its geography is the amazing views from every corner. It’s perfect for young couples and adults looking for somewhere with a romantic but modern vibe and not too quiet.

Bali is not an extensive resort and this isn’t a party town – think sunset cocktails at a beach bar rather than thumping clubs. The vibe is a pleasant mix of traditional Greek and international tourism. You’ll also find Greek tavernas, bakeries, and boho cafes with panoramic views.

Lots of the hotels here have had a recent glow-up and are sporting minimalist decor in natural hues. If the phrase ‘lifestyle hotel’ makes you shudder then perhaps look at neighbouring Panormos instead.

Steps down to the beach in Bali underneath bougainvillea.

Small fishing boats in Bali harbour.

Handwritten signposts in a souvenir shop in Bali.

What’s the beach like?

Waves lap Bali beach.

Bali has several beaches:

  • Livadi Beach is the longest beach and the closest to the main road. There’s a car park at the eastern end of the beach. The area directly behind the beach is flat and nearly the whole stretch is lined with beach cafes and sun loungers.
  • At the eastern end of Livadi is a small unorganised section called Vlihi Nero.
  • Varkopotos Beach is the next beach as you head north. This is a small bay enclosed by steep hills and a rocky area idea for snorkelling at one end.
  • The next bay is Old Port (pictured below). This has a wider beach which is again enclosed by steep hills.
  • Karavostasi Beach / Evita Bay – this is a small beach at the quieter north end of town which is less built up. Has car parking uphill from the beach.

The beaches are mostly narrow or small and can feel very crowded in the high season. Some sun loungers are reserved for hotel guests.

Dense parasols on Bali beach.
Old Port beach.
View of a Bali beach from a headland.
Varkopotos Beach.

Activities and amenities

Bali travel agency signs.

Bali is ideal for a laid-back beach holiday but there are plenty of activities on offer too. 

Nostos Water Sports are based on Livadi Beach and have a wide range of watersports available including inflatables, rentals, and wakeboarding.

Santa Maria Pirate Cruises leave from the Old Port, where you’ll also find Hippocampos Dive Centre and The Skippers Catamaran Cruises.

Bali Travel Agency can organise excursions around the island and beyond (1 and 2-day trips to Santorini are possible), Cretan Nights, ATV and jeep safaris, and trips to the big water parks.

If you fancy a bit of culture, up in the hills behind the main road is the 17th-century monastery Agios Ioannis Prodromos.

Signpost for Santa Maria pirate cruises.

Transport and accessibility

Bali tourist train.
Bali tourist train.

From the airport:

Bali is a 50-minute drive from Heraklion International Airport.

A private transfer from the airport is around €60.

Chania International Airport is a 90-minute drive.

Public transport:

Bali is served by the regional KTEL coaches – see the KTEL website for timetables.

The bus stop is up on the main road which is a 10-minute walk from Livadi Beach (or you can take the tourist train, details below). 

Buses run east towards Heraklion, or west towards Rethymnon, usually at least once per hour during the day.


Bali isn’t a compact resort, it’s spread out across several bays and the roads between them are a bit hilly and meandering. It can take 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other.

The areas around each beach are dense with accommodation and eateries but the amenities (rentals, agencies, food shops) are a bit more spread out.

Parking is very limited except at Livadi Beach where there’s a larger car park. This is the flattest area and there is a wide paved promenade behind the beach, but there are a few steps down to reach the sands.

Map of the Bali's tourist train route.

Bali has a tourist train which helps immensely with the distances and calls at:

  • Main bus stop
  • Lakos
  • Livadi
  • Big Blue
  • Varkotopos
  • Central Church
  • Bali View
  • Old Port
  • Karavostasi

However, the exact route varies and not all stops are right by the beach.

Car park by Bali beach.
Livadi Beach car park.
Concrete promenade next to Bali beach.
Livadi Beach promenade.
Shady paved area behind Bali Old Port beach.
Behind the beach area at the Old Port.
Cafe next to Bali Beach.
Livadi beach cafe.


Food, drink, and sun-loungers are all average for Crete. There is accommodation at all price points and good value in the mid-range.

Where to stay

Hoel with a pool overlooking Bali beach.


The best location in town belongs to the Bali Star Resort Hotel (pictured above) where you’ll find modern minimalist decor and sea-view suites, some right on the beach and others with a private pool.

Next to it is Bali Diamond, a 4-star adults-only with impressive panoramic views.

On Livadi Beach is the 4-star family-run Nostos Beach Boutique Hotel which is freshly renovated and has a pool, beach bar and day beds.

If you don’t mind being up in the hills behind Bali, T Hotel Premium Suites has swim-up pools and amazing views in tranquil surroundings.

The views aren’t just reserved for the fancy hotels though, thanks to the geography of the area, and there are plenty of simpler rooms and studios available. If you prefer to go self-catered check out Villa Vasilis just beyond the harbour.

Read more about Crete:

Where to Stay in Chania Near the Beach

How to Get Around Chania By Bus

10 Most Beautiful Beaches Near Chania

Where to Stay on Crete: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

10 Most Beautiful Beaches on Crete

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