Thinking of booking a trip to Stalos on Crete? Here’s what to expect from this laid-back beach resort near Chania.
Where is it?
Stalos is on the north coast of Crete, between Chania and Agia Marina.
What’s the vibe like?
Stalos (or Kato Stalos) is the first main beach resort you reach as you head west from Chania. This section of the coast is the most built-up in the region and from here to Kolymbari is a string of popular resorts linked by regular bus. The busiest part is Stalos-Agia-Marina-Platanias.
The main road runs slightly inland and forms one big long strip that merges into Agia Marina and Platanias. Stalos is quieter than Agia Marina, and closer to Chania, although it’s easy to walk between the two. In fact, it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends but basically where it gets busier it becomes Agia Marina.
Of all of the main beach resorts near Chania, Stalos and Agia Marina have the sandiest beach.
The areas on either side of the road are packed with hotels and apartments. There is a highway further inland.
Stalos is popular with a European and British crowd and this is reflected in the restaurants and bars, but you’ll find some Greek restaurants too. It has a laid-back family-friendly vibe with a focus on the beach and its informal beach bars.
It’s easy to catch the bus to Chania for the evening or to walk into Agia Marina or Platanias for a livelier atmosphere.
What’s the beach like?
The beach here is soft and rich dark golden sand and the sea is shallow. The western end near Agia Marina is narrower but more sheltered thanks to a small uninhabited island called Agii Theodorii.
There are numerous organised areas and beach cafes, particularly at the Agia Marina end of the beach. The eastern end of the beach is wider, quieter and less built-up, although it’s backed by the road so lacks a sense of privacy.
Activities and amenities
Stalos has a good range of amenities for tourists – along the strip you’ll find souvenir shops, mini-markets, car and ATV rentals, pharmacies, tour agencies, and ATMs – but they are spread out in few spots along the main road.
It’s not as densely developed as Agia Marina and Platanias and has a residential feel.
The restaurants are mostly Greek with some international dishes and fast food offered too (for example pizza, pasta, schnitzel, and burgers). Some offer a Greek night or evening entertainment. There are a few beach bars but for sports, pool, or dancing you’ll have to head to Agia Marina.
CTS Creta Travel Services can help you with transfers, activities and excursions around the island. Within the wider Chania beach resort area, you’ll be able to find almost any activity you can think of.
Surfing Crete is located at the eastern end of the beach and they also hire out paddleboards.
There’s a tourist train which connects the main beach resorts with some of the attractions in the area (mostly up in the hills). Note that it doesn’t run into Chania itself.
Free transfers are available for Chania’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
You can rent mountain bikes from Adventure Bikes.
Transport and accessibility
From the airport:
Stalos is a 30-minute drive from Chania International Airport.
Prices for a private airport transfer to Stalos are around €40.
Stalos is on the Chania City Bus route to Kolymbari which runs from the city to the beach resorts along the west coast – see the Chania Bus website for timetables.
However, the bus leaves from the main KTEL bus station – not the main city bus stop. It has its own stand with a big map of the route (pictured above).
The buses are bendy buses and are frequent throughout the day, especially in July and August, but they do get very busy. Especially at the end of the day when the beach-goers are heading into town. By the time the Chania-bound bus passes through Stalos it’s often packed.
There are multiple bus stops along the main road in Stalos. You can buy tickets on board but it’s cheaper to buy them before you get on at either the Chania bus station or any kiosk/mini-market near the bus stop.
The regional KTEL coach from Chania to Kissamos (the port for Balos) also passes through Stalos though less frequently.
To reach the airport by bus you’ll have to change at Chania.
The main part of Stalos is flat – it gets hillier up near the highway and the old village but most of the accommodation is down near the beach.
Most of the paths linking the main road with the beach are pedestrian or dirt paths. Parking right next to the beach is very limited unless it’s included in your accommodation. At the eastern end of the beach, there’s an unpaved area used for car parking.
Prices in Stalos are average (or slightly below) for Crete. Accommodation is good value – it’s a good place to look for cheap rooms if you want a sandy beach resort near Chania.
Where to stay
There’s a big package tourism presence here but also plenty of family-run traditional hotels and studios a short walk from the beach. The old village of Stalos is up in the hills but when looking at locations it’s best not to consider anything south of the main highway unless you have a car.
3-star Theodore Boutique hotel has boho-chic vibes and a beachfront location. It’s on the edge of Agia Marina and has fresh modern rooms and a local breakfast.
5-star Cretan Dream Resort & Spa overlooks the eastern end of the beach and is set back just far enough to have impressive views from the pool. It’s behind the main road but there’s nothing obstructing its view of the beach. It has a separate kids’ pool and some suites have a hot tub or a private pool.
On a budget? There are many small and good-value beachfront hotels with a pool such as Esperides Beach Hotel Apartments.
Read more about Crete:
Where to Stay in Chania Near the Beach
10 Most Beautiful Beaches Near Chania
Where to Stay on Crete: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide
10 Most Beautiful Beaches on Crete
Image credits: All images © The Mediterranean Traveller