Maleme is located 18km west of Chania and is a part of the continuous beach, starting from Kolimbari and ending in Chania. The vast gulf of Chania is full of beautiful sandy and pebbly beaches and open to north winds.
Maleme beach is sandy and the wider area is touristic. Next to the beach you will find all necessary amenities. If you are looking for a remote place to swim, you can find a quieter part of the beach at its west end, next to the old military airport.
Maleme name is thought to come from the word "Malama", meaning gold, because there might have been a gold mine in the ancient times, but still it is not proven. Apart from this, a domed tomb of the late Minoan period has been found near Maleme. Despite that he had been sacked, there were found two cylindrical seals depicting wild animals running.
Maleme in World War II
Maleme is one of the most historic places in Greece. Maleme was the military airport of the Allies, till it was occupied by German troops. In order to occupy that German paratroopers landed in Maleme during the Battle of Crete in 1941. The Germans, who met heroic resistance from the locals and the allied forces, finally occupied the airport after suffering very important casualties. The heroic resistance of the Cretans, who fought only with sticks, stones and knives, dealt a huge blow to the most elite units of the German army, i.e. its paratroopers. This led Hitler to praise Cretan patriotism. It was the first time in the history of the Second World War, that German troops encountered strong resistance from a local population. Moreover, it was the first airborne invasion in history. The 4500 German paratroopers who were killed are buried in the German Cemetery, located on the hill near Maleme. Close to Maleme, near the bridge of Tavronitis, there is also a monument dedicated to the killed airmen of RAF.