Summer in Crete and in Greece means tables outside: The guests meet the local people and everyone joins the party. After the sunset, people start gathering in ouzo shops and taverns (which are usually next to the sea or have a view to the sea) to enjoy tsikoudia (traditional local drink) or ouzo and special snacks. The night continues in various music halls, discos, clubs, bars, bouzouki or Cretan Lira laces (halls with live Greek or Cretan music) in the beautiful narrow streets or at the coastal zone of the island until the morning. For those who want something more relaxed, there are various art festivals and cultural events, like theatre performances, concerts with any kind of music and dance and summer cinemas.

You`ll almost always find a wild party at the bars clustered in the more touristy sections of the island, such as in Agia Galini and Plakias. The wildest scenes for nightlife in Crete are the region from Malia and Stalis to Elounda. The twin resorts of Hersonissos and Malia, east along the coast from Heraklion, are the two main hot spots for party animals. Both resorts are awash with bars and discos catering for young, foreign visitors hell bent on serious round-the-clock reveling. 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 behavior from their co-operative clientele of drunken youngsters who frequent aptly-named clubs such as "Orgasmic" and "Corker`s". 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.

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 behavior continues till dawn.

In the rest of the tourist places of Crete, there are lounge bars with soft music and exotic cocktails. These bars usually stay open till midnight or 2-3 o`clock in the morning. For a more peaceful night, enjoy a long dinner in the many taverns around Crete. These taverns have delicious recipes and local wine or raki. If you have the chance, do not miss the famous panigiria of Crete that includes traditional music and dancing till the sunrise.


In Heraklion the bars and clubs around the main squares start to fill up after midnight. The capital Heraklion 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.


In Chania, 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 harbor. Most bars and discos here are gathered around the inner harbor 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. In Chania town you will find plenty of bars and clubs, some well-hidden in the picturesque alleys of the old town and others lining the water front with a gorgeous view to the night sky.


Rethymnon`s sophisticated nightlife is right in town at the old harbor, with a variety of beach bars and clubs by the sea as well. 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 honor of its prime local export. Locals and tourists alike dance and down copious quantities of locally produced wine.

Agios Nikolaos

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 favor a night out at the festival over the clubland cacophony of nearby Malia.