Stalis is a place several kilometres long and only a few hundred metres wide along the coast. A large part of the coast in the local area consists of sandy beaches. Behind the shore there are taverns, hotels, bars and shops along a traffic-calmed road. Further away from the shore there is a busy road connecting Stalida with Chersonissos in the west and Malia in the east. The frequent buses between Heraklion, the airport, Chersonissos, Stalida and Malia stop here at about five stops. In summer there are at least three buses in each direction.
There is a small village square in the centre of Stalida on the lakeside road. There is a tiny church that is hardly bigger than a chapel. On and around the central square there are several taverns and a gyros pita shop.
Most tourists spend the day along the road on the shore or directly on the beach. There are countless beach bars, taverns and pubs. Hotels and guesthouses can be found in every price range. In between are cafes, supermarkets and other shops. Stalis is not very beautiful and looks a bit unplanned and chaotic. It is a fast built tourist place at the Mediterranean Sea in the last decades. Those who are looking for a quiet holiday are rather wrong in Stalida. If you like hustle and bustle and nightlife, then this is the right place for you. But the nightlife is by far not as extreme as in the neighbouring British party town Malia. The audience in Stalis is rather mixed. There are also many older people. There are some big luxury hotels in Stalis.
The question why the place has two names, nobody could answer us so far. Also the Greeks say Stalis to the half and Stalida to the other half. It seems to us that the place name Stalida is slowly establishing itself in recent years.
Food and drink Stalis
If you come to Stalida for the first time, you are almost killed by the many billboards of the taverns and shops. No fewer restaurants have an employee standing in front of the door whose job it is to attract tourists to their restaurant. Such restaurants and bars should be avoided, they are usually expensive and bad.
We cannot present here all the taverns and other places of Stalis, there are far more than 100. Here is a small list of restaurants that we know and have enjoyed. If not stated otherwise, you will find the restaurants on the Stalis waterfront road.
Let's start with a little snack bar for the afternoon. The Cretan Family on the main square opposite the small church. Here we have a gyros pita for three euros or large portions with typical Greek food like gyros or souvlaki with side dishes. We can also recommend pancakes and crepes to take away. Opposite on the square is a good Chinese restaurant.
Our favourite tavern in Stalis is not directly at the shore road, but about 50 meters inland. In the Taverna Katerina the nice owners serve delicious, typical Greek dishes. As in old times, everything is freshly prepared. Whether the mushrooms with garlic and the Tzatziki as starter or the Stifado and the fish as main course, nowhere in Stalis it tasted better for us. At Katerina, most main courses still cost significantly less than 10 euros.
Back on the lakeside road you will find the high-quality restaurant Akti. Kalamari in lemon sauce or the grilled octopus are fantastic starters. The steaks and pasta dishes come in large, tasty portions.
In addition to the Greek taverns there are many British restaurants and bars in Stalida. The Red Lion is a real English restaurant. On the large menus you will find Beef Stew, Chicken Korma, Fish and Chips or Fish Fingers for children. The drinks and furnishings in the Red Lion are also reminiscent of a pub in England. The Red Lion has been around for many years and is something of a legend in Stalis.
A real Irish pub is the Irish House. The great Guinness costs here 6 euros, 0.5 liters of Greek beer from the barrel (myth) only 3 euros (prices year 2016). One feels almost like in Ireland. However, there is one big difference: the guests may use the deck chairs of the pub free of charge. The Irish House is in the centre of Stalida directly on the beach and has a beach beer garden.
You get the best coffee in Stalis on Crete at Sweet World. At the entrance there is only a big letter "Bakery Cafe" (see picture). Of course there is also cappuccino, frappé (Greek iced coffee) and much more. Also the pastries to take away, like raisin bags or cheese bags, are delicious.
Last but not least another beach bar for the day. In the Beach Bar Themis you can enjoy a good cocktail before or after sunset. The round bar is a good place to meet people. The Themis is in the centre of Stalida. At this place the beach is especially beautiful, but in summer it is often very crowded.
At many places of the place one finds very fine sandy beach. Everywhere deckchairs and sunshades are rented (about 3 to 5 Euro per person). At some beach bars you can get a deckchair for free if you order a lunch. If the beach in the centre of Stalis is too crowded in summer, you can go to a beach in the surrounding area. There are many water sports on Stalida beach.