Maleme is a quiet village about 16 kilometres west of Chania on the north coast of western Crete. It is the last in a string of beaches on this part of the coast, starting at Agia Marina in the east.
Maleme is built on a small hill between the rivers Tavronitis and Geranis and was the focus of fierce fighting in World War II during the battle of Crete.
German paratroopers gained a foothold on the airfield, a move that led to them taking over the island and forcing the evacuation of thousands of Allied troops.
The airfield was taken after a significant loss of life on the German side, and there is a memorial cemetery on the hillside overlooking the sands.
Today Maleme is a major holiday resort with small hotels and apartments spread over the plain. The main road is also packed with tavernas, cafes and bars.
Although a tourist hotspot, it is much less overrun than resorts to the east like Platanias.
The beach is very wide and deep with scruffy sand and pebble backed by scrub and low dunes. There are plenty of sunbeds and tourist facilities such as beach bars as well as watersports.
Maleme also has cafes and tavernas on the waterfront road, but for a more lively nightlife tourists head into Platanias in the east.
Maleme is much less crowded than rival resorts such as Platanias and Agia Marina. There is a regular bus service to Chania.