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Malia Crete

Ancient Stories in the Stones

Pithos jar, used for food, oils and grains (photo by Alexander Baranov)

Malia Crete - Minoan Palace - Ανάκτορο Μαλίων

This archaeological site of a Minoan palace is located 41 km east of Heraklion in the north of the island of Crete in Greece.

Malia Crete - the ruins of the ancient Minoan Palace, show the visitor a historic site with great detail for imagining the life in the palace.

The third largest Minoan palace to be discovered on the island, it was legend that Sarpedon, the brother of King Minos, held court here. The site can be reached easily by the national road, and can also be visited from Agios Nikolaos, as it is only 27 km by the national road.

Looking towards the mountains (image by Alexander Baranov)Ancient Site at Malia Crete

The buildings date from 1900 BC
, in the middle of the Bronze Age, and was destroyed around 1650 BC, rebuilt and destroyed again in 1450 BC. The ruins present today are in remarkable condition and excavations are ongoing. Some of the site is preserved under protective roofing, and some of the site is off limits to visitors. Recent findings indicate a whole Minoan village surrounding the palace.

The complete history of the site can be learnt at the information centre. Artifacts from this site and those close by can be found at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, in the centre of town.

The bee pendant as seen in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum todayThe bee pendant as seen in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum today

Bee pendant of the Minoans who made honey - this precious artifact was found near this site

One of the most potent symbols of Crete from ancient times is the humble bee. This is because the Cretan honey was well known and traded throughout the region, this symbol also represents fertility. A precious gold bee pendant is amongst the finds from the digs near here, and is on display at the museum in Heraklion.

Large pithos jars reconstructed (photo by Alexander Baranov)

On site can be seen the large clay pots known as pithos jars, which stored many foods and goods such as grain and olive oil. In the Room of the Panther the stone head of a sceptre, dating from 1700 BC, was discovered; shaped as a panther, with intricate carvings, it is thought to have had ceremonial uses and is also on display at the Heraklion museum.

Symbol of the local government incorporates the bee pendant design

The site of Malia Palace is nowhere near as famous or as busy as Knossos Palace, so most of the time it can easily be accessed with plenty of time and space to wander around. There is a small entrance fee. Check with your hotel about opening hours as these change with the seasons.

Brown point of interest sign for the Palace of Malia

Archaeological site with covered digs (image by Alexander Baranov)

Shade at the entrance to the archaeological site (photo by Alexander Baranov)

Ruins and flowers, memories of ancient times (photo by Alexander Baranov)

Malia Crete
Opening Times

Malia Crete - always check days and times with your hosts or your hotel and on the official site for archaeological sites in Greece - Odysseus - as opening times can vary from time to time.

Detailed information and opening times are available here

Ancient History of Crete

Minoan Palaces of Crete

Ancients sites all over the island.

Nearby Knossos Palace Site

The most famous Minoan archaeological site on Crete.


Malia Crete - all hotels in central Heraklion are close to this site. We suggest two below. If you would like to stay in a picturesque traditional village, just a few km from Heraklion and 10 km from Knossos Palace Site and 52 km from Malia site, we suggest the beautiful village of Archanes.

Relax on country roads or take the national road to visit Malia Palace site, whilst visiting one of the best wine regions of Crete.

Lato Boutique Hotel Heraklion

The Lato is a small modern boutique hotel with only 53 rooms located between the port and the centre of town, convenient to all points of interest in Heraklion with the most marvellous view of the old harbour from some of its rooms. Be sure to ask for the harbour view room. What a feeling waking up on your first morning in Heraklion seeing that pretty harbour with fishing boats and its Venetian fort. We always found the Lato provided excellent service. This is not a tourist hotel, and has many Greek business travellers to stay.

Veneziano Boutique Hotel in Heraklion

The Veneziano Boutique Hotel in a beautifully renovated noble home is tucked in a side street yet very central to the walking and shopping streets of central Heraklion. Enjoy a little bit of history and a whole lot of style here in this exquisite hotel.

Archontiko Studios in Archanes Village

Archontiko Studios in Archanes Village

This traditional 19th century mansion in the centre of the village of Archanes, dating from 1893, has been lovingly restored and created into the Arhontiko studios for guests. There are two studios sleeping four visitors each. This building is declared a 'Protected Historical Building'.

Explore Heraklion

In the region of Heraklion, there is just so much to explore:


Below is a video of the Malia Palace Archaeological site as it stands today:

On the Map

Below you can see the location of all the Minoan Palaces on Crete.

Getting Here

Flights leave Athens regularly for Heraklion Airport with trip duration of 1 hour.

Ferries leave Pireaus Port of Athens daily with a crossing time of 6-9 hours.

Take a taxi, hire car or bus to the site which is easily accessible by the national road only 41 km from Heraklion and 38.2 km from Heraklion Aiport

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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