Summer has to be, without a doubt, my favourite season. The rest of the year has been shrouded in a literal cloud of drizzle (don’t even think of leaving home without an umbrella) that saturates both our jackets and our mindsets. But then June comes along and it’s like a switch has been flipped. The sun comes out – along with the shorts – and the whole nation’s mood changes; it’s a time for beer gardens, sundowners and endless summer shenanigans.
It’s also, ironically, a time when most of us seek even sunnier climes for more exotic fun in the sun. For me, a group holiday is the epitome of summer fun and I’ve found the perfect place for a party. Whether you’re a school leaver or an office worker looking to let your hair down , there’s no better destination to celebrate summer than Hersonissos, Greece.
Rave on Repeat
At first look, Hersonissos presents a facade of a quiet seaside town with waves lapping quietly on the small shoreline lined with restaurants. But that is greatly underestimating its party potential! Once the sun sets, the bars burst into life with bright lights, pumping music fills the air and the whole area transforms into Crete’s hottest nightspot. Everything and anything is on offer – from trance, dance, house, to pop and rock – this is no time for sleeping!
For a first-timer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so I’d recommend starting out along Palea EO Irakliou Agiou Nikolaou, AKA ‘Bar Street’. You’ll find smaller bars ideal for a relatively quiet pre-drink before hitting the clubs. As the evening goes on, continue along Bar Street and you’ll notice the clubs taking over. There’s such great variety that you’re sure to find something right for your tastes. So, if you’re open to anything, I’ve created a list of some of my favourite venues.
Kahlua Beach Bar
With a chilled-out atmosphere highlighted by the soft glow of purple neon light that fills the bar, a relaxed drink at Kahlua is the perfect way to start the evening. Share a shisha pipe and sip on colourful cocktails on the outdoor patio overlooking the sea – there’s no better way to ease yourself into the party scene.
For a wild night that goes on well after the next day’s sun comes up, Havana Club is your destination. While most places offer great buy-one-get-one-free deals, here Happy Hour lasts all night long. So if you’re up for a mad one, this is for you.
If you’re looking to experience the Greek club scene, Enigma likes to keeps things local. Playing only Greek hits and serving up some of the country’s finest alcohol, the circular bar is a hub of Greek youth culture. Plus, it’s in a great location, making it easy to drift from one place to the next.
I can’t talk about Hersonissos without mentioning the Matrix. The town’s largest club is regarded as the best in the area. Serving up delicious fresh cocktails at a reasonable price, and playing a wide variety of music, it’s an unmissable destination.
When the Munchies Strike
To fuel your night of dancing (and drinking), finding some good food is essential. Luckily, in this coastal town, you’re unlikely to go hungry. There are hundreds of fantastic dining choices to suit all palates, from trendy waterfront restaurants serving fresh seafood to more laid-back, family-run tavernas further inland offering traditional dishes, pizza, and even sushi!
For the less adventurous, this rustic restaurant is a great choice. The varied menu offers all sorts, from seafood platters to home comforts like four-cheese pasta. For a hearty meal and a friendly atmosphere, this is the place to go.
They say that if you have to queue, the food’s got to be good. It’s certainly true for this restaurant, my favourite in the region. Although it’s a little further out in the countryside, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re keen to try some authentic Greek cuisine. The food is simple but tasty; think handmade dolmades for starters and sumptuous rabbit stifado for mains.
The White Lion
If you find yourself feeling a little homesick, take yourself to this local pub and you’ll feel like you’re back in Ol’ Blighty – except with more cocktails and a better climate. With great prices, you can find everything here, from a full rack of ribs and pizza to a hearty English breakfast for the morning after.
Where to Stay
Top Tip: While staying the centre of the action might sound appealing, accommodation a little further out is more affordable and quieter. Anissaras is close to Hersonissos and is a lovely place to recuperate after a wild night of dancing.
Golden Dream Apartments: Less than a mile away, this apartment complex offers all the little luxuries without the price tag. You and your friends can share a spacious, air-conditioned crash pad complete with sea-views, kitchenette and all essentials provided. There’s free wifi, a swimming pool and if you’re keen to save some money and want to cook for yourselves, a supermarket is just a short walk away.
Aldemar Cretan Village: If you’ve come to Crete in search of sun, sea and sand as well as a party, this is a great option. This resort is just over a mile from the town itself and has plenty to offer in the way of water sports and fun activities. Better yet, the resort has a number of bars to choose from, and even its own nightclub. There’s also a huge breakfast buffet perfect for prepping for a night on the town or for the re-fuel the day after.
How to Get There
Flights from the UK to Heraklion International Airport are pretty reasonable time-wise, lasting around 3 hours 45 minutes. There are a number of airlines that offer around 33 direct flights a week, with the most popular being Sun-Air.
I’d highly recommend that you pre-book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct and, once you’ve landed, getting to your accommodation in Anissaras is an easy 30-minute drive from the airport. Their friendly drivers know the area like the back of their hand, so all you have to worry about is having fun!
About Shuttle Direct
As the leading provider of pre-bookable airport transfers throughout Europe, Shuttle Direct
has been helping travellers kick off their holidays as smoothly as possible for years. Their experienced drivers know the destinations like the back of their hands, meaning that all you need to think about is where your first party will be!