Bali, 38km east of Rethymno and 51km west of Iraklio, has one of the most stunning settings on the northern coast, with a series of little coves strung along the indented shore, marked by hills, promontories and narrow sandy beaches. But helter-skelter development has significantly marred the natural beauty and the former fishing hamlet has all but disappeared under the weight of package tourism. Beaches can get crammed with sun-worshippers in summer. In low season, though, it’s a fun place to come and enjoy the dramatic scenery and take advantage of lodging bargains.
The name Bali has nothing to do with its Indonesian namesake; it means ‘honey’ in Turkish, as excellent honey was once collected and processed here. In antiquity Bali was known as Astali, but no traces of ancient Astali now remain.