Heraklion is the largest city and the capital of Crete, located 30km westerly from Malia. A stroll in the city will lead you to shopping in its modern stores, enjoying your coffe or lunch in one of the hundreds restaurants, exploring the Venetian harbor and the fortress of Rocea al Mare, the architecture and the urban sculptures such as the Morosini fountain in the Lions square, the Venetian Logia or the St Minas and St Titus Cathedrals , and the Archeological or the Natural History Museums.
Probably the most famous landmark of Crete, Knossos is one of the most impresive archeological sites in Greece and is considered the Europe's oldest city. The palace of the Knossos was the ceremonial and political center of Minoan civiliazation and culture and it appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces and store rooms close to a central square. Few kilometers from the Knossos Palace, back to Heraklion city, you can visit the renovated Archeological Museum which exibits material from the ancient period of Cretan history.
Few minutes away from Malia, in the foothills of the Selena mountain there are several traditional villages that you can explore towards to the Lasithi Plateau. You should visit the springs and the famous Plane tree, with a 24-meters length trunk that is aged about 1800-2000 years old in Krasi Village, the Eastern Orthodox monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary that it is suited in the next village of Kera or try the traditional restaurants in the Lasithi Plateau.
Agios Nicolaos is a costal city lying 25 kilometers east from Malia and is probably most known as a touristic town. Tourists attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, the small beaches in the town, the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archeological museum, the local floral exhibition 'Iris' and numerous fairs. It is a great place to have your coffe and your drinks !
The island of Spinalonga is located in the gult of Elounda, next to the small village Plaka, only few kilometers from Agios Nikolaos. In the past the island was a lepper colony and before that a Venetian fortress, used for defence purposes. Today is uninhabited and a popoular tourist attraction, well known for the fortress, the small pebble beaches and the shallow waters. The island can easily be accessed with boats from Plaka, Elouda or Agios Nikolaos. Spinaloga has appeared in novels ("The Island" by Victoria Hislop), TV series (the british "Who pays the Ferryman?" and the greek "To nisi") and short films ("Last Words").