Maleme is 16 km from Chania and belongs administratively to the municipality of Platanias, Chania. Maleme was the landing point of German paratroopers who invaded Crete in 1941, at the beginning of the Battle of Crete (Operation Mercury) during Second World War. The paratroopers occupied the airport which was out of town, which allowed airlifting the necessary aid for the conquest of the island. The German paratroopers who lost their lives during the battle of Maleme are buried in the German cemetery on the hill above Maleme.
Outside Maleme, near the bridge of Tauronitis, there is also a monument in memory of the fallen airmen of RAF who were killed in battle.
A vaulted tomb of Late Minoan period was discovered in Maleme.