Crete is Greece’s largest island and a tapestry of unfolding countryside, stunning beaches, and ancient archaeological sites meaning it has something to offer everyone. Rosanna, our travel expert, recently travelled to the island and shares with us her personal highlights.
Details of your favourite properties and why?
Villa Aphrodite, Maza, Crete: This rural property is set in the hills at the foot of the white mountains with spectacular panoramas. No city noises, just the sound of crickets and goat bells can be heard. The owner, who is also the local fire chief, produces his own olive oil which is offered to guests and the grounds are covered with olive groves, vineyards, pretty flowers, and even a mini zoo – goats, horses and a reindeer! On a clear night the stars twinkle above and the red sunsets are beautiful. A 5 minute walk uphill takes you to the only taverna in Maza which is traditionally Greek and offers great local food. It’s owner-managed by Costas – a Zorba look-alike who often sings to his patrons!
Villa Anastasia, Kalives, Crete: This is my second visit to the property and I’m happy to see that it still remains a favourite. A beautiful stone built property in the heart of Kalives village with a bakery, supermarket, shops and a good choice of restaurants all on your doorstep.
Favourite viewpoint and why?
There are many viewpoints when driving along the northern coastline – the view of Souda Bay when leaving the airport en route for Kalives, the road to Almirida from Kalives where there is a stunning panorama over Kalives village and coastline, green valley and mountain backdrop of Georgioupolis.
Favourite activity ans why?
I always take the opportunity to take a boat trip – this time however it was a pedalo for four in Georgioupolis. An hour on the river avoiding the bamboo and weaving through the shrubbery to an area where there is a chance of seeing turtles – no luck on this occasion though unfortunately! The colour and size of the dragonflies was amazing.
Where you ate your best meals. What did you have? Why was it your favourite?
The taverna in Maza, run by Costas and Voula, offers a very Greek experience. No menus as the dishes are pre-set for the day. You can check the day before what meals will be offered. Very welcoming, good home cooked Greek dishes. We had five courses for 48 Euros (for four people) including drinks. Greek salad, typical cheese pies and meatballs, a dish of cooked vegetables (aubergines, marrow, courgettes and potatoes in a tomato sauce) and a plate of homemade chips and barbecued meat (pork and lamb). Dessert was a Greek trifle soaked in alcohol and fruit (water melon and grapes) washed down by the local wine.
Mythos restaurant in Georgioupolis was also very good and highly recommended. Local products are used as much as possible. I had a beef Stifado with onions and chips which was excellent. All the restaurants in Crete offer something complimentary at the end of the meal from fresh watermelon slices to Raki wine – an unsweetened, anise-flavoured alcoholic drink. Here, however, they offered mini ice cream on a stick – similar to magnums. The staff are very friendly and greeted many guests by name. The cost was approximately 13 Euros per person for two courses and drinks.
What were the highlights of your trip?
Beautiful weather, clear skies with bright stars twinkling above (no light pollution), amazing sunsets, coast and mountains, excellent food and warm friendly locals. What more can you ask for?
General feel of the area?
Crete is one of my favourite islands for many reasons, one being the food here is so good and prices very reasonable. The tomatoes are so tasty and the watermelon so sweet. Hiring a car for the second week gave flexibility of visiting many small coastal and mountain villages and towns and enjoying meals in a variety of good family-run restaurants. The daily run to the bakery is a must – Vrisses (near Maza) has an excellent bakery with bread, Greek pastries and cakes.
Crete has one of the longest beach-lounging seasons in Greece so there is still time to escape on your perfect Greece villa holiday this summer. Click here for more information.