From Tinos to Santorini and Corfu to Crete, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite Greek villas to stay at during Autumn.
Fall is one of the best seasons to visit Greece, as with harvest comes some of the best food festivals, local markets, and restaurants that take pride in highlightingthe delicious seasonal produce on offer. Now’s the time you’ll also find fewer crowds, giving visitors a fantastic opportunity to experience the Greek islands’ cultural, historical, and gastronomic charms.
These fresher days are when it’s ideal to have a cozy and welcoming villa to call home. So, here are our top picks across the Greek islands for an unforgettable stay this autumn!
Known for being a foodie’s paradise, Tinos is one of the best Greek islands to visit during Autumn, as you can go on some awesome hikes and also find some amazing wineries that deserve to be explored. And this architectural oasis in Volax, is the perfect place to stay, as it’s a one-of-a-kind holiday home that is truly warm and inviting. Built carefully into the magnificent boulders that make Volax so unique, the spacious and airy 3-bedroom home is cleverly laid out with an internal garden and wide glass doors, making guests feel close to nature both day and night.
With a charming Venetian Old Town, great local museums and markets, and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Corfu is an ideal place for a getaway this time of year. And boasting a stunning sea view position in one of Corfu’s most sought-after areas, Iola is one of the top luxury villas available for rent in the Ionian Islands. Featuring an exquisite design, superior fittings and finishings, and stylish designer furnishings; its array of high-spec amenities, including a cinema room, a sauna, a gym and an infinity pool, guarantees you won’t want to leave!
Greece’s most romantic island is as grand as ever in Autumn, so if you want to catch the magical sunset and the fall moon rising over this beautiful Cycladic isle, this is the best time to visit! With amazing hiking, wineries and restaurants open till the end of November, this 3- bedroom villa is the perfect place to come back to after a long day of exploring. Boasting classic Santorini architecture and breathtaking caldera views, this cliffside home with an infinity pool and terrace will make your time here all the more memorable.
The largest island of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the medieval Old Town, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. With its impressive castle, fortifications and cobbled streets, Rhodes’ beautiful historic sites are best enjoyed out of peak season. And only a 15-minute drive from the Old Town, you’ll find this well-decorated bungalow that offers a lovely getaway for a holiday among friends or a small family. With a pool, BBQ area, and hammock, this is the kind of place you can easily come back to and totally unwind after a busy day sightseeing!
The temperatures in Crete are never too cold, and beautiful autumn days are filled with sunny afternoons allowing you the chance for a swim until the end of November. And what better place to stay than this beautiful beachfront villa with stunning sea views, that’s only a few minutes walk to the local shops and restaurants! Featuring clean and modern finishes, this stunning abode also boasts an outdoor swimming pool with a jacuzzi.
Chania is known for its wonderful people, warm hospitality, and fresh produce. And if you would like to learn about the Cretan cuisine and culture, this unique food and wine tour run by a local will allow you to experience all the gastronomical delights this beautiful city has to offer on foot.
Awaken your senses as you leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets of Chania that are adorned with a fascinating history; and immerse yourself in the aromas and flavours of Cretan cuisine, as a hospitable local Cretan host guides you to spots where you can taste authentic savoury and sweet treats.
Kelly Michelakis from The Greek Odyssey, says her tours are designed for guests to “learn about the food that makes Crete so special, as you will be able to sample many Cretan delicacies and learn what the Cretan culture is all about by a local.
“Sip on a Greek coffee and enjoy every bite of the famous Cretan bougatsa, as well as enjoy a light lunch at an iconic Cretan eatery. Our guests can learn about the different cakes and biscuits on display as we browse the local bakery, sample Greece’s famous loukoumades, try local cheese that you can’t find elsewhere and view the regional and seasonal produce of the passionate traders who are so proud to share their knowledge,” says Kelly.
With two tours currently available, there is a three-hour Food Day Tour through the backstreets and little-known pockets; where guests can sample Cretan specialties, in between visiting some old traditional stores to learn about Cretan culture and heritage.
There is also a Food and Wine Night Tour that allows guests to taste Cretan delicacies as they sip on local wine and spirits. This is where you can enjoy every bite of traditional Cretan appetizer, while admiring the stunning views of the city by night.
Let’s be honest, the perfect Greek island summer holiday entails arriving at the beach in the morning (ordering a Freddo Cappuccino as soon as you get there) and leaving when it’s almost dark (after that last post-sunset swim and a cocktail at the bar).
Whether you prefer kicking back on a sun bed listening to famous DJs playing the latest and hottest tracks, or discovering remote spots that offer complete and utter privacy- we’ve rounded up the best Greek islands for those (like us) who love spending endless hours at the beach every summer!
Greece’s largest island is filled with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and whether you visit Chania, Rethymno, or Heraklion- you are in for a treat!
Best beaches in Crete
Vai (about 2 hours from Heraklion), Preveli (closest to Rethymnon), Balos (55 km from Chania), Elafonisi (1.5-hour drive from Chania), and Seitan Limani (in Chania).
This small Cycladic island offers breathtaking beaches and stunning waters; the bonus is you can easily get around from one beach to another without a car!
Best beaches in Koufonissia
Finikas, Fanos, Ammos, Italida, Pori, Charakopou and Parianos.
Postcard-perfect beaches are scattered all over the island! From famous Porto Katsiki to remote little bays that boast crystal clear waters- Lefkada is a must for water babies!
Best beaches in Lefkada
Porto Katsiki, Egremni, Kathisma, Pefkoulia, Agiofili and Avali.
Lefkada’s neighbouring Ionian isle is also renowned for its stunning waters that are surrounded by lush cliffs that make for memorable days at the beach.
Best beaches in Zakynthos
Navagio (for the views), Marathonissi island (a small boat ride from town), Gerakas, Dafni, Limnionas, Porto Vromi, and Xyngia.
Fast becoming one of Greece’s most popular islands, Milos is home to some of the Cyclades (if not Greece’s) most beautiful beaches.
Best beaches in Milos
Sarakiniko, Firiplaka, Tsigrado, Papafragas and Fyropotamos.
This is the largest island of the Cyclades and an ideal destination for those that want to spend all day and night on a long sandy beach that’s lined with taverns and bars- so you don’t need to move!
Best beaches in Naxos
Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agios Giorgios, Sahara and Mikri Vigla.
An under-the-radar island that offers striking beaches that are quiet and remote; this is the ideal island for those who prefer privacy and tranquility during their summer getaway.
Best beaches in Donoussa
Kedros, Livadi, Kalotaritissa, Fikio and Stavros
With water temperatures that are ideal from early Spring through to late Autumn, Rhodes is by far one of the best Greek islands for those that want to make the most of the magical Mediterranean Sea!
Housed in a 1950s building, Maiami, a cool new concept store – that’s “part painting studio, part brasserie, and part boutique” recently opened its doors in Kum Kapi, at the east end of the picturesque port of Chania.
The brainchild of artist and ceramist Alexandra Manousakis, a talented Greek American who remodels her personal experiences into colourful abstract and ceramic art, Maiama is Manousakis’ latest project – allowing the artist to combine her love of art, design, food and wine- all under the one roof.
From the bright entrance to the vibrant paintings on the walls, the bright blue chairs, and the striking emerald green fireplace- Manousakis carefully designed each element to inspire dialogue and other creative projects.
As the name suggests, there is a hint of American influence in both the design and food/ drinks menu, which reflects Manousakis’ personal life and taste. The Miami/Greek island vibe creates a modern yet authentic feel that’s both warm and cozy for guests who are invited to share in Manousakis’ world.
Stand-out starters include Salad Shirazi- finely diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a spicy lemon dressing with Mizithra goat cheese, and a Spinach + Artichoke Dip served with pita chips.
Signature dishes include the Steak Fritters- filet mignon served with French fries and pepper sauce, Afshin chicken -sautéed chicken with seared broccoli and Persian rice, and the Mama Sharma shrimp with turmeric, mustard seed and onion.
For dessert there is a warm chocolate chip cookies and milk combo, or a New York-style cheesecake; while the wines are all exclusively chosen from Manousakis estates (located nearby) and feature a Syrah, Assyrtiko and Mourvèdre. And for those seeking a cocktail- check out the Maiami with Mastiha liqueur and mandarin soda, or the Molavi- a classic margarita with Vodka and hints of cucumber.
A: Akti Miaouli and 11 Mesolongiou, Chania
Open: Thursday to Monday 5 pm to 12 am (closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
If you prefer staying in an intimate hotel rather than a large resort, Monastery Estate Retreat is the perfect place where you can experience rustic luxury, tranquility, and true Cretan hospitality in a converted 200- year- old family home surrounded by olive groves and the stunning mountainside.
Located in the remote village of Moni, in Sougia Chania, the Monastery Estate Retreat is a small boutique hotel that’s ideal for those in search of an exclusive and authentic concept of hospitality that uniquely blends luxury, tradition, and modern living.
The Monastery Retreat effortlessly blends into its natural environment, allowing guests to enjoy the simple beauty and beautiful nature that surrounds the property.
Offering eleven minimalist rooms divided into four categories, each one offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Lefka Ori Mountains and olive trees. The rooms exude a rustic-chic, minimalist design, featuring concrete, wood, metal, and contemporary furniture, soft touches, warm tones, and natural materials, that creates a perfect balance between comfort and style. Each room has a sunny terrace and a private swimming pool with built-in sun loungers and whirlpool baths.
A delightful and traditional Cretan breakfast with fresh products is served on the ground floor room which opens onto an outdoor terrace, otherwise, you can enjoy the morning feast on your private balcony. Breakfast options include traditional Dakos rusks, yogurt, fresh fruit, juices, delicious homemade jams and plenty of homemade bread and sweet local pastries.
If you are in need of some pampering, you can take advantage of the spa area with a sauna, hammam, and a range of relaxing massages. And if you are wondering what’s nearby- Sougia beach is only a 10-minute drive away from the hotel, and local shops and taverns are roughly 12 minutes away.
The family-run hotel prides itself on its friendly staff who go out of their way to guide guests on what to see and do and are also able to book tours and other unique experiences on offer close by.
Snowfall blanketed much of Greece on Monday, from Athens and Crete to Naxos and Santorini, as the country turned into a winter wonderland with layers of snow.
A severe snowstorm disrupted road and air traffic Monday in the Greek capital of Athens while snow blanketed most of Greece, including Tinos, Naxos, Mykonos and Santorini as well Evia. And the Acropolis was covered in a layer of heavy snow on Tuesday as the Greek capital received its heaviest winter storm in 12 years. Ancient ruins around the city were covered in a coat of white snow, making for unique photoshoots of monuments across Athens.
The Greek government has also declared a holiday Tuesday in the greater Athens area, parts of central Greece and the islands to keep people safe. Only essential services including supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies remain open.
The snow closed parts of Greece’s highways and temporarily stopped ferry service from Athens to the Greek islands. Flights to and from regional airports were also disrupted, Authorities urged the public to refrain from nonessential travel.
Greek carrier Aegean Airlines cancelled most flights on Monday and said it expected schedules to be disrupted on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.
The cold weather is expected to stay in Greece until Wednesday, moving further south to the island of Crete.
Given there are over 6000 beautiful Greek islands, of which roughly 227 are inhabited, deciding which one to visit is always a hard decision to make.
If you’re planning a Greek summer holiday for 2022, the editors at IN+SIGHTS GREECE rounded up their favourite Greek islands (based on recent visits) and recommend adding them to your Greek island getaway list for this year!
P.S. This list is in no particular order- they are all just as spectacular as each other!
The charmingly mysterious Folegandros, situated in the corner of the southern part of the Cyclades, entices with its deep blue waters that are in complete harmony with its steep mountains, picturesque Chora, and jaw-dropping sunsets. This Greek island exudes natural beauty and it’s a dreamy destination where you can completely relax and unwind in style.
Part of the Small Cyclades, Donousa is perfect to explore by boat so you can get up close to the magnificent caves like “Spilia Tichou” with its beautiful stalactite formations- or discover “Fokospilia” a habitat of seals. Also, head over to the southeast of the island where you’ll find a mountainous village with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. And for the most beautiful beaches on the island, make your way to Livadi and Fikio.
Located a little over two hours away from Athens, the luscious island of Spetses is a perfect weekend escape from the Greek capital. This idyllic, car-free island of the Argosaronic Gulf is a favourite spot for affluent Athenians and international jet-setters.
Located in the Sporades islands, Skyros is only three and a half hours away from Athens; a destination untouched by tourism, it retains its tradition and authenticity. Whether you are an adventure seeker or looking to relax, Skyros offers a unique experience that entices you to unveil all its mysteries.
The dreamy landscape of this almost untouched Cycladic island is composed of rugged hills, historic mining sites, breathtaking coves, picturesque settlements, classic Greek island architecture, and endless beaches. The wild beauty of Serifos will fill your soul, relax your mind, and steal your heart.
Whitewashed houses, delicious food, unbeatable beaches. This is Naxos island in one sentence- one of our favourite Greek islands that never ceases to amaze. Beautiful beaches, ancient sites and museums; plus great food, atmospheric mountainous villages, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere for those who want to stay out all night. Naxos has something for every type of traveller and fulfills even the most demanding one!
Home to the beautiful town of Ermoupolis, Syros features stunning neoclassical architecture, old mansions, marble-paved streets, charming town squares, imposing churches, and historical monuments. Syros is not only rich in both history and culture, but it also boasts beautiful beaches including Galissas, Delphini, Kini, Finikas and De La Gratsia.
A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), Hydra island has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure. It’s aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys with colourful bougainvillea; plus impeccable sunsets.
Volcanic rocks, vast blue magic waters, stunning sunsets, jaw-dropping beaches, geological formations and picturesque settlements by the sea, all together narrate exquisite stories about this Cycladic island that blows your mind away every time you step foot here. Fast becoming one of Greece’s most popular destinations, there is still an authentic and untouched beauty about Milos island.
Boasting spectacular azure waters and charming architecture, Paxos is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands. Located on the Ionian, it boasts some of the most stunning and exotic beaches in the world; as well as a wonderful natural landscape with lush vegetation. Combining a cosmopolitan feel with natural beauty, Paxoi is a Greek island that has been described as a “paradise on earth”.
The largest of the Ionian Isles, Kefalonia remains pure and protected from mass tourism. What makes this place so special is the pride locals take in keeping their island clean, fresh, modern, yet warm and inviting, all while encouraging its natural charm and authentic beauty to shine through. From the main town of Argostoli where you’ll find a range of eateries, bars, and boutiques through to gorgeous fishing villages and quaint towns, there’s so much to see and do on this lush island.
Wild landscapes, diverse beaches, thermal springs, lively summer festivals in beautiful village squares, rugged mountains, and tavernas serving foods made from organic produce and local goods like goat’s cheese, honey, and meat are all part of the Ikaria experience.
The simplicity of this authentic island, which shares aesthetic elements of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, is what makes this destination extra special! Astypalea’s magnificent Chora, the old port, picturesque windmills, an imposing Venetian castle built of dark stones, and stunning beaches with crystal clear waters are the main reasons to fall in love with this beautiful Greek island.
Greece’s largest island is always a good idea! Renowned for its breathtaking beaches, rustic natural beauty, delightful cuisine and its remarkable hospitality, there is so much to see and do here. The main places to visit are Chania,Heraklion,Rethymno, and Agios Nikolaos; it doesn’t really matter where you go, as it’s a magnificent island filled with rich culture, history and traditions.
An ideal Greek island year-round as it’s located just two hours from Athens, Andros is filled with lush vegetation, abundant water, and stunning beaches. The beautiful Cycladic isle owes its lush greenery to its rich underground and surface water resources. Here you can experience the island’s rich culture and culinary flair. Also make sure you visit one of the many historic monasteries and churches, the amazing museums and enjoy the endless nature and its hiking trails.
The third-largest Cycladic island, Tinos is gifted with impeccable beauty. Crystal-clear waters, rare sorts of stone, architectural masterpieces, several charming villages with alleyways and bougainvillea, dovecotes, and the perfect environment to stimulate any artistic inclination- the island of Aeolus has it all!
The Aegean island of the Apocalypse is known as the place where Saint John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation. Patmos is a nostalgic destination, offering wild beauty, a striking coastline, medieval Chora, a maze of alleyways filled with cascading bougainvillea, and beautiful doors. Patmos is an unspoiled island that you should explore at your own pace.
Also located in the Dodecanese, Karpathos is an island of untouched beauty that’s loved for its authentic customs and centuries-old traditions. Visit the ancient acropolis, caves, churches and see locals in their traditional dress. Offering beautiful views from authentic mountainside villages- here you’ll get to understand what Greek island life is truly about.
The largest island of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. Make sure you visit Lindos, which has one of the best microclimates in the Mediterranean is a must, as well as the beaches of Anthony Quinn and Kallithea.
This Ionian isle boasts remarkable natural landscapes, world-famous beaches, verdant mountains, delightful local cuisine, a noteworthy winemaking tradition, and an exciting range of things to see and do. Otherwise known as Lefkas, it’s the perfect spot for a summer holiday.
An absolute gem in the heart of the Dodecanese, Symi is a small but mesmerising Greek island, which lies in the north of Rhodes. Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful destination is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. Many visitors arrive here on their private yacht and spend days (or weeks) enjoying the magical views surrounding them.
This undiscovered island close to Athens is filled with history, captivating scenery, imposing castles, secret caves, medieval villages and beautiful beaches. Located off the south coast of the Peloponnese, Kythira also features delightful villages and lovely local delicacies that you’re sure to enjoy.
Greek company REDS S.A. has been awarded the development of the former U.S. base in Gournes, Heraklion, Crete, for 40.2 million euros, the country’s privatizations agency announced.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) said that the sale was conducted through the process of electronic auction and that the board will soon convene to ratify the e-auction result.
Dubbed the ‘Small Ellinikon”, after the development of the former Athens international airport, the asset is considered to be a key item in the country’s privatizations agenda.
The real estate property of Gournes consists of a beachfront land plot of 345,567 sqm located 13km from the airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” and 16 km from Heraklion. During the last 20 years, land plots neighboring the property have been developed, the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, the Cretaquarium Thalassocosmos, the International Exhibition and Conference Centre of Crete, etc.
The tender, which follows years of delay, comes amid an emerging investment and building boom on Crete, the Mediterranean’s fifth-largest island.
Long one of Greece’s leading tourist destinations, Crete welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year and boasts several world-class tourist attractions like the Minoan era Knossos Palace, the legendary site of King Minos, and the Minotaur. Over the last two years, foreign investors have engaged in a number of deals and resort projects on the island.
In 2020, Hines acquired five hotels on Crete and Russia-based developer Mirum began work on its long-awaited Elounda Hills resort project in the summer. U.S. investment fund Blackstone recently acquired the Elounda Blu hotel in Crete – its sixth hotel property in Greece – through its Spanish subsidiary Hotel Investment Partners.
At the same time, the Greek government is investing billions of euros to upgrade Crete’s transport and power infrastructure. Work has recently begun on a new 1.5 billion euro international airport in Kastelli — located about 20 kilometers from Gournes – and is expected to be in operation by the end of 2023.
Also, underway is a 2 billion euro highway project stretching along the north coast of Crete, said to be one of the largest public works projects in Europe.
This article was first published here.
For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.
Located on the historic waterfront of Chania’s Old Town, this new food store, which won ‘Best Interior Décor Shop’ at the Design Awards 2021, is part of the famous Pallas Restaurant (right next door), and features a beautiful bakery, delicatessen, and wine cellar all under the one roof!
Pallas Philocaly is set in a striking neoclassical 1900’s building that recently received an award-winning renovation by leading Cretan designers Dimiourgiki. The new complex features modern décor, which blends in beautifully with the traditional architecture of Chania’s charming Old Town.
Boasting modern leather chairs, oakwood tables, and contemporary open display cabinets, there is also a range of fine metals and glamorous marble featured throughout the large open space- giving it a sleek, stylish, and classy feel.
The shop is divided into sections for visitors to easily browse through each area, which includes a grand marble display that’s always loaded with delicious creations both savoury and sweet. The bakery specialises in croissants, pastries, pralines, eclairs, and tarts that are handmade daily.
Step over to the wine tasting area with a cellar that includes over 400 local and international wine labels. The experienced sommelier shortlists a rotating selection of bottles and serves guests by the glass.
Pair your wine tasting with a delightful platter that features products from the dairy and cold cuts section- including a range of Cretan cheeses like Kefalotiri, Mizithra, Anthotyra, Staka, and local cold meats such as Pastrami, Vinegar Sausages, and Smoke-Cured pork cuts.
The pantry corner offers carefully selected artisanal products from local and international producers and here you will find honey, olive oil, and rusks from local Cretan producers; as well as handmade chocolates, pasta, jams, and other local and international products.
Opposite the pantry corner is an open grill counter where the chef prepares premium cuts and fish- just the way you like it- and you can eat indoors at the dining space or the bar area- otherwise there are also a few tables outside. On the menu, you will also find a range of sandwiches, salads, and other enticing light dishes.
While Greece is world-renowned as one of the best places to spend summer, there is something quaint about visiting the Greek islands in the autumn months.
The crowds begin to subside by the end of October without ever really clearing completely as many locals live on the islands year-round. Temperatures drop to a balmy 15 degrees and the air begins to feel crisp, but hints of sunshine still touch the skin and occasionally temperatures rise to 25 degrees- making a swim in the beautiful Aegean Sea possible.
There are many Greek islands that “shut down” after peak summer to rest and rejuvenate before they do it all again the following year. However, the places we’ve listed below are destinations we’ve visited in the cooler months- with locals who keep their beautiful islands alive all year round and warmly welcome visitors to experience island life without the crowds.
Greece’s largest island boasts world-famous archaeological sites, breathtaking beaches, charming villages, world-famous hikes, and amazing wineries. The temperatures in Crete are never too cold, and the autumn days feel endless, with plenty of sunny afternoons allowing locals to head to the beach for a swim until the end of November. Make sure you check out the archaeological and historical sites including Knossos, Arkadi Monastery, and Preveli Monastery and it’s also an ideal time to stay at one of the many eco-lodges. A highlight by far is hiking at the famous Samaria Gorge and the delightful Cretan cuisine– make sure you try as many of the local dishes as possible and if you are brave enough have a few shots of Raki, which will definitely warm you up!
The largest island of the Dodecanese, Rhodes boasts the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. The medieval Old Town with its impressive castle and fortifications and cobbled streets is one of the most beautiful historic sites in Greece, and one that is best enjoyed out of peak season. Stunning Lindos has one of the best microclimates in the Mediterranean, so you are pretty much guaranteed a swim here in October and November. Make sure you also visit Petaloúdes (Butterfly Valley) one of Rhodes’ most popular attractions; the nature reserve combines stunning rivers and waterfalls with colourful butterflies. The cooler months are when Rhodes’ beautiful villages also come to life and it’s a great time to visit a few of them. Make sure you sit at one of the traditional cafes or tavernas with the locals and enjoy the island’s delightful cuisine.
Corfu’s lovely capital is fast becoming one of Europe’s popular winter destinations. Its charming Venetian Old Town, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is ideal in the wintertime- perfect for exploring the museums and markets. This is also a great chance to explore Liston, the “French” part of town- a pretty promenade whose arcade is lined with chic cafés, restaurants, and boutiques. Also, hit the hiking trails that wind through mountain villages- there are hundreds of paths and routes to try. And although Corfu is busiest during Easter and summer- Corfu Town is also a popular destination during the Christmas and New Year period, so there’s a great range of tavernas to discover as well as many events, art exhibitions, and festivals that take place at the end of the year.
An ideal Greek island year-round as it’s located just two hours from Athens, Andros is filled with lush vegetation, abundant water, and stunning beaches. The beautiful Cycladic isle owes its lush greenery to its rich underground and surface water resources. Autumn in Andros is perfect for those who want to experience the island’s rich culture and culinary experiences; as here you can taste traditional dishes and modern cuisine. Visit one of the many historic monasteries and churches, the amazing museums (Museum of Contemporary Art, Archaeological Museum, Nautical Museum, Cyclades Olive Museum, Goulandris Museum) and enjoy the endless nature and its hiking trails. Also make sure you head to the wonderful natural environment and the healing properties of the Sariza spring water.
The Cyclades’ largest island offers a great range of outdoor activities in Autumn, including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Numerous hiking trails and bicycle routes take visitors through some of the island’s and Cyclades’ most impressive archaeological and spiritual monuments including Mount Zas, the Cyclades’ tallest mountain peak; one of Greece’s largest collections of Byzantine monuments; the Temple of Demeter and more. Foodies are also in for a treat as you can check out the island’s vibrant farming and agricultural industry including potato picking, cheese making, citron liqueur distillation, and more.
If you are looking for an authentic countryside getaway that will allow you to experience true Cretan hospitality and to become a part of a wonderful community during your stay- this destination is for you!
Vamos Fabrica Farm is located in a charming village in Chania and lies between the sea and the mountains, offering wonderful views and traditional architecture that blends in beautifully with nature.
Fabrica provides guests with a chance to become familiar with local agriculture and the rich traditions and culture that make Crete so unique and famous. Here you will also have the opportunity to take part in rural activities, to taste local products, delicacies and traditional cuisine- as you gain an understanding of everyday life on a local village.
Owned by the friendly Frantzeskakis family, who warmly greet each guest- here you will not only get to know the Cretan way of life- you will also become a part of it.
The family’s aim is to showcase a lesser-known side of Greece that can provide guests with an authentic experience that also allows them to appreciate the slower pace of life. Owner Nikos and his wife Lola introduce guests to the beauty, nature, history, and style of cooking that is synonymous with Cretan village life and create an experience any guest will treasure for a lifetime.
Featuring an organic olive grove, with fruit trees and vegetables, birds and farm animals, flowers and herbs- here smells and colours come to life. You will also find a small stone-built theatre, where you may meet a philosopher reciting a poem. On another day, you will bake homemade bread with Nikos or help him cook other dishes in the traditional firewood oven; and assist Lola in collecting eggs or picking some fresh vegetables.
You may also accompany Lola and collect some herbs and wild greens from the garden and make a homemade pie or pick some fresh oranges or other fruits to make marmalades or spoon sweets. Guests are also able to feed the farm animals and enjoy tranquility and peacefulness while relaxing by the Romantic Corner or lying on a hammock.
The guesthouses are separated into “Fabrica Houses” and the “Fabrica Farm Houses.” The houses are made of white stone and the smell of thyme and oregano floats in the air welcoming every guest, who feels a sense of coziness and familiarity inside their room. The Farm Houses are built in the olive grove and are inspired by the rich Cretan Flora, with each guesthouse named after an aromatic plant.
A cooking lesson day begins with a visit to the local bakery and grocery store. When you get back you will prepare several mezedes (appetisers) and main dishes. You also have the chance to learn about olive oil varieties and the philosophy behind Cretan food. With the help of local and experienced housewives, participants prepare traditional recipes using fresh and local ingredients. Some of the dishes include cuttlefish with fennel, escargots with crushed wheat, stuffed vegetables, dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves), kalitsounia (sweet cheese pies), tzatziki, a braised rooster with spaghetti, lamb with stamnagathi (pine chicory), pies, and many more.
While food is the main aspect of most of the cooking classes, guests also have the opportunity to chat, listen to live music, drink local wine- as they learn the secrets of Cretan cuisine. When it’s all done, everyone sits together around a large table and they enjoy a feast as well as dancing and singing- the Cretan way!
Wild Greens Lessons
If you plan your trip around the beginning of spring, you will have the chance to visit different places around the farm, collect wild greens and herbs and learn how to cook them, and taste local and traditional recipes that are based on these fresh ingredients.
Soap Making Workshop
Learn how to make handmade soap with pure ingredients. Based on the olive oil- which is produced by the Frantzeskakis’ family in their biological cultivated olive grove- you will also use a variety of essential oils and herbs, to make soaps that you will love.
The grape harvest is held during the first ten days of September. This is done in small or larger groups of people who are interested in living the experience of harvesting, which takes place in the family vineyard located at Kasteli, an area between Kalyves and Almyrida.
Natural Skincare Workshop
Learn how to prepare creams and other skincare products based on natural and pure beeswax. It begins with a walk around the biologically cultivated olive grove and farm where you will collect aromatic plants and learn about their properties and uses. Then, using essential oils, plants, and vegetable oils, and herbs- you can create your own personalised products.
Botanical Farm Tour
Held all year round, this unique experience brings guests in touch with aromatic and medicinal plants of Greek flora. Stroll around the farm and learn about some of the plants and their properties. Here you have the chance to observe them, smell, touch, and collect some of them, while learning about their properties and uses, their connection to Mythology, their importance in people’s daily life, and their involvement in traditional medicine.
Many abandoned villages in Crete have been restored -with respect to tradition and their natural environment- into top eco-lodges; offering guests an authentic and memorable experience.
Scattered amid olive, chestnut, and oak, above a ravine running with fresh mountain water- these stone houses take guests back to a simple era. In their pared-back elegance, they provide the perfect setting in which to embrace a lifestyle close to, and in harmony with, nature.
Milia- The village without electricity in Chania
A magical village that seems to have sprung from a fairy tale or the land of the Hobbits, hidden in a ravine in the mountains. Milia was abandoned for about four decades when the idea of turning the old houses of the village into a hotel was born. Today, 13 stone houses with small gates and views of the Cretan mountains from their veranda or terraces, fully justify why this ecological village without electricity, was included by Lonely Planet in the fifty best corners of the earth.
Don’t miss: Dinner at the restaurant of Milia, only by candlelight, they serve delicious dishes made with what has been produced from the garden and the farm of the village and cooked in the pot or the wood oven, from where the handmade bread comes out.
Located on a farm of 50 acres with crops- from olives to vegetables and wild vegetation- and set above the springs of Mylopotamos, (at the foot of Psiloritis) at an altitude of 500 meters, Enagron sits opposite gorges and caves and features 32 houses perfectly adapted to the natural environment. Built in a village formation, they are complemented by the wood-fired oven, the cheese factory, the small grocery store with selected traditional products, the winery, the traditional cafe and restaurant; decorated with old objects, tools and works of art and the courtyard under the huge οak.
Don’t miss: The swimming pool built in the most impressive spot opposite the cliffs where the eagles have their nests; and the jacuzzi overlooking the steep rocks of the gorge of the Vultures.
A: Axos, Mylopotamos
Aspros Potamos – Green Tourism in Ierapetra
In the prefecture of Lassithi, 60 km from Agios Nikolaos, in this old metochi (monastery) of the larger village of Pefki, there are ten 300-year-old stone-built houses featuring old Cretan architecture, which are connected by a cobbled path. Old chests, paintings, and stone beds, beamed ceilings and thick stone walls keep the houses cool in summer and warm in winter. The operation of Aspros Potamos is based exclusively on alternative forms of energy. The lights, the refrigerators and the hot water exist thanks to its photovoltaic system, which has won the first European award for Greece. There are no sockets in the houses.
Don’t miss: The view of the terraces overlooking the mountains and the valley. The atmosphere was created by the fact that the main lighting of the houses is done with paraffin lamps and candles and the energy given that the reconstruction of the houses was done by groups of Austrian hippies, in exchange for their accommodation and food.
A: Makrigialos, Crete
Kapsaliana Village Hotel
In the heart of the largest olive grove in Crete, at an altitude of 260m. is a 17th-century settlement in the Old Metochi of the Holy Monastery of Arkadi. Restored with absolute respect for the history and architecture there, it was transformed into the Kapsaliana Village Hotel, a member of the Historic Hotels of Europe. Focusing on the historic monastery olive mill of 1763, the hotel settlement is spread over a privately owned landscaped area of 30 acres, with gardens, paths, a swimming pool, and 22 rooms and suites with independent entrances. Here, the contact with nature marries the aesthetics.
Don’t miss: The aromas of thyme, sage, and Cretan herbs from the veranda of your room. Breakfast with fresh products, from local producers but mainly dinner, at the romantic restaurant in the magical environment of the hotel.
At a distance of about 50 km from the city of Heraklion, Lassinthos is spread over two hundred acres of ecological park, with various types of residencies, dominated by Cretan traditional architecture- with materials such as marble, stone and wood. Patterned paths lead to farms with various species of animals, such as chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, impressive peacocks, pigeons, noisy partridges, pheasants, quails, tall ostriches, wild boars, horses and goats. The strolls end at the park restaurant, built of stone, wood, marble and tiles; where traditional Cretan dishes are served cooked by chefs trained especially in Cretan gastronomy and using organic ingredients from the farm.
Don’t miss: At Lassinthos’ ‘zoo’, in addition to the usual farm animals, you can also find the famous Cretan kri-kri, the arkalos (badger) hidden in its burrows, the beautiful deer that gracefully display their impressive horns, and the cute ponies.