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Luxury Villas in Crete

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The ‘cradle of civilization’, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and enjoys a long, warm season, especially delightful in Spring and Autumn. From Minoan sites to coastal sites, the island offers interest and relaxation.


Luxury Villas in Crete

The ‘cradle of civilization’, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and enjoys a long, warm season, especially delightful in Spring and Autumn. From Minoan sites to coastal sites, the island offers interest and relaxation.





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Crete’s geography spans mountains, deep gorges, vineyards and sandy beaches. The southern side is more often frequented by backpackers exploring the rural topography, whilst the beaches and resorts occupy the northern coast, the most chic sitting around the Bay of Mirabello.

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The geography is as rich as the island’s history, which is marked by invasion by ancient Arabs, colonising Venetian, Ottomans and World War II invaders, each leaving its mark. The island’s ancient history sees it spark the rise of urban culture in Europe, as the prehistoric Minoans established art, politics, architecture, religious practice and economic activity. Evidence of this productive period of Greek history can be seen at the vast Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, near the island’s capital, Heraklion. The Palace is thought to have been the political centre of the Minoan civilization and dates back to around 1900 BC, though much of the present day remains date back to the second site, rebuilt around 1700 BC following a devastating earthquake.

The island’s capital, Heraklion, is the most visitors arrival point. The capital dates back some 7000 years and became the port for the settlement of Knossos, which lies nearby. Inhabited by Venetians who left a legacy of Venetian architecture, including the fortress, the city later fell to Turks and joined Greece in independence in 1832. Today, the city houses the world’s best collection of Minoan art in its Archaeological Museum which complements a visit to the Palace of Knossos.

Our villas lie in the eastern part of Crete around the Bay of Mirabello, protected from the wind that blows in from the north during the summer. Boat excursions from the harbour of Ayios Nikolaos include the island of Spinalonga, where the Venetians built a vast fortress in the 17th century. The island achieved notoriety as a leper colony in the 1900s. The ancient city of Olous sits to the north western side of the bay and its remains can be seen just below the seas surface from the causeway to Spinalonga. Most visitors will visit the resort area of Elounda, with its excellent restaurants and spa facilities which offer welcome relaxation.


March

  • Memorial Parade, held in Heraklion to celebrate the uprising of Greeks against Ottoman Turks in 1821.


April

  • Burning of Judas celebrations. Easter is the main public holiday in Greece and in Ayios Nikolaos, it is celebrated with the burning of an effigy of Judas on Lake Voulismeni accompanied by the sound of firecrackers.


July

  • Heraklion Summer Festival. This arts festival runs until September and has welcomed arts groups such as the Kirov Opera, Bolshoi Ballet and the Vienna Opera.


August

  • Arhanes Wine festival. This tiny village celebrates its grape production amidst a general atmosphere of party and live entertainment.


November

  • St Minas Parade, held in Heraklion by the townspeople to commemorate their patron saint, who rescued Christians from slaughter by Turks in the 19th century

SUGGESTED GENERAL ACTIVITIES:

  • Take a boat cruise to the fascinating island of Spinalonga to see the Venetian fortress
  • Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment
  • Rent a car and explore the tiny Cretan villages in the Thripti mountains
  • Explore the Minoan Palace of Mallia

SUGGESTED SPORTING ACTIVITIES

  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Watersports

SELECTION OF LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

  • Heraklion, Palace of Knossos
  • Heraklion, Archaeological Museum
  • Heraklion, Historical Museum
  • Heraklion, Central Market
  • Heraklion, Cretan Folklore and History Museum
  • Heraklion, Venetian Fortress

 

 

TIME ZONE Greece operates on GMT + 2 hours.

LANGUAGE Modern Greek (as opposed to Ancient) is the national language of Greece. Vernacular speech contains many borrowings from foreign languages, including Italian, French, Turkish and English, so you may hear some familiar words in everyday speech. “Tourist Police” whose lapel badges picture a Union Jack or American flag speak English. In Greece, people whose work brings them into contact with visitors from overseas are generally excellent English speakers.

CURRENCY The Euro, divided into 100 Cents.

MONEY MATTERS Travellers cheques can easily be converted into Euros; some larger stores will take them as payment. Smaller denominations are preferred. Major credit cards are widely accepted (though American Express less so) and ATM access is widespread.

TIPPING Like most European countries, tipping in restaurants is common, with a recommended 10% on a discretionary basis according to service. Check that a service charge has not been added to your bill before deciding whether to tip. Taxi drivers do not usually expect a tip but it is common practice and considered polite to round up taxi fares.

WEATHER Greece enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, occasionally wet winters. Summer temperatures can reach the upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and sun protection in the form of sun cream, a sun hat and lightweight clothing is recommended.

CLOTHING Style is fairly casual throughout Greece though in more rural areas and during Easter more conservative dress may be observed, for example covered shoulders. Cathedrals, churches and other religious sites require conservative dress. Both sexes should cover their arms, legs and shoulders. Cotton and other light fabrics are comfortable choices for summertime as the heat can be extreme during summer months. You are advised to take lightweight light coloured items, including a sun hat to protect your skin from the affects of sun damage. Spring and autumn temperatures dictate light to medium-weight clothing selections and in winter you will need a pullover and a coat. When dining at better restaurants and for any special occasion during your journey, dress is more formal. For gentlemen, a “jacket and tie” standard is appropriate, with an equivalent standard of eveningwear for ladies. Bring comfortable walking shoes with low or no heels.

HEALTH For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.

ELECTRICITY Electrical service is supplied at 220 volts/50 hertz.


Featured Villas

Featured Villas


Casa St Antony

Bedrooms: 5 | Sleeps: 10

Villa Cienta

Bedrooms: 6 | Sleeps: 8

Villa Harmonia

Bedrooms: 3 | Sleeps: 6

Villa la Silda

Bedrooms: 5 | Sleeps: 10


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