South Eastern Crete, in and around the village of Makrigialos, is one of our favourite locations in Greece. It’s a world away from the often overcrowded budget package tour resorts (mercifully, there are no massive hotel complexes here), instead providing a serene alternative with family run apartments and tavernas.
There are some wonderful beaches in this part of Crete. Green Beach in Makrigialos is 2km of tranquillity with crystal clear waters. Xerokampos is a drive away but well worth the time for its stunning scenery and perfect sand. Another must see beach is the island of Chryssi, 7km off the coast in the Libyan Sea, reachable by boat from Ierapetra. This really is the most stunning beach imaginable, with golden sand and turquoise water. Beware though, it can get very busy in high season.
Crete is famed for its cuisine, and this region doesn’t disappoint. Hearty traditional fare can be found in the local tavernas and rakadika, where meze is served with the local spirit raki. Some of the best can be found in the mountain villages, Perivolakia in particular. The jewel in this area’s crown though has to be Rovinsonas in Koutsouras. This cute family run taverna by the sea serves some of the best food we’ve ever had in Greece, and we’ve eaten a LOT of food here.
Accommodation options in the area consist of mainly family run apartments, studios and villas by the sea, much as you would expect for this part of the world, with prices ranging from very cheap studios to expensive luxury villas with pools. We, however, opted for something a little different and stayed at the wonderful White River Cottages. These former shepherds’ stone huts have been converted into a unique ‘boutique’ villa complex that is as serene as it is faithful to its environment. Its owners have thought of literally everything to keep their guests comfortable. It’s a one-off, and one of our top ten places to stay in Greece.
If you’re aching for a break in the sun, this little corner of the world might just be the best tonic you could find. Cretan hospitality, lovely beaches, cute tavernas and all at very reasonable prices. Don’t think about it too long, those flights won’t book themselves you know!