In Mandali  you will find products from local producers: olive oil, honey, raki, olives, herbs, essentail oils and olive soap.
 

In the silent, rural area of Kournas you will discover a variety of flowers, trees, herbs and some wildlife. 

 

walking
local products
memories of Crete
Mandali shop

 olive oil, honey and other local products from Crete

In the centre of the village Kournas, 4 kilometres north of the Kournas Lake and 7 kilometres from Georgioupolis,  you will find the shop "Mandali".

Here you buy fresh olive oil from and real thyme honey straight from the farmer.

Also other local products from Crete and unique items made by craftsmen, artists, and manufacturers are for sale here.

 

Barbara, from the Netherlands, opened the shop in 2016 with the aim to support the local farmers, the craftsmen and artists and to make the small traditional village Kournas more lively.

 

Her wish getting donkeys to Kournas was fulfilled in 2018.

 

Come to Kournas to taste and see for yourself!

 

Information about Kournas village, holiday accommodation, events and activities you can get at Mandali. Barbara will be pleased to help you to make your stay on Crete unforgettable.

Inspired by nature and made from natural materials are the symbols of the unique artworks and jewellery in Mandali.
 

Mandali is open

on Monday to Friday

from 10:30 till 14:00

shop inside

videos from Mandali 

on YouTube

meet our donkeys at Instagram

Follow us on Facebook

Do you want to order local products from Mandali? Click HERE for the order list

My name is Barbara, I am from The Netherlands and my husband Arno and I spent a lot of our holidays here on Crete. We travelled all over the island and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, hospitable Cretans, the delicious, healthy food and fine climate.

 

We visited almost all major towns and villages, attractions and "places-to-be" and every time we discovered special places, we met lovely, exceptional people, and were impressed by all aspects of this beautiful island.

 


In the southwest of Crete, we organized walking holidays and in 2010 Arno and I made our dream come true, and we moved to Crete.

The beautiful green municipality Apokoronas in the prefecture Chania had our preference. We found a house in the village of Kournas. A small, traditional village, just 4 kilometres from the Kournaslake and only 5 kilometres from the north coast, with a sandy beach. 

about Mandali and me

Barbara

the traditional mountainvillage  Kournas

I enjoy life in the small village of Kournas and during my work in tourism, I also noticed that tourists like to visit the traditional mountain villages. But sometimes these visits have some obstacles: where to park the car, what can you do, what is interesting to visit, etc.

 

So I began to think: the village Kournas might get more visitors and should become a little more "alive and kicking". Visitors should be given the opportunity to discover the daily village life.

But how?

logo

With a lot of support (and hard work) from my husband Arno, in March 2016 my dream came true and my shop was a fact: "Mandali, local products and more..."
Looking for a name for my shop I choose "Mandali". This word comes from Mandala, it is in the old Sanskrit language and it means circle, connection, community. 

The logo, the circle of life, fits it well, I thought. "Mandali" also means a circle of people dancing together.

And ... I like to draw and color mandalas.

I got an idea and with this idea, I got the chance to follow the study "Women Innovators for Social Businesses in Europe" at the ESA (European Sustainable Academy) in Drapanos, here on Crete. 

I learned a lot about starting a social business and slowly my idea became a plan, and finally it became a reality.

 

I would start with opening a shop in Kournas where I could sell the local products, such as olive oil and honey, straight from the farmer and producer. And I could give visitors and tourists some information about Kournas.

 

Activities in Kournas

In the future I would like to expand the activities in cooperation with the villagers and organize cooking-courses, picking herbs, workshops Cretan dances, helping farmers with harvesting olives, pressing grapes, building a museum with tools, pictures and stories from yesterday etc.

 

In this way, Kournas could become alive and kicking again. And the locals can get the opportunity to share their knowledge, their talents en their stories.

 

Donkeys

And I would like to bring the donkeys back to Kournas. In 2018 this wish came through: we bought 2 donkeys and in 2019 we adopted an adult donkey and one of our donkeys gave birth to a foal. Now we have a herd with 4 donkeys.

Mandali in Kournas

Kournas

you are welcome to join me

at Mandali, at the story table

storytable

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Donkeys and us
Barbara ,Bartje and Mandali

2004

 

Also this year our holiday destination was Crete. And for the first time, our son and daughter would join us for a week.
We wanted to let them enjoy all the beauty that Crete has to offer.

We were in Georgioupolis, in Loutro, in the cities of Chania and Rethymnon and also drove and walked many kilometres around Georgioupolis.


You can read our experiences and adventures here.

2005

 

This year we did not only spent our holiday on Crete, but we were also in Nafplion on the mainland of Greece.
In Crete, we were in Georgioupolis and Loutro, and we went to the west side of the island.

 

There we visited Elafonissi, Elos and on the north coast Skoutelonas, Afrata and Kolimbari. If you want to read what we experienced during this holiday, read on here.

Sheep on the road
butterfly gorge

2006

 

In May we organized a walking week in Loutro with 5 guests from the Netherlands and Belgium. After this, we stayed for another 2 weeks in Crete and we went on another journey of discovery to the west of the island.
Just like in previous years, we were in Georgioupolis and the surrounding area.

You can read here what we experienced during this holiday.

Aradena kloof

Many people who spend their holidays on Crete are often surprised by the versatility of the island: Crete has everything: beautiful, untouched nature, mountains and plateaus, sea and lakes with freshwater, picturesque villages and large cities, simple rooms for rent and luxurious hotels, many hours of sunshine and heavy rain showers.

And I haven't even mentioned the friendly, hospitable people, the delicious, healthy food, the relaxed lifestyle and much more ...
And with this surprise, our first introduction to Crete started.

 

It started with a holiday on Crete
Since 2000 we came to Crete every year, to enjoy a wonderful relaxing, but also a sportive holiday.

At one point we even came twice a year: in May and September.
And every time as we arrived at the airport and breathed the warm Cretan air, we felt like we were coming home. And every time we went back to the Netherlands, it was hard to say goodbye.

 

During one of our holidays on Crete, we wondered if it would be possible to live (and work) on this beautiful island. We asked many Cretan friends and acquaintances for information, and we also talked a lot with people who already lived and worked here.

 

And this year, 2022, we have been living and working here for 12 years now!

 

Experiences on Crete
Because many people regularly ask us how we ended up in Crete, I looked for our holiday experiences, and I am happy to share them with you.

 

our holidays on Crete

2000

 

Our first holiday to Crete was in 2000 when we stayed in Gouves, on the East side of Crete, in an flat owned by Michalis and his family called "John and Mary".

 

Would you like to read how our first introduction to Crete was?
Click here for a report with some photos, still made with a roll of film. Unfortunately, the quality of the photos is not that good.

2001

 

In 2001 Crete was again our holiday destination.
Now we went to the south-east coast and stayed in Mirtos, Achlia and Agia Fotia.

Do you want to read what we experienced and what we saw during this holiday? Click here for a report.

 

These photos were also taken with a roll of film, so not very good quality.

2002

 

In this year too, Crete became our holiday destination.
This time we discovered the "Wild-West" of Crete and we were in Paleochora, Loutro and Georgioupolis.

You can read our experiences and adventures on the west side of the island here.
And also in this year, we used a camera with rolls of film, so the quality of these scanned photos is not that great.

2003

 

In May we went to Crete again, to enjoy a wonderful holiday.
This year we started in Georgioupolis, but we were also in Plakias and Loutro. Before we went back to the Netherlands we also visited our 1st-holiday address in Gouves.

 

And even now we still took pictures with an analogue camera.

Here you can read where we were and what we experienced.

 

Do you want to know what our life on Crete looks like now?
Read it on the BLOG page

olive oil, honey and more local products

The local products with the "Kournas" label we buy directly from the farmers and small producers in Kournas and surrounding. I am proud to offer you fair products from Crete with high quality for a good price.

Of course, you can taste and test the products, so you know what you are buying.

Honey

 

Crete is famous for the thyme honey, and this tasteful honey you can buy and taste at Mandali.
In Kournas we have several beekeepers who have their beehives in the areas where the thyme is blooming. 

The beehives are located in areas where it is clean, where it is not sprayed.

 

In the summer months, we also have a small stock of comb honey.

olive oil

Wines

 

The Cretan wines are getting more and more well-known and also in this area  you will see a lot of vineyards. 

The Red and white wine are very popular, and in the hot summer people also drink the rosé wine. 

 

Herbs
 

The most famous herb of Crete is the thyme, but there are much more healthy and tasteful herbs growing here. We don't only  use them in the food, also in a healthy tea they will taste perfect. Very special is the "Malotira", the Cretan mountain tea and the "diktamos"

raki
raki with coffee
olives
wine
herbs
lavender

Lavender oil

 

Just outside Kournas, is the small farm  "Lavender Way", where Gill and Derek cultivate the colourful and fragrant lavender.


They produce organic, essential lavender oil and a refreshing, aromatic lavender hydrosol spray.

local products from Crete

Olive oil

We have 3 types of olive oil in our range: "Koroneiki" olive oil from farmer Stelios and an olive oil, "Tsounato" from farmer Nikos. Both pressed in Kournas. And a "Koroneiki" olive oil from farmer Stelios, produced in the olive oil factory in Vafes, where the olives are pressed in the traditional way with mats.

 

The olives grow near Kournas and for the farmer and his family, the quality of the olive oil is very important. They ensure that the trees and fruits remain healthy naturally, without the use of chemicals.

Tsikoudia raki

 

The traditional drink raki is called "tsikoudia" on Crete, and it is distilled from the residues after pressing the grapes.

It is a strong drink, it contains nearly 40% alcohol.
A good raki you can recognize by the taste and flavour of the grapes.

Raki liqueur

 

Many people find the raki too strong. But added with fruit, herbs or honey.

It becomes a delicious sweet liqueur, and it contains less alcohol.
Mandali offers you raki liqueur with honey, with lemon and with coffee.

Olives
 

Crete is famous for its olives and especially in the area of ​​Kournas you will see the olive trees with the small type "Koroneiki" olive.

The "Kournas" green olives are preserved with salt, lemon and water and the black olives are preserved with some herbs in salt water.

honey

Marmalade


Not typical Cretan, but very tasty is the marmalade, made with the delicious lemons, figs and the Quince that grow here on Crete.

 

Do you want to stay informed of new activities of Mandali and the latest news from Kournas?
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Eladia olive oil soap

 

The olive oil soap from Eladia is handmade, from the collection of raw materials to the packaging. This mild soap is moisturizing your skin and contains the therapeutic herbs from Crete. We have also 2 soaps for your hair.

Eladia soap

Essential oil

 

The essential oils and hydrosols are distilled by ourselves from herbs picked in the area of Kournas.

 

Vitex Kriti is a special hydrosol distilled from the chaste tree.

Ouzo

 

New in our range is the Cretan Ouzo, a herbal distillate of various herbs, including anise.
A delicious   aperitif, without sugar.

Looking for articles to expand the range in Mandali, I have found a number of special products that are made in small companies in Crete.

art, jewelery and more ...

At Mandali I offer you a wide selection of unique products from the skilful hands of local artists and craftsmen. Decorated candles, paintings, jewelery, gift cards, wooden treasure boxes and other small gifts that you will definitely appreciate.

And if you are looking for a special gift for your friends and relatives, just don't forget to take home a little something for yourself as well.

Cards

hand made, original gift cards with envelop, for men, women and
children. 

Colorful stones with painted mandala and nature motifs.

Paintings

 

unique handmade paintings from the local artist Katy, inspired by the beautiful beaches of

Crete

Colliers

 

Colliers made from Tagua nuts, the eco-ivory, every piece is unique.

Coloured and natural, small and larger. Made and designed by Icor

treasure boxes

 

small and bigger wooden boxes for your treasures, jewellery or diary.

Unique and beautifully decorated

Glass jewellery

 

colliers and bracelets made from glass and inspired by the Cretan beaches and shells.  

Made by the local artist Katy

giftcard
painting

Wood Necklaces

 

unique, natural necklaces made from the wood of the mulberry trees

Tagua orange
mulberry collier
summerbox
collier glass

Maps

 

Using a good detailed map helps you to discover  the real Crete. The walking and hiking maps from "Anavasi" also contain extra information for walkers.

map

Walking books

 

A must-have  for walkers of the E4 path in the "Cretan Way". With routes, suggestions for staying overnight and  a lot of background information

Postcards

 

The postcards from Kournas village and surroundings are unique and designed by Mandali.

postcard

Walkingbooks

 

With the walking books from "Discover Crete on foot" you can make a lot of walks in the province Apokoronas

walking booklets
walking booklet
Tagua naturel
bracelet
Cretan way
stone
ceramic

Ceramics

Handmade ceramics from one of the oldest potteries on Crete  "Tsikalario", is now available at Mandali. Small en bigger bowls, oil lamps and candlelights.

komboloi

komboloi 

 A "friend" with whom you can share all the fun, worries and grief. And who helps to put everything in a row, while the worry beads quietly slip through your fingers.

 

We choose komboloi made from natural. materials such as wood from walnut. Also wooden bracelets you will find at Mandali.

Do you want to stay informed of new activities of Mandali and the latest news from Kournas?
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Olivewood

On Crete, the kitchen attributes made of olive wood are very popular. We have in our shop various spoons, cutting boards, honey pots and even soup spoons.

 

All products are handmade from well-dried olive wood and are intended for years of use in the kitchen.

Kournas, a traditional village with character

view Kournas

In the small villages of Crete, you will find the friendly hospitality and proud tradition of receiving guests. The Cretans are known for their generosity and their friendly reception of travelers, guests and visitors.
 

In Kournas you can still experience the simple village life, here you will experience the real Crete. Here you can smell the fresh herbs, you can wander in the olive groves and taste the local products, from olives, olive oil to fresh fruit, wine and raki.

Daily life

It seems as if time has stood still in Kournas: the men of the village are discussing the news of the day in the kafenion, the women ask each other what they will cook today and the children play safely in the street.
 

Who makes a walk through the village will see many old and renovated traditional houses. The narrow streets are just wide enough to let pass a donkey. Cars drive on the new, wider roads.

Outside the village you can still see the ladies who pick the herbs and wild vegetables for the daily meal.

Location

Kournas is located 5 kilometres from the beach of Kavros (Georgioupoli municipality) and 4 km from the lake Kournas. Situated at the foot of the mountain Dafnomadaras (1680 meters) the village is safe at a height of nearly 250 meters.
 

In 1583 Kournas was already mentioned as a village with plenty of activities and the town has played an important role during the Ottoman occupation. In 1866 Kournas was the centre of the Revolutionary Government and in 1897 the village was the seat of the Cretan Assembly.

Traditional village

Kournas is a small village that still has the traditional Cretan character: a small square with a beautiful view and surrounded by a tavern, a small supermarket, a local shop and of course the statue of a local hero. Mulberry trees and large plane tree provide wonderful shade in the hot summer months.
 

At various places in the village there are beautiful views. You can see the Almyros Bay, the villages Georgioupolis and Kavros and along the countryside, in the direction of Rethymnon you can see the villages Kastellos, Dramia and Episkopi.
 

Also, the first mountains of the imposing Lefka Ori (White Mountains) are visible from Kournas. In winter and spring, the white snow on the mountain peaks and the bluest sky gives us a spectacular panorama.

Centre of the village

There are approximately 550 people living in Kournas and in the centre you will find a small supermarket, a kafenion, a bakery,

a ouzeri, a shop with local products "Mandali" a ceramics shop and three restaurants. There is also a primary school, which is visited by more than 120 children from Kournas and surrounding villages.

Just before the centre of the village, you will see the community centre with a large square and a stage wherein summer weddings, baptisms, plays, and parties are being held.
Next to the community centre, there is the football pitch and a children's playground.

Across the playground is the olive oil factory, where every year from November, olives are being pressed.

The Greek Orthodox faith is very important in the life of the Cretans and the church and the many small churches and chapels are being maintained very well by the locals.

In and around Kournas there are 11 churches and the most special, and also two of the oldest Byzantine churches on Crete,  are the Agia Irini and the Agios Georgios, built in 1200 AD.

On April 23 is the celebration of the name day of Agios Georgios Church and on May 5, the name day of Agia Irini is celebrated.

Kournas is a year-round lively village: in summer and in winter there is live music in the taverns, in September people press the grapes at various locations in the village and in October it is time to distil the "tsikoudia" (the Cretan raki) in the two "Kazanis"

On August 16 the Community of Kournas is organizing its annual festival on the square of the community centre with a performance by the popular musician-singer Nikos Zoiidakis.
 

On August 29 the villagers celebrate the feast of St. John the Baptist, along with friends, family and tourists. The terraces of the taverns "Babis" and "Kali Kardia"  are a good place to enjoy the live music and dancing.

 

So, get on the bus, start the car, grab the bike or motorbike,

put on your walking shoes and come to Kournas,

you are welcome !!!

men with goats
old house
Agios Geogios Church
playground
party

Walking with donkeys

If you want to get to know the area and the village a little bit better, then you are welcome at the hikes with one of the donkeys or the botanical walk EXTRA.

You can read more information about this on the page walking

where you can meet donkeys

Man on donkey
donekys

Take a look at our Facebook page for the latest news and pictures

map

On the YouTube channel of Mandali you can see more videos about Kournas, the area and Crete in general 

eat, drink and celebrate in Kournas

In Kournas are three restaurants, where still the traditional Cretan dishes are cooked. From many miles away people come to enjoy the delicious home-made food.  Also the locals are regular guests in the taverns, especially on Sunday, when mostly the "kokoretsi" or the "Anti Christo" is on the menu.

Music and dance

In the summer months in almost all the villages you can enjoy the "panagiri", the feast of the village, And also in Kournas there is regularly something to celebrate.
Not only the villagers, but also tourists from the region, come to the village to celebrate the feast.


So if you're in the area ... come over and let's celebrate!!!

The first party is on April 23, when the name day of St. Georgios is celebrated in the church with the same name in Kournas. The Papas (priest) of the village is also called Georgios, so you understand that this festival will be celebrated in a good way. After the service, everyone is welcome at the square at the church where the tables and chairs are already in place with the blessed bread, pilaf rice, meat and wine.

On August 16, the annual village-festival is celebrated with a live performance of the famous musician and singer Nikos Zoiidakis. On the square next to the community-centre there is room enough for the hundreds of guests who celebrate this party until the early hours.  Like at most of the parties, you can enjoy your meal here and taste the local wine.

Two weeks later, on August 29 the villagers and also many tourists,  celebrate the name day of St. John. The festival begins with a service in the church of St. John in the "backyard" of Kournas. In the evening the main street in the village will turn into a big party with plenty of food and drink and of course music and dance.

Cretan food and drinks

On the village square, you will find the tavern "Kournas", run by Nikos and Maria Kokolakis; a little further, past the square, you will see on the right side the tavern "Kali Kardia", run by Andreas Anagnostakis and here in front of you are welcome at Babis in his tavern "Babis".

Just beyond the village square, next to the bakery Polenta you will find the ouzeri "Aetofolia" and a little bit more uphill on the same road you can visit the village cafe, "kafenion" from the Piperakis family.

So in Kournas you do not have to be hungry and your thirst can be quenched in many places.

Tavern "Kournas"

For more than 25 years Maria and Nikos Kokolakis run the tavern "Kournas", also known as "Kanarina". And equally long every summer tourist come back here to greet the family and enjoy the Cretan cooking of Maria and the meat from the grills, Nikos' speciality.
Sometimes the terrace is spontaneously used in the summer months as a dance floor for the famous Cretan dances.

Ouzeri "Aetofolia"

An ouzeri is a cafe where people enjoy a drink with a small snacks. You may know them: rolled grape leaves, olives, small cheese biscuits, sausages "loukaniko", etc. The ouzeri is run by the family Dramilaris and has the name "Aetofolia" (Eagle's Nest).
Just like the kafenion is this the place where people tell each other the news, talk about the daily business and share their experiences.

partytime
Agios Georgios
party
tavern Kournas
ouzeri

Tavern "Kali-Kardia"

The tavern "Kali Kardia" is a famous name in Kournas. Together with his wife Evangelia, Kostas Anagnostakis opened his tavern in 1959 and from faraway people came to Kournas to enjoy the traditional Cretan dishes and many delicious homemade specialities such as the "galaktoboureko" and "Kokoretsi".

 

Since 2013 Kali Kardia is run by Andreas Anagnostakis. Together with the support of his wife Melina and friends, the old days revive in Kournas. On the menu are delicious, healthy Cretan dishes, including the "Kokoretsi" (only on Sundays), homemade appetizers and the famous "Salad Kali Kardia" and the lovely dessert "galaktoboureko".
 

The weekend is dedicated to music: local and regional musicians are playing on the terrace in the summer and in the winter months they perform in the tavern. Usually, the performances start after 21:00, so you have time to enjoy your meal with musical accompaniment.

And of course on those nights people will be dancing the well known "Cretan dances".

kali kapdia grill
kali kardia kapdia

Tavern "Babis"

For several years the tavern "Babis" is located in front of "Kali Kardia" and lovers of the traditional Cretan cuisine are here at the right address.

The delicious "Salad Babis" and on Sunday the "Antichristo" are just some examples.
At the entrance of his tavern Babis has set up a small museum with special ancient utensils, the Cretan flag, a large pedigree and much more.

During the quiet winter months Babis is busy making the Cretan stick,  the "Katsouna" which is still used by the shepherds.

Tavern "Babis" also organize live music in the summer months, and these parties often last until the early hours.

tavern Babis

Kafenion Piperakis

Over 35 years ago, there were as many as 11 kafenions in Kournas!

In the last decades a lot of villagers left the village and the kafenion of the Piperakis family is the only one that remained.


But it is not just only a kafenion. It has a wine cellar, a small mini-market with the major daily necessaries, it is the "post office" of the village and here are pressed many thousands of kilos of grapes in September.

The wine from Piperakis is loved and served in many Cretan restaurants and is even exported to many countries all over the world.

The owner of the kafenion, Dimitri Piperakis, died in 2021. He was 92 years old, and he was formerly the mayor of Kournas, so he knew almost everything and everyone. His brother, Spiros and the children and grandchildren now run the kafenion. Many people will miss Dimitri.                                                                                                                  
In summer, you are welcome to the cosy terrace for a cup of Greek coffee, a beer or a glass of house wine. During the winter a wood stove warms the kafenion and this is the place to be to hear all the news and adventures.

kafenion
Dakos
salat
lamb
winecellar
wineleaves

Would you like to know more about Kournas and real village life?  

Almost every day, Arno is making a village-walk and he tells you about the all-day life in Kournas. More information about this walk you can read here

shopping in Kournas

You won't find large stores where you can shop extensively in Kournas. All year round, practically every day, traders in their cars come to the village to sell their wares: fruit and vegetables, chicken, clothes and shoes, plants, flowerpots and potting soil, bread, carpets, everything is for sale.

And for other purchases, we go to Kavros, Georgioupolis or to the cities of Rethymnon only 25 kilometers away or to Chania, 48 kilometers to the west.

Supermarket

For daily necessities, you can visit the small supermarket "Kontarida" in the village square. Kostas' shop is open every day from 8:00 till 21:00. Sunday afternoon, the supermarket is closed.

You can also buy here a delicious ice cream or a cold bottle of water.

Hair Salon

Next door to her parents' bakery, Vivian opened her hair salon for ladies, children and men. You can also contact Vivian for manicure, pedicure and bridal make-up.

The salon is open from 10:00 till 13:00 and from 17:00 till 21:00. 

The salon is closed on Sunday.

Kafenion

Next to the kafenion you can discover a small shop. This dates from the time that there were no shops in the village at all. For the most important necessities of life people then went to the kafenion.

The range is no longer so extensive, but even now you can buy there some essential products, such as matches, flour, sugar and coffee.

His own use wine, raki and oliveoil are also sold here.

The kafenion is open every day.

supermarket
bakery

Bakery

A little further on the right side of the street, Mimi Polentas is running his traditional bakery for many years. Every morning the fresh bread is ready for you. His son, Pantelis, delivers every morning the fresh bread in the village and in the area of Kournas. Katerina, the wife if the baker, is responsible for the traditional Cretan biscuits and the delicious, healthy "breadsticks".

Also, the healthy Cretan "Paximadi", the double baked bread, is baked here. The bakery is open every day, also on Sunday.

hairsalon
kafenion

Mandali

To complete this page I will mention "Mandali", the local shop, which you will find at the square, just next to the tavern "Kournas".

Mandali is open in summer from 10:30 till 16:30 and on Saturday and Sunday we are closed.

Mandali

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Sign up for the Mandali Mail

do  you know...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kournas
donekys and us
strawberry tree
sign
shop
welcome

... that there used to be many sources of water in Kournas?

... that there is a river flowing just outside Kournas that has water almost the whole year?

... that this river is called "Sfakas" and as soon as he leaves Kournas he is called "Kournas"?

... that the Kournas cave has been closed for more than 10 year due to the danger of collapse?

... that Kournas is at more than 200 meters altitude?

... that only a few streets in the village have a name?

... that Kournas has 11 churches?

... that there are donkeys in Kournas?

... that in Kournas there used to be more than 10 kafenions, several small shops, 3 olive oil factories

     and a number of cheese factories?

... there is a walking path to Kavros and that it is marked with brown-white signs?

... that the climate in Kournas is very healthy? Usually a cool breeze in the summer and low

    humidity in the winter.

... that the old walking path "Monopati Azilakas Street" was made accessible again by volunteers of

    Kournas in 2011?

... that many residents still slaughter their chicken, pig or sheep at home?

... that Kournas has a cultural community that organizes various activities? 
... some activities are giving music- and dance lessons, organizing excursions to special places in

    Crete and the annual theatre performance of the Kournas Theatre Group?

walking
school
view
beekeeping

... that the houses do not have a number or a postbox?
... that the postman Alexandros delivers most of the mail at the kafenion?
... that we pick up the mail here, and then we also hear all the news ?
... that more than 50 foreigners permanently live in Kournas?
... that they come from, England, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Albania, 
    Austria and Belgium?

strawberries

do you follow Mandali on Facebook or Instagram?

In the traditional mountain village of Kournas you won't see many tourist activities: there is no tourist office with organized trips, no car or bike rental, no souvenir shops, even a hotel you will not find here.

"What am I supposed to do," you may think. Well, nothing. You are allowed to "do" nothing in Kournas, just enjoy village life. Experience the tranquility, the space, the sound of the cock crowing and the music of the goat bells. Hear the music of the grocer to let you know that he is coming with his car and see the villagers enjoying everyday life.
 

Kournas

botanical walk EXTRA

azilakas

simplicity

In summer months, the daily life in the mountain villages of Kournas takes place mainly outdoors: around the house, in the garden, on the balcony, in the street or on the sidewalk in front of the house.
On the village square, on the terraces of the taverns and in the kafenions (village cafes) there are always visitors exchanging the latest news and gossip.
You are also welcome in the taverns, the cafe or on a bench in the square to find out how village life can be.

village walk

Kournas is a small village, where you can easily make a short or longer walk.

Just strolling through the narrow streets, walking criss-cross through the village or explore the village and surrounding area with a plan or a walking book. The choice is yours.
You can get a free map of the village and the area at Mandali and also a hiking booklet including two walks in Kournas is available here.

If you want to hear some information about the village and the village life, you are welcome at the village walk with Arno.

More information you can read here.

road

Activities in Kournas

botanical walk with donkeys

Almost every day Arno makes with his donkeys a botanical walk in the backyard of Kournas.

More information you can read on the page walking

You can make an adventurous walk in the forest and at the feet of the mountains just outside Kournas.
Here you can read more about this walk

Would you like to stay informed about new Mandali activities and the latest news from Kournas?
Then sign up for the Mandali Mail

donkeys in Kournas

One of the most frequently asked questions from the tourists in Crete is: where are the donkeys? And this question is not so easy to answer. About 35 years ago, in Kournas, the donkeys were seen in all the streets and on the fields.

They ensured the transport of branches, raw materials and also of people. 

loaded donkey
light donkey
man with donkey

now there are donkeys in Kournas again

One of our wishes was to have a couple of donkeys in the village, to take for a walk, who would help us carry the herbs and the water. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a few donkeys in Kournas again?
For more than a year we were searching for donkeys, but this was not so easy. We wanted two donkeys because a donkey is a companion animal and does not like to be alone.

 

Finally, after a long search, we succeeded and since 2018 Arno and I are the proud owners of 2 donkeys.
Both donkeys are females and the eldest is called Eos, 12 years old and the youngest donkey listens to the name Cleo, and she is 6 years old.

February 2019, we adopted a third donkey, named Popy (Penelope). She is an older lady, 24 years old. She had a difficult life, but we hope she will forget about this here in Kournas. Popy is a smaller, Cretan donkey, and she gets along with the others very well. She seems very happy with her new family. Eos is her best friend.

At that time Kavros did not exist yet and the area on the coast was called "Paralia Kournas" (beach Kournas). In this agricultural area the farmers from Kournas cultivated their potatoes, watermelons, courgettes and also a lot of peanuts. During the harvest of the peanuts, the donkeys were loaded with the peanuts, they got a slap and walked uphill to Kournas. Here someone took the load of the donkey. He then got a slap and walked down again, to Kavros. They knew the way. 

 

The children from Kournas also went to the beach riding a donkey. They left in the morning and at four o'clock the donkey began to bray and the children knew that it was time to return home.

The village of Kournas and the "backyard" offer plenty of opportunities for walks with donkeys and if you want to join them on one of the walks, read more information on the page walking

donkeys
donkeys
donkeys

Almost 8 years ago three donkeys lived in Kournas. They were used by their owners as a beast of burden in the transportation of timber, harvest and tools. One man also used his donkey as a mean of transport. He could not walk so good any more, but thanks to his donkey he could still go to his plot to work it. Unfortunately, these last 3 donkeys have died.

4 donkeys
donkeys
donkey Popy

a foal in Kournas
On Thursday afternoon, April 3 2019, Cleo got her first foal. What a surprise!
Cleo was only 3 years old then, but she took care of her foal like an experienced mother: she never lost sight of her, adjusted her when she went the wrong way, sniffed her regularly to check if everything was ok, it was awesome!

mother and foal
Arno and foal
junmping foal

In the stable

the foal is so curious

practising jumpin and kicking

Popy

All 4

Eos and Popy

Zoë is doing great. She is an active, young donkey, very curious and sometimes mischievous. Like the other donkeys, we also train with her. She learns to walk right next to us, not to pull and not to eat when we walk. She really enjoys running and playing. Usually she plays with her mother. Eos isn't that playful, and Popy isn't always in the mood.
Like the other donkeys, she neatly lifts her legs when they need to be checked. In short, an exemplary donkey.

 

Zoë is now 2 years old and since December 2020 she doesn't drink milk from mother Cleo. Cleo allowed this less and less often so that the amount of milk also decreased. One day we saw that her udder had returned to its normal shape and that no more milk came out of the udders. Zoë sometimes tries to drink but is quickly pushed away by Cleo. We are happy with this because now Cleo can regain her old weight, and she does not have to eat for 2 any more. She looked so thin at times.

 

We took Zoë and Eos for a walk once, and Cleo was fine with this. Zoë loved it too. When Arno wanted to take Zoë alone once, he had to motivate her. But once on the road, it went well. Until they were almost in Kavros. Zoë did not want to continue and could no longer be motivated. She even lay down on the path. Then Arno walked back with her and Zoë walked so fast !!!

We keep trying now and then, and it will get better and better.

Birthday Breakfast
mother Cleo and daughter Zoë
Zoë 1 year old

Eos

 

Eos has some problems with her legs lately. In December, Eos stepped into a deep hole with her hind leg. It looked serious, but luckily it was not too bad. At the beginning of this year, after New Year's Day, she suddenly limped. Arno has checked her front hoof, but everything was fine. Nothing could be seen or felt on her leg either. It kept getting worse and one day she walked with her right front leg only on tiptoe and very difficult. With a weight of about 250 kilograms, it is not easy to walk on 3 legs.
We left her in the stable with a lot of straw on the ground so she could lie down. And she did.

 

veterinarian


On the entire island of Crete, you can hardly find a vet who knows about donkeys, so we looked for a vet who knows about horses. Fortunately, a good veterinarian comes to the riding school in Kavros and by chance, he would be coming to Crete soon. We asked him over the phone for advice and got painkillers for Eos. These worked well. We had the suspicion that Eos had stumbled a lot or might have slipped and therefore had pain in her shoulder (muscle pain or perhaps pain in the tendons).

 

Eos didn't like being alone in the stable. She regularly looked down at the field where the other 3 donkeys were. And the other 3 were often on a small piece of land, just below the stable, where they could hear and smell each other.

 

Arno and I went to Eos regularly to keep her company. I read her entire chapters from my book, with her head on my lap. Arno was busy with the donkeys' carrying baskets and did this in the stable with the radio on.

Slowly things got better and after 5 days we stopped giving her painkillers. Arno massaged her leg and shoulder with olive oil and herbal oil a few times a day and she was fine with this.
Since January 10, the day the vet was due to arrive, things suddenly went much better. She wanted to leave the stable, she wanted te to eat fresh green food and most of all she wanted to go to her friends, who walked downstairs in the field.

 

Walking downhill was the hardest for Eos, but very carefully and very slowly she walked down the path to the field, where Cleo, Zoe, and Popy were already waiting for her. They were happy to be together again. Eos found a quiet place where she could overlook and enjoy everything.
After an hour, we all walked uphill again. Arno went for a walk with 3 donkeys, and Eos walked back into the stable. Tired, but satisfied, she lay down in the straw.

 

Eos is completely fine again. She walks normally, runs again and makes strange caper jumps.

We are still not sure what she had and the vet still hasn't been here (very strange).

We found another vet who has experience with donkeys. He came once to get acquainted with the donkeys and with us. He has closely observed the donkeys, examined them and also looked at the hooves. According to the vet, the donkeys are healthy and look good and happy. We totally agree with him.

relaxing during the reading session

Cleo likes the coffee

Eos in the stable

and they have their own Instagram account

This year Barbara will make the adventurous botanical walk EXTRA on request only. This walk is possible at 7:30 a.m. and in the afternoon at 15:30 p.m.

We start at "Mandali", in the village square, and the walk will last about 2,5 hours. 

The walk is also suitable for children from ± 6 years.  

 

Please send me a message, or call me to make a reservation.

With normal, sturdy shoes, you can easily walk this route. Do not forget your camera and/or binoculars, and also a bottle of water can be useful because sometimes it can be warm going uphill.

 

If you like walking with a walking stick, take it with you. A stick can be useful in some places. If you didn't bring your walking stick, you can choose a stick at "Mandali" and use it during the walk.

Sign up at Barbara by phone: 0030-6951337205, by  email  or at Facebook

Kournas

walking in and around Kournas

We walk at a calm pace and stop at beautiful, unusual plants, fragrant flowers, ancient trees and spicy herbs.  Every season, every month, even every week,  nature changes its color and its smell.  That makes this herb walk so fascinating: we never know what nature will show us.

 

Often we encounter the goats and sheep on our path or we see and hear them on the mountain slopes. Birds of prey such as buzzards and vultures often fly above our heads.

The walk takes us slowly uphill and at the highest point, we have a beautiful view over the village of Kournas and the coast of the Almyros Bay.

Through a narrow goat path we descend to the forest with ancient oaks, plane trees,  "strawberry trees" and in autumn a lot of mushrooms.


Following the footpath called "Azilakas Street," we walk into the forest.

This trail is maintained by volunteers of Kournas and, if necessary, again equipped with handrails and "stair steps".

The name "Azilakas" is the Greek word for stone-oak, and we will see a lot of them.

 

We walk in the forest high above and along the river "Sfakas" in which water flows almost all year round. A few times we even will cross the small river. Until in June you will see many small waterfalls in the river.


The narrow path goes uphill and downhill and takes us along an old lime kiln. Once we leave the forest, we walk on the broader dirt roads past olive trees and vineyards back towards Kournas.

footpath "Azilakas'

botanicalwalk

"Azilakas Street" through the forest

downhill towards the forest

strawberry trees

botanical walk with donkeys

botanical walk EXTRA

In the morning Arno walks with the donkeys in the direction of the back yard of Kournas to show you which herbs, plants, flowers and trees you can find here. The walk takes about 2 hours, with several stops.

We walk on dirt roads and asphalt, so also your children can also enjoy this walk.

 

This botanical walk is on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and starts at "Mandali" in the village square at 9:30 am and at about 12:30 you are back here again.

Because the donkeys and we prefer small groups we advise you to make a reservation for all the walks by email, at Facebook or just call us 0030-6951337205. We walk with a maximum of 8 persons for the walk.
 

Donkeys do not like rain and strong winds, so on wet, stormy days, the donkeys stay on their land or in the stable.

donkey area
Cleo

where are we going and what do we experience

walking
strawberry trees
in the jungle

Reservation for all the walks by email, by Facebook or just call or text us 0030-6951337205

The village of Kournas and the surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities for short and longer walks. You can choose what suits you: a walk on your own, a botanical walk together with Arno and his donkeys,  a villagewalk with Arno or together with Barbara you can make an adventurous botanical walk EXTRA   

holidays in Kournas

Casa Belvedere

 

This traditionally built villa offers accommodation for a total of 26 guests. Choose the right one for you: a cosy ground floor apartment or a first floor apartment with a modernized roof terrace with private mini pool with stunning sea views, or the new luxury 4 bedroom Boutique Villa with various extra facilities, a private pool and jacuzzi on the roof.

Kournas apartmenst
pool

Villa Iasonas

 

A beautifully renovated stone house with traditional elements and modern decor. On the terrace you have a beautiful view on the 'backyard' of the village. Here you can also enjoy the swimming pool on the roofterrace.

Villa Iasonas
Acrothea Villa
villa Acrothea

Villa Acrothea

 

This villa, renovated in Cretan style, was completely renovated in 2014 and  also has a swimming pool. A magnificent view on the sea and the mountains, plenty of privacy and tranquillity make your holiday unforgettable.

If you want to discover more in the area of the beach of Georgioupolis and Kavros and enjoy the quiet village life, you can book your next holiday here in Kournas. Scattered throughout the village there are beautiful holiday homes available: for singles, for couples and groups of friends or for large and small families.

 

I have collected a couple of websites of holiday homes for you and who knows, maybe we will meet each other this summer in Kournas.

Villa Caliz 

 

A modern Villa with amazing sea view and mountain view, a private heated pool, a BBQ dining terrace and a good fixed line internet.

 

The Villa has 3 double bedrooms with en-suites toilet, shower and toilet.

Villa Caliz
Villa Caliz pool

Villa Karin

 

This villa is built in a valley on the outskirts of the village, with a beautiful, colourful garden, with a swimming pool and several sun terraces.

The villa has 3 bedrooms.

 

Villa Aloni

 

This villa is suitable for a large family or group of friends. Spread over 3 floors there are 5 bedrooms. The villa is built in Cretan style with all the luxury you want.

The house is on the edge of the village and also has a swimming pool and a large garden with terraces.

To spiti mas

 

A family house in the centre of Kournas lovely decorated in Cretan style. The house has  a beautiful mountain view, a private courtyard, a garden with well, pergola and BBQ and wood oven. There are 3 bedrooms and the maximum of guests is 6.

villa Karin
villa Karin
villa Aloni
to spiti mas
to spiti mas

usefull links 

In the area of Kournas you will find much more for an unforgettable holiday or daytrip. The most interesting items you will see on this page. Also some more general and useful information on Crete you will find here.

If you have questions about certain things or if you want some "inside information" about something,

just send me an email or a message on Facebook and I'll try to help you.

The island Crete has so much to offer you and I can imagine it is difficult for you to choose: what to do, where to go and what to see. I will try to help you by giving you some links to websites with good information about spectacular excursions, nice experiences, special places and much more ...

 

It is very easy to discover Crete on your own. In a lot of places you can rent a car or motorcycle and plan your own discovery-trip. Also with a moped you can make beautiful tours through the small villages in the area.

You don't have to travel for hours to taste the real Crete! In the area of Kournas you can enjoy some adventurous trips.

jeep safari

A spectacular experience is the day-trip with

Georgioupolis Safari.
Your driver Stelios let you discover, smell and taste the real Crete. 
This day will become unique and unforgetable.

On the internet you can find a lot of information about Crete, the beautiful nature and special places to visit.  Some websites deserve extra attention and that is the reason that I would like to share these most remarkable and extensive websites with you.

cruise
Nkos bike

If you want to spend a realxing day on the water, you can book a boat-trip with captain Georgios on his yacht "Aphrodite" 

You can swim, snorkel, relax in the sun, visit caves and try to catch a fish.

Zoraida

You always dreamed of an exciting beach ride, a mini-safari or a riding holiday?
Zoraida Horse Riding can offer you various riding trips.

Beginners or non-experienced riders are also welcome.

When you love walking and also want to learn something about the nature of Crete, you are welcome at Mandali.

Every day there are several walks in and  around Kournas.

botanical walk

special places on Crete

For a sporty day out, please contact Nikos bycicles in Kavros. 
He has for you a bike with many gears and a handy map with routes in the area.

adventures in the area of Kournas

I hope the information on this page is useful for you, and I hope you will have got some inspiration for your next holiday.

I wish you a lot of fun preparing your holiday on Crete and If you have questions, I am here to help you.

 

Just email me or write me a message on Facebook and I will try to answer your questions as best as possible.

Also, suggestions, additions or interesting information are always welcome. 

walking guide area Petres, Mousellas, Embrosneros and Kato Poros

If you like walking in the area of Kournas, you can have a look at the walking guide written by Victor Law. He lives in Kastellos, a small village next to Kournas and he discovered a lot of walking paths in the area of Petres, Kato Poros, Embrosneros and the Mousellas river. Even a "coast to coast" walk is included.

You can read the map here and you are free to download it for personal use.

flowers of Crete
Beautiful pictures and a lot of information about the special and endemic flowers on Crete

 Botanical Park
where fruit trees, herbs, flowers and medicinal plants are growing like in paradise. There is a tavern with delicious food.

discover Crete

 

a lot of information about planning your holiday on Crete

You can also find great videos about Crete on YouTube, which can help you make your holiday plans. We would like to share some of our favourite videos with you:

 

On the YouTube channel of Kreta TV you will find many videos about Crete and also about the municipality of Apokoronas.

 

Various promotional videos of Crete can be seen on  Περιφέρεια Κρήτης's website.

 

For winter sports enthusiasts, atmospheric videos can be seen on Pierra Creta's channel

 

This beautiful video about part of Crete was made by Bert Christiaens.

Cretanbeaches
 

Offers a lot of information and has a handy travel app: my Cretan guide.

Do you want to stay informed about the activities in our shop Mandali, in the village of Kournas or do you like to read how our donkeys are doing?  Then sign up for the Mandali Mail, a newsletter with news, facts, recipes, photos and much more.


I send the Mandali Mail once a month and topics that were discussed in previous newsletters were items like Cretan Mountain Tea, Oregano, How are olives harvested and pressed? What is a komboloi? Life in Crete in the winter.

 

I like to keep you informed about news about Crete, about the village of Kournas and the surrounding area, (Georgioupolis, Kournas lake and Kavros) about nature, customs and traditions in Crete, possibilities for day trips in the area and much more.

 

Do you want to receive the Mandali Mail in your mailbox? You may register via this LINK

 

Do you prefer to read the newsletters in this place? Click below on the Mandali Mail of your choice.

               

             2022

 

MandaliMail 01-2022

MandaliMail 03-2022

MandaliMail 05-2022

MandaliMail 06-2022

MandaliMail 07-2022

MandaliMail 08-2022

 

Here underneath you can see the newsletter from last years

 

             2017                             2020
MandaliMail 09-2017        MandaliMail 01-2020
MandaliMail 11-2017        MandaliMail 02-2020
MandaliMail 12-2017        MandaliMail 03-2020
                                          Mandal Mail 04-2020
                                          MandaliMail 05-2020
          2018                         MandaliMail 07-2020
MandaliMail 01-2018         MandaliMail 08-2020
MandaliMail 03-2018         MandaliMail 09-2020
MandaliMail 04-2018         MandaliMail 09-2020-2
MandaliMail 06-2018         MandaliMail 10-2020
MandaliMail 08-2018         MandaliMail 11-2020
MandaliMail 10-2018         MandaliMail 12-2020
MandaliMail 11-2018
MandaliMail 12-2018

           2019                                   2021
MandaliMail 01-2019        MandaliMail 01-2021
MandaliMail 02-2019        MandaliMail 02-2021
MandaliMail 04-2019        MandaliMail 03-2021
MandaliMail 05-2019        MandaliMail 05-2021
MandaliMail 07-2019        MandaliMail 07-2021
MandaliMail 08-2019        MandaliMail 08-2021
MandaliMail 09-2019        MandaliMail 09-2021
MandaliMail 10-2019        MandaliMail 10-2021
MandaliMail 11-2019        MandaliMail 11-2021
MandaliMail 12-2019        MandaliMail 11-2021-2

                                          MandaliMail 12-2021

 

Mandali Mail

contact

Get API key from Google and insert it to plugin properties to enable maps on your website.

Subscribe to our  Mandali Maii with the latest news from Mandali, Kournas and Crete.

We would like to grow with our store Mandali and the activities we organise in Kournas and would like to get more name recognition. We therefore appeal to you to help us.

We like it if you want to share special experiences, pleasant experiences, beautiful adventures or fun memories through the different social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
Also, a review on Tripadvisor or Google helps us very well to be found better.

We do our best to inform you as well as possible, but if you have tips for improvements, we would like to read that.

 

Are you in the area of Rethymnon or Chania on holiday and do you want to come to Kournas? With a rental car, you can follow the National Road in the direction of Georgioupolis and then follow the signs for Kournas.


Kournas can also be reached by regular bus. The bus stops on the National Road in Kavros (Paralia Kournas), at the BP gas station. To go to Kournas you can take a taxi in Kavros or you go on foot. It is about 5 kilometres.
The taxi station is in the shopping street next to the "train station" or you can ask at the gas station if they want to call you a taxi.

Thank you for your interest in our website and we look forward to seeing you in Kournas.


Mandali                  tel: 0030 6951337205 (also What's app and Viber)
73007 Kournas     email: info@mandali-kournas.com
Georgioupolis
Xania


Thank you for your interest in our website and we would love to see you in Kournas.

BLOG

On this website about our shop "Mandali" in Kournas, you will find a lot of information about us and our life here on Crete. But Arno and I have so much more to tell about our lives here on beautiful Crete.

 

We would like to share our experiences with you through this BLOG.

Many people who spend their holidays on Crete are often particularly surprised by the versatility of the island: Crete has everything: beautiful, untouched nature, mountains and plateaus, sea and lakes with freshwater, picturesque villages and large cities, simple rooms for rent and luxurious hotels, many hours of sunshine and heavy rain showers.

And I haven't even mentioned the friendly, hospitable people, the delicious, healthy food, the relaxed lifestyle and much more ...
And with this surprise, our first introduction to Crete also started.

 

It started with a holiday on Crete
Since 2000 we came to Crete every year to enjoy a wonderful relaxing, but also sporty holiday. At one point, we even came twice a year: in May and September.
And every time we arrived at the airport and breathed the warm Cretan air, we felt like we were coming home. And every time we went back to the Netherlands, it was hard to say goodbye.

During one of our holidays on Crete, we wondered if it would be possible to live (and work) on this beautiful island. We asked many Cretan friends and acquaintances for information, and we also asked people who already lived and worked here.

 

Our holiday experiences on Crete
Would you like to read more about our holiday experiences in Crete? Then read on here.

 

Emigrate to Crete
How exciting is it to move abroad? Leave your family, friends, and dear acquaintances behind in the Netherlands? Are we doing it or not? And what if it doesn't go well?
All questions that haunted our minds in 2008.
In 2010, we left: all the important things fitted in our car and on March 1 we arrived in Crete.

 

How is life on Crete?
We have been living on Crete for more than 12 years now, and many people ask us whether we like living on Crete and what life is like here. We can only say that we absolutely don't regret our decision to live and work here. Not only that, but we like it very much, we feel at home here in the village of Kournas, we have many friends and acquaintances, we enjoy working in and on our shop Mandali, we love our donkeys, we have adapted well, and we are doing well.

 

12 years later
Now, 12 years later, we look back on a period in which we had fun, cheered and laughed, but we also cried and were angry. We were sad at times, but often very happy.

In the past 12 years we have achieved a lot, we have also had to solve some necessary problems, and we have learned a lot.
In short, we feel right at home here!

 

Our experiences in Crete
Would you like to read more about our experiences on Crete, our life here, or do you want to know more about Crete in general? In the blogs below I have already written something about various topics and more will follow.


 

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Driving in Crete is just as different

 

Do you recognize this? Being back home after your holiday on the largest Greek island of Crete, and you realize that you missed several highlights on your holiday destination.

 

Or that you have had to adapt your program due to lack of time.

 

Or you are preparing your holiday in Crete and you would like to plan a few trips, but you don't want to sit in the car all day long.

 

Read more

Another country, another rhythm
 

The alarm goes off, you stretch out and step out your bed. You're just a little scared, what a light… what's going on?

 

Oh, that's the sun, which already shines very exuberantly through the window.

So mornings started on the first days we lived in Crete.

 

How different can your life and rhythm become, when you emigrate to another country.

 

Read more

Travelling safely with your rental car on Crete

 

Are you coming to the largest Greek island of Crete for the first time?

Do you want to explore the island with a car, a moped or a motorcycle?

Read on for useful facts and tips about traffic in Crete.

 

Read more

7 Reasons for a perfect holiday on Crete

 

Holiday, what a wonderful prospect!

Where do you want to go? What do you want to experience? Are you going alone or with your girlfriend or family? Just a few questions that are important before you make a choice.

And then the choice. Do you want a holiday in the sun, or is the weather not so important? Do you want a lazy holiday or would you prefer discovering the nature with your backpack?

 

Read more

Another country, another rhythm

 

The alarm goes off, you stretch out and step out your bed. You're just a little scared, what a light… what's going on? Oh, that's the sun, which already shines very exuberantly through the window. So mornings started on the first days we lived in Crete.

How different can your life and rhythm become, when you emigrate to another country.

 

 

It starts in the morning: A cup of tea for me and coffee for my husband Arno on the balcony in the sun.

With a view of the mountains and partly some sea view, birds chirping on the electric cables, the bells of the goats in the “backyard” of the village, a rooster and a barking dog in the distance.

This is a wonderful wake-up.

 

Winter rhythm

We live in a mountain village with about 550 inhabitants, 5 kilometres from the sea. We have, about 100 meters from our house, a shop with local products, and we have 4 donkeys, so we have plenty to do. In winter the shop is closed, and we enjoy a relaxed "winter rhythm".

While Arno gives the donkeys their breakfast, I clean the house and do my yoga exercises.

 

At about 9 am, I hear the horn from the baker and walk down the stairs to the street to buy bread. After that I prepare our breakfast, I make coffee and when Arno comes back from the donkeys we enjoy a delicious breakfast with fresh warm bread.

 

Mobile shops

In our village we only have a small supermarket with only the most important products. We mostly do our shopping in the supermarket in the bigger villages at the coast or in the bigger cities. But most of the fresh food is delivered in our street. A great service!  

 

On Tuesday and Friday, the greengrocer will pass through the street. We hear his car radio with Greek music from far away, and that is also the intention. As soon as I hear the music, I still have time to find my wallet and put on my shoes. With my wicker shopping basket, I walk downstairs and together with the neighbouring women I choose my fruit and vegetables and at the same time, I hear the latest news and rumours.

 

On Friday morning, at the same time, also the cheesemaker comes into our street with cheese, fresh yoghurt and sheep milk. Regularly I buy 2 bottles of milk, 1 for drinking and 1 for making cheese. On Monday, we also have a man selling fresh fish, on Friday Giannis comes with his van with clothes and shoes (and in spring with plants and herbs) and now and then someone pass by with chicken and in summer with garlic and onions.

 

Quiet days

The rest of the day is filled with normal household activities, donkeys' care, our hobbies, visiting friends and acquaintances and preparing the shop for the next summer season (picking herbs, distilling essential oils, making marmalade, liquors, olive oil soap etc.)

 

Furthermore, we try to walk the donkeys every day, I like to go to the beach for an hour at times to find beautiful shells. In the winter, there are much more and much nicer shells on the beach than in summer. And I don't go home without at least 3 special shells.

 

In our shop we have a large basket with shells to take away. For the kids of our customers, and sometimes also for adults, who couldn't find shells on the beach during their holiday.

 

Working rhythm

In the summer months, usually from May, our shop opens again and then our daily life changes, and we get a very different rhythm. Arno takes care of the donkeys and does the botanical walk with the tourists, and I am busy in and for the shop. Then the “working rhythm” did catch us again.

 

We enjoy this winter and summer rhythm, it is in balance. In the month of February, it can still be winter on Crete, with low temperatures and rain, sometimes even snow. But in February we notice the days are getting longer. And in March, often on a sunny, warm day, suddenly the feeling comes that winter is almost over. Just before the winter gets boring, the new "working season" starts.

 

Summer starts

In April the first tourists come to Crete for a walking holiday. And then we get started, and we are in the mood: Store cleaning, stock checking, visit the printer for new posters, postcards, leaflets, etc., put the “storytable” back in its place next to the shop, put new plants in the pots, check the signs of the walking routes around the village and to the lake of Kournas. 

And before we know, the season has started, and we can enjoy a busy summer.

 

A closed door

Yet, working here on Crete is different from working in many other European countries. Of course, the work is important, but sometimes other things are just as important, and then the work will stay a bit short, or there will be a note on the door: “I will be back in a moment”.

 

In the beginning, we did not understand this. You can't leave your customers in front of a closed door? For most Cretan people, this is quite normal, and they assume that everyone understands that something else is going on, something critical. And usually this is the matter.

 

I'm back in a few minutes

Opposite our shop there is the tavern from Maria and Nikos. And when Maria does not open the tavern in the morning, we assume that she is shopping and that it takes a little longer. Whether she is at the doctor, or she is still at the hairdresser, or she is helping one of the neighbours.

 

I also posted a note on the door several times with the text “I will be back in 10 minutes”. To find out that no one knows at what time I posted this note.

The customers who read this note didn't find it a problem. They sat at our “storytable" and read our guestbook, or they sat on the terrace of the tavern and enjoyed their coffee with a beautiful view. They are on holiday, so they have time, right?

 

Time for other things 

Almost everyone is busy in the summer months, especially the people who work in tourism. But still everyone has time for a chat, everyone comes to the village party or a music night nearby. They help the neighbours, do participate in activities etc. The social contacts and the things besides work are also very important.


High season

We are always happy when the month of August is over. This month is usually very busy, hot, with occasional the stormy “Meltemi” wind from the north, with many tourists, many Greeks who visit their family on Crete and with many village festivals. It is high season.                                  In September, it may also be busy and in October it will be quieter, with fewer tourists and lower temperatures. Although 27 degrees is really no exception.

 

Summer is over

And then it is November and the peace returns to the island. The tourists are gone, except in the big cities, and everyone who works in the tourism has to change to a different rhythm.

We enjoy the warm summer, but we also are glad when summer is over. We suddenly have time again for our hobby’s, we can spend more time with friends, we can bring out our wish list “discover the real Crete” again and we can discover new paths with our donkeys. The “winter rhythm’ has got us back.

 

Information about Crete

Do you have questions or do you want more information about Crete?

Take a look at our website, our Facebook page or come and visit us in Kournas, in our shop "Mandali, local products and more..."

Driving a car on Crete is something different
 

Do you recognize this? Being back home after your holiday on the largest Greek island of Crete, and you realize that you missed several highlights on your holiday destination.

Or that you have had to adapt your program due to lack of time. Or you are preparing your holiday in Crete and you would like to plan a few trips, but you don't want to sit in the car all day long.

 

 

The travel time in Crete does not correspond to the travel time in most of the European countries.

Every week I hear enthusiastic stories from tourists who visit the beautiful island of Crete: it is so beautiful here, lots of natural beauty, many authentic villages, friendly people, very varied, etc. But there is often one disadvantage, namely the travel time.

 

Rethymnon

Many tourists like to stay in the small town of Rethymnon on the north coast of Crete, about 75 kilometres west of Heraklion. Rethymnon is located in the centre of Crete, close to the island's only highway.

From Rethymnon you can easily drive west or east on the highway. There is also a good secondary road to the south.

 

Maximum speed

The maximum speed on the highway is 90 kilometres per hour, but in more and more places you are only allowed to drive 80 or 70 km/per hour. At busy intersections and exits, the maximum speed is often 60 km/per hour.

The distance of 80 kilometres on the highway usually takes more than an hour.

 

Cameras make most people stick to the speed, too. It may take a while before you get a fine sent home, but he comes. And the myth that the cameras don't work isn't quite right. Not all of them work, but we never know which ones will and which won't.

The car rental company receives the fine and forwards it to the customer or settles the amount of money with the customer.

 

Secondary roads

Then we also have the secondary roads, on which the maximum speed is 70 km/per hour. Well, most of the time you can forget about that speed. Regularly, you can be happy when you reach 50 kilometres. The road conditions are not the same everywhere.

 

There is a lot of overdue maintenance, which can leave holes and potholes in the road, or the road can sometimes be unexpectedly narrow because part of the road is missing.

These roads also often meander through the beautiful landscape, so overtaking is often not possible.

 

Busy roads

The highway is frequently used by tourists to get from A to B quickly. Buses and trucks also use this highway as much as possible. Especially in the mornings between 8.30 am and 10.00 am it is typically busy and in the afternoon after 5 pm there is also a lot of traffic on the highway. There are no traffic jams, but you may not be able to drive faster than about 40 km/per hour for miles.

 

If you want to travel further afield in Crete, leave early or, for example, take an alternative route via the secondary road and then drive back via the highway (or vice versa).

 

Road map

In every rental car, there is usually a road map of the entire island. This map is useful to get an overview and the most important roads are on it. But this map is not suitable for a real journey of discovery in the interior. We use ourselves like the road maps of “Anavasi” when we are on the road by car in unfamiliar territory. These are detailed and up to date.

 

Google Maps

Google Maps is also a good help on the island and is used by many tourists. Since a few years, the internet in Crete has greatly improved, and you have reach almost everywhere. Only in mountainous areas does the connection sometimes disappear, but often it goes fine again a little higher on the mountain.

 

Sometimes Google sends you to your destination via surprising routes and directions, but mostly this takes you to special discoveries.

Navigation is available in many rental cars, so you can easily map out your route.

 

Tip from tourists

In our shop, I frequently meet tourists who are out for a day with their car. And when I ask them what their plan is for the rest of the day, I sometimes get the answer: “We'll just drive somewhere and see where we end up”.

And then I think: "Yes, they still exist, people who let themselves be surprised". Such a car trip regularly provides the most beautiful discoveries and unique experiences, which you will never read in the tourist guides.

 

Insider tip

We regularly have to pick up or drop people from the airport in Heraklion and have experienced that from Rethymnon it takes 15 minutes longer driving via the Old National Road (the old highway), but this route to Heraklion is much more fun and varied, and it is more relaxing.

 

Information about Crete

Do you have questions or do you want more information about Crete?

Take a look at our website, our Facebook page or come and visit us in Kournas, in our shop "Mandali, local products and more..."

Travelling safely with your rental car on Crete

 

Are you coming to the largest Greek island of Crete for the first time?

Do you want to explore the island with a car, a moped or a motorcycle?

Then read on for useful facts and tips about traffic in Crete.

 

If you want to see a little more of the island of Crete than just your hotel, the beach and the swimming pool, you can explore in different ways. You can book an excursion and take a bus full of tourists to the most famous, and also, most visited and busy places. But you can also go on your own and visit less known, special places.

 

Voyage of discovery

You can take walks in the area where you are staying. You can also rent a bicycle, moped, quad or car and explore a wider area. This way you discover the real Crete and you have the freedom to go where you want and when you want. This will take you to places that are not overrun with tourists and where you can still discover the real, authentic Crete.

 

Rental car

Every summer we see a lot of rental cars on the island, so many tourists like to travel by car. But people also tell us every year that they want to rent a car or a moped, but that they do not dare.

Because, they say, "the person who honks the loudest has right of way", "they drive like crazy here on Crete" or "do the people here on Crete have a driving licence?"

 

If you would like to rent a car during your holiday in Crete, but are not (yet) daring, read on. For you, I have made an overview with useful facts and tips about traffic in Crete.

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                      

 

 

Crete is the largest Greek island

Many people who come to Crete for the first time are surprised that the island is so big. More than 300 kilometres from West to East, and 17 to 60 kilometres from North to South. If you drive in the Europe from Brussels to Paris, a distance of approximately 300 kilometres, it will take you about 3 hours by car. In Crete this distance is for example from Vai beach in the east to Fallasarna in the west. But the travel time is almost twice as long, it will take you almost 6 hours.

The roads in Crete

 

* Crete has a highway on the north coast (New National Road) where you can drive a maximum of 90 kilometres per hour. In many places a maximum speed of 80 or 70 kilometres per hour applies.

 

* The highway is only 4-lane in very few places. Usually it is a 2-lane road, with many curves in some areas, sometimes double continuous lines and especially to the west of Heraklion the road is rather mountainous.

 

* On various stretches the maximum speed is 60 kilometres per hour and there are cameras that photograph speeders or there is a police team with radar control.

 

* The condition of the motorway cannot be compared with that of other European countries. Sometimes the asphalt does not have a wear layer, which makes the road surface very slippery when it rains. Especially in the summer, after weeks of drought. There are also sometimes (large) holes in the road surface.

 

* There may be plastic blown away on the side of the road, or perhaps a dead sheep, or there may be missing white stripes in the middle or side of the road.

 

* The roads in the villages are sometimes very narrow, and it is often not clear whether there is a through road.

                           

* Since a few years, all place name signs have been renewed and under the Greek name is also the name with the ordinary Latin letters. Many street names are now also in Latin in the cities.

 

* In the mountains, almost all roads are paved and so wide that 2 cars can pass each other. It may happen that there is a flock of sheep or goats in the middle of the road. Or that stones have fallen from the mountain that can block the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Of course, there are dirt roads, on which you could easily drive with a jeep or 4x4. But check with the landlord if it is allowed to drive off-road. In many cases, you are not insured if you get damage to your car.

 

Cretan traffic rules

The same rules and laws apply in Crete as in other European countries. But the Cretans

wouldn't be the Cretans without their own rules. And they also have that in traffic:

 

* traffic from the right has right of way, but not always. If you come from the right, but the intersecting road is a through road, or a wider and busier road, then you do not take right of way, and you wait until the road is clear. In this way, everyone can drive more easily. It is just a bit smoother.

 

* On the highway, you drive as much as possible on the right if you notice that someone wants to overtake you. The “hard shoulder” on the right-hand side of the highway is used for this. This way you can also overtake if there is a double solid line.

 

* The Cretans are not so well-used to the fact that pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing (with or without pedestrian crossing). So prepare for surprised faces when you let a pedestrian cross safely.

 

* It is also mandatory to wear a helmet on Crete on a moped or motorcycle. This is often monitored and fined in the major cities. There is fewer police in the countryside, so there is less control, and you still see many people without helmets, or they drive with the helmet on the wheel.

 

Adventurous

During our holidays on Crete, we regularly rented cars and mopeds and enjoyed them.

We have now lived on the island for 12 years and have driven many kilometres by car and motorcycle. We even rented a camper for a week in winter and drove to the east side of Crete again. That also went without problems, even through small villages with a lot of snow.

 

We stopped to calculate our travel time in kilometres. We just calculate in time, add a Cretan fifteen minutes, and then we are usually fine. Siga, siga (slow, slow)

 

Driving in Crete can be called adventurous. But if you drive normally, adjust a little and just pay close attention, there is no concern at all, and you can enjoy the road with a rental car during your holiday.

Most rental cars today have a GPS, and many people use the navigation on their phone. But it can still happen that you get lost. Our experience is that you come to the most special places and sometimes you have the most beautiful experiences.

Just enjoy your voyage of discovery in beautiful Crete.

 

Information about Crete

Do you have questions or do you want more information about Crete?

Take a look at our website, our Facebook page or come and visit us in Kournas, in our shop "Mandali, local products and more..."

 

Veilig autorijden op Kreta

 

Kom je voor het eerst naar het grootste Griekse eiland Kreta?
Wil je met een auto, een brommer of met een motor het eiland verkennen?
Voor een bijzondere ontdekkingsreis geef ik je graag handige tips over het verkeer op Kreta.

 

Als je op Kreta iets meer van het eiland wilt zien dan alleen je hotel, het strand en het zwembad, kun je op verschillende manieren op ontdekkingsreis. Je kunt een excursie boeken en met een bus vol toeristen naar de meest bekende, dus ook de meest bezochte en drukke trekpleisters gaan. Maar je kunt ook op eigen houtje op pad gaan en minder bekende, bijzondere plekken bezoeken.

 

Ontdekkingsreis

Je kunt wandelingen maken in de omgeving waar je verblijft. Je kunt ook een fiets, brommer, quad of auto huren en een groter gebied gaan verkennen. Op deze manier ontdek je het echte Kreta en heb je de vrijheid om te gaan waar je wilt en wanneer je wilt. Zo kom je op plekken die niet overspoeld zijn met toeristen en waar je nog het echte, authentieke Kreta kunt ontdekken.

 

Huurauto

Iedere zomer zien we veel huurauto's op het eiland. Veel toeristen reizen graag per auto. Maar ook vertellen mensen ons elk jaar weer, dat ze wel een auto of een brommer willen huren, maar dat ze dit niet durven.
“Want”, zeggen ze, "degene die het hardst toetert, heeft voorrang", "ze rijden hier op Kreta als gekken" of "hebben de mensen hier op Kreta wel een rijbewijs?"
Als je graag een auto wilt huren tijdens je vakantie op Kreta, maar (nog) niet durft, lees dan verder. Ik heb een overzicht gemaakt met handige weetjes en tips over het verkeer op Kreta.

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kreta is het grootste Griekse eiland

Veel mensen die voor de eerste keer naar Kreta komen zijn verbaasd dat het eiland zo groot is. Ruim 300 kilometer van West naar Oost, en 17 tot 60 kilometer van Noord naar Zuid. Rij je in Nederland van Groningen naar Maastricht, een afstand van ca. 330 kilometer, dan ben je in de auto ongeveer 3 uur onderweg. Op Kreta is deze afstand bijvoorbeeld van het Vai strand in het oosten naar Fallasarna in het westen. Maar de reistijd is bijna dubbel zo lang, het kost je bijna 6 uur.

 

De wegen op Kreta

* Kreta heeft aan de noordkust een snelweg (New National Road) waar je maximaal 90 kilometer per uur mag rijden. Op veel plekken geldt een maximum snelheid van 80 of 70 kilometer per uur.

 

* De snelweg is maar op weinig plekken 4-baans. Meestal is het een 2-baans weg, met in sommige gebieden veel bochten,  soms dubbele doorgetrokken strepen en vooral ten westen van Heraklion is de weg nogal bergachtig.

 

* Op verschillende strekken is de maximumsnelheid 60 kilometer per uur en hier staan camera’s, die snelheidsovertreders fotograferen of er staat een politieteam met radar controle.

 

* De toestand van de snelweg is niet te vergelijken met die van Nederland. Soms heeft het asfalt geen slijtlaag, waardoor bij regen het wegdek erg glad wordt. Vooral in de zomer na wekenlang droogte. Ook zijn er soms (grote) gaten in het wegdek of liggen er stenen op de weg na regenval.

 

* Er kan aan de zijkant van de weg weggewaaid plastic liggen, of misschien wel een dood schaap, of er ontbreken witte strepen in het midden of aan de zijkant van de weg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

* De wegen in de dorpen zijn soms erg smal en ook is het vaak niet duidelijk of er wel een doorgaande weg is.

                 

* Sinds een paar jaar zijn alle plaatsnaamborden vernieuwd en staat onder de Griekse naam ook de naam met de gewone Latijnse letters. Ook in de steden zijn veel straatnamen nu in het Latijn.

 

* In de bergen zijn vrijwel alle wegen geasfalteerd en zo breed dat 2 auto’s elkaar kunnen passeren. Het kan wel gebeuren dat er een kudde schapen of geiten midden op de weg ligt. Of dat er stenen van de berg gevallen zijn, die de weg kunnen blokkeren.

 

* Natuurlijk zijn er dirt roads, waarop je met een jeep of 4x4 gemakkelijk zou kunnen rijden. Maar informeer goed bij de verhuurder of het is toegestaan om met je huurauto off road te rijden. In veel gevallen ben je niet verzekerd als je dan schade aan je auto krijgt

.

eigen verkeersregels

Op Kreta gelden dezelfde regels en wetten als in de andere Europese landen. Maar de Kretenzers zouden de Kretenzers niet zijn, zonder hun eigen regels. En die hebben ze ook in het verkeer:

 

* verkeer van rechts heeft voorrang, maar niet altijd. Kom je van rechts, maar is de kruisende weg een doorgaande weg, of een bredere en drukkere weg, dan neem je geen voorrang en wacht je totdat de weg vrij is. Op deze manier kan iedereen gemakkelijker doorrijden. Het gaat net even wat soepeler.

 

* Op de snelweg rij je zoveel mogelijk rechts als je merkt dat iemand je wil inhalen. De “vluchtstrook” aan de rechterkant van de snelweg wordt hiervoor gebruikt. Op deze manier kun je ook inhalen als er een dubbele doorgetrokken streep is.

 

* De Kretenzers zijn nog niet zo goed gewend aan het feit dat voetgangers altijd voorrang hebben als ze oversteken (met of zonder zebrapad). Dus bereid je voor op verbaasde gezichten als je een voetganger veilig laat oversteken.

 

* Ook op Kreta is het dragen van een helm verplicht op een brommer of motor. In de grote steden wordt hierop ook vaak gecontroleerd en beboet. Op het platteland is minder politie aanwezig, dus is er ook minder controle en zie je nog veel mensen zonder helm of ze rijden met de helm aan het stuur.

 

Avontuurlijk

Wij hebben in onze vakanties op Kreta vaak auto’s en brommers gehuurd en hebben hier van genoten.
Nu wonen we al 12 jaar op het eiland en hebben we met de auto en ook op de motor veel kilometers gereden. We hebben zelfs een keer in de winter een week een camper gehuurd en zijn daarmee nog een keer naar de oostkant van Kreta gereden. Ook dat ging zonder problemen, zelfs door kleine dorpjes met veel sneeuw.

 

Wij hebben het al afgeleerd om onze reistijd in kilometers te berekenen. Wij rekenen gewoon in tijd, tellen daar een Kretens kwartiertje bij en dan zitten we meestal wel goed. Siga, siga (langzaam, langzaam)

 

Het autorijden op Kreta kun je avontuurlijk noemen. Maar als je normaal rijdt, je een beetje aanpast en gewoon goed oplet, is er geen enkel probleem en kun je tijdens je vakantie heerlijk op weg met een huurauto. 

De meeste huurauto’s hebben tegenwoordig een GPS en veel mensen gebruiken de navigatie op hun telefoon. Maar toch kan het gebeuren dat je verdwaalt. Onze ervaring is dat je dan op de meest bijzondere plekken komt en soms de mooiste ervaringen opdoet. 

 

Ga gewoon genieten van je ontdekkingsreis op het mooie Kreta.

 

Informatie over Kreta

Heb je vragen of wil je meer informatie over Kreta? 

Neem een kijkje op onze website, onze Facebookpagina of kom ons bezoeken in Kournas, in onze winkel "Mandali, local products and more..."

Voeg een lang, mooi verhaal toe over jouw bedrijf en hoe deze tot stand is gekomen. Vertel over jouw teamleden en schrijf een artikel over de oprichter van dit bedrijf. Voeg je eigen foto's toe zodat klanten meer over je te weten kunnen komen en je kunnen vertrouwen.

7 reasons for a perfect holiday on Crete

 

Holiday, what a wonderful prospect!

Where do you want to go? What do you want to experience? Are you going alone or with your

girlfriend or family? Just a few questions that are important before you make a choice.

And then the choice. Do you want a holiday in the sun, or is the weather not so important?

Do you want a lazy holiday, or would you prefer discovering the nature with your backpack?

Many questions that determine your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband, Arno and I, went on holiday to Crete for the first time over 20 years ago and fell

completely in love with this island. We even moved here. We have now been living and

working for 12 years on this special island where, every year, millions of people go for a well-deserved holiday.

And why do so many people choose a holiday to Crete? I would like to tell you briefly what is

so special about this largest Greek island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospitable and safe

Crete is a hospitable and safe island. Families with children, young people, the elderly and

also, single people can spend a nice holiday here. You can also explore the cities alone, without

anyone bothering you. Rather, the opposite happens: the Cretan is very sociable and helpful

and will do anything to make you feel comfortable.

 

The Cretan does not like to be alone, and eating out alone is completely unthinkable. So don't

be surprised that (without ulterior motives) you are offered a drink or that someone starts a

conversation with you. Before you know it, you'll have a new circle of acquaintances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family holidays

There are several water parks for families with children and many hotels offer plenty of

activities for the youngest guests. In nature, there is a lot to do for children: adventurous walks

through easy gorges, special (shallow) beaches where you can snorkel very well and in

various museums there are special educational programs for the youngest visitors.

Moreover, the Cretans love children and like to show this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group holiday

There are countless options on the island for groups, ranging from active hiking trails, an

adventurous jeep safari and night-time parties to bungee jumping over a gorge. Spread over

the entire island, there is something for everyone to experience.

Crete is also very popular as a romantic wedding location on one of the many sandy beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace seeker

Those seeking tranquillity can experience an ideal holiday on Crete. In a traditional village

you can enjoy the quiet life, with nature as its rhythm. Under the starry sky in the mountains

you fall asleep with the night sounds of the owl and wake up with the crowing of the rooster.

Here you do not think about tomorrow, but you live now, just as the Cretan does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and drink

Lovers of healthy, tasty food and drinks will not be short of anything on Crete: fresh (wild)

vegetables, meat from their own livestock that graze in the mountains, homemade bread,

freshly caught fish or octopus, delicious oven dishes, sweet desserts, not forgetting good

Cretan wines, special beer and the traditional tsikoudia. Also known as Raki. This spirit is an

important part of Cretan culture.

For the Cretan, eating is an important moment of the day. In good company of family or

friends, a meal can last many hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring and Autumn

Crete is not only a great holiday destination in summer. Also in spring and autumn you can

enjoy the varied nature with mountains, hills, forests and rivers, caves and gorges, a special

sunset or breathtaking views. Discovering rare orchids, almost extinct birds of prey and

deserted beaches. Visiting the larger cities is very pleasant during these quiet periods of the

year.

It is possible that you have a few days of rain, but then a visit to one of the many museums is a good alternative. Or you can have a look at the weather forecast and visit a part of the island

where the weather is better. The south coast is mostly drier and warmer and the distance

from the north coast is usually no more than an hour's drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheap or expensive

There is a holiday option on Crete for everyone's budget. For a reasonable amount, you will

find simple rooms for a few nights, and you can easily explore the island with your backpack.

The large, affordable hotels and holiday homes are mainly found on the touristic north coast.

An all-inclusive stay, breakfast only or a flat with a kitchen, so you can cook for

yourself, there is a stay for every wish. Spread all over the island, there are also more and

more expensive 5-star resorts and luxury villas for families or larger groups.

In short, for every budget, there is a holiday option where everyone can have a good time.

 

Many travel organizations have holidays to Crete in their program and if you prefer searching

something yourself, you can visit to the well-known booking sites on the internet.

 

Would you like more information about Crete, or do you have questions about a holiday to

this special island? You can always email me or take a look at our website for holiday

possibilities in the village of Kournas, where we live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veilig autorijden op Kreta

 

Kom je voor het eerst naar het grootste Griekse eiland Kreta?
Wil je met een auto, een brommer of met een motor het eiland verkennen?
Voor een bijzondere ontdekkingsreis geef ik je graag handige tips over het verkeer op Kreta.

 

Als je op Kreta iets meer van het eiland wilt zien dan alleen je hotel, het strand en het zwembad, kun je op verschillende manieren op ontdekkingsreis. Je kunt een excursie boeken en met een bus vol toeristen naar de meest bekende, dus ook de meest bezochte en drukke trekpleisters gaan. Maar je kunt ook op eigen houtje op pad gaan en minder bekende, bijzondere plekken bezoeken.

 

Ontdekkingsreis

Je kunt wandelingen maken in de omgeving waar je verblijft. Je kunt ook een fiets, brommer, quad of auto huren en een groter gebied gaan verkennen. Op deze manier ontdek je het echte Kreta en heb je de vrijheid om te gaan waar je wilt en wanneer je wilt. Zo kom je op plekken die niet overspoeld zijn met toeristen en waar je nog het echte, authentieke Kreta kunt ontdekken.

 

Huurauto

Iedere zomer zien we veel huurauto's op het eiland. Veel toeristen reizen graag per auto. Maar ook vertellen mensen ons elk jaar weer, dat ze wel een auto of een brommer willen huren, maar dat ze dit niet durven.
“Want”, zeggen ze, "degene die het hardst toetert, heeft voorrang", "ze rijden hier op Kreta als gekken" of "hebben de mensen hier op Kreta wel een rijbewijs?"
Als je graag een auto wilt huren tijdens je vakantie op Kreta, maar (nog) niet durft, lees dan verder. Ik heb een overzicht gemaakt met handige weetjes en tips over het verkeer op Kreta.

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kreta is het grootste Griekse eiland

Veel mensen die voor de eerste keer naar Kreta komen zijn verbaasd dat het eiland zo groot is. Ruim 300 kilometer van West naar Oost, en 17 tot 60 kilometer van Noord naar Zuid. Rij je in Nederland van Groningen naar Maastricht, een afstand van ca. 330 kilometer, dan ben je in de auto ongeveer 3 uur onderweg. Op Kreta is deze afstand bijvoorbeeld van het Vai strand in het oosten naar Fallasarna in het westen. Maar de reistijd is bijna dubbel zo lang, het kost je bijna 6 uur.

 

De wegen op Kreta

* Kreta heeft aan de noordkust een snelweg (New National Road) waar je maximaal 90 kilometer per uur mag rijden. Op veel plekken geldt een maximum snelheid van 80 of 70 kilometer per uur.

 

* De snelweg is maar op weinig plekken 4-baans. Meestal is het een 2-baans weg, met in sommige gebieden veel bochten,  soms dubbele doorgetrokken strepen en vooral ten westen van Heraklion is de weg nogal bergachtig.

 

* Op verschillende strekken is de maximumsnelheid 60 kilometer per uur en hier staan camera’s, die snelheidsovertreders fotograferen of er staat een politieteam met radar controle.

 

* De toestand van de snelweg is niet te vergelijken met die van Nederland. Soms heeft het asfalt geen slijtlaag, waardoor bij regen het wegdek erg glad wordt. Vooral in de zomer na wekenlang droogte. Ook zijn er soms (grote) gaten in het wegdek of liggen er stenen op de weg na regenval.

 

* Er kan aan de zijkant van de weg weggewaaid plastic liggen, of misschien wel een dood schaap, of er ontbreken witte strepen in het midden of aan de zijkant van de weg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

* De wegen in de dorpen zijn soms erg smal en ook is het vaak niet duidelijk of er wel een doorgaande weg is.

                 

* Sinds een paar jaar zijn alle plaatsnaamborden vernieuwd en staat onder de Griekse naam ook de naam met de gewone Latijnse letters. Ook in de steden zijn veel straatnamen nu in het Latijn.

 

* In de bergen zijn vrijwel alle wegen geasfalteerd en zo breed dat 2 auto’s elkaar kunnen passeren. Het kan wel gebeuren dat er een kudde schapen of geiten midden op de weg ligt. Of dat er stenen van de berg gevallen zijn, die de weg kunnen blokkeren.

 

* Natuurlijk zijn er dirt roads, waarop je met een jeep of 4x4 gemakkelijk zou kunnen rijden. Maar informeer goed bij de verhuurder of het is toegestaan om met je huurauto off road te rijden. In veel gevallen ben je niet verzekerd als je dan schade aan je auto krijgt

.

eigen verkeersregels

Op Kreta gelden dezelfde regels en wetten als in de andere Europese landen. Maar de Kretenzers zouden de Kretenzers niet zijn, zonder hun eigen regels. En die hebben ze ook in het verkeer:

 

* verkeer van rechts heeft voorrang, maar niet altijd. Kom je van rechts, maar is de kruisende weg een doorgaande weg, of een bredere en drukkere weg, dan neem je geen voorrang en wacht je totdat de weg vrij is. Op deze manier kan iedereen gemakkelijker doorrijden. Het gaat net even wat soepeler.

 

* Op de snelweg rij je zoveel mogelijk rechts als je merkt dat iemand je wil inhalen. De “vluchtstrook” aan de rechterkant van de snelweg wordt hiervoor gebruikt. Op deze manier kun je ook inhalen als er een dubbele doorgetrokken streep is.

 

* De Kretenzers zijn nog niet zo goed gewend aan het feit dat voetgangers altijd voorrang hebben als ze oversteken (met of zonder zebrapad). Dus bereid je voor op verbaasde gezichten als je een voetganger veilig laat oversteken.

 

* Ook op Kreta is het dragen van een helm verplicht op een brommer of motor. In de grote steden wordt hierop ook vaak gecontroleerd en beboet. Op het platteland is minder politie aanwezig, dus is er ook minder controle en zie je nog veel mensen zonder helm of ze rijden met de helm aan het stuur.

 

Avontuurlijk

Wij hebben in onze vakanties op Kreta vaak auto’s en brommers gehuurd en hebben hier van genoten.
Nu wonen we al 12 jaar op het eiland en hebben we met de auto en ook op de motor veel kilometers gereden. We hebben zelfs een keer in de winter een week een camper gehuurd en zijn daarmee nog een keer naar de oostkant van Kreta gereden. Ook dat ging zonder problemen, zelfs door kleine dorpjes met veel sneeuw.

 

Wij hebben het al afgeleerd om onze reistijd in kilometers te berekenen. Wij rekenen gewoon in tijd, tellen daar een Kretens kwartiertje bij en dan zitten we meestal wel goed. Siga, siga (langzaam, langzaam)

 

Het autorijden op Kreta kun je avontuurlijk noemen. Maar als je normaal rijdt, je een beetje aanpast en gewoon goed oplet, is er geen enkel probleem en kun je tijdens je vakantie heerlijk op weg met een huurauto. 

De meeste huurauto’s hebben tegenwoordig een GPS en veel mensen gebruiken de navigatie op hun telefoon. Maar toch kan het gebeuren dat je verdwaalt. Onze ervaring is dat je dan op de meest bijzondere plekken komt en soms de mooiste ervaringen opdoet. 

 

Ga gewoon genieten van je ontdekkingsreis op het mooie Kreta.

 

Informatie over Kreta

Heb je vragen of wil je meer informatie over Kreta? 

Neem een kijkje op onze website, onze Facebookpagina of kom ons bezoeken in Kournas, in onze winkel "Mandali, local products and more..."

Voeg een lang, mooi verhaal toe over jouw bedrijf en hoe deze tot stand is gekomen. Vertel over jouw teamleden en schrijf een artikel over de oprichter van dit bedrijf. Voeg je eigen foto's toe zodat klanten meer over je te weten kunnen komen en je kunnen vertrouwen.