Overlooking the terracotta rooftops of Amari Village and a valley of unspoiled natural beauty, Villa Idi is an ideal base to explore the undiscovered Crete. It is a great spot for anyone who wishes to get away from the crowded touristic areas, yet being close enough to visit them. Carrying a family history of 150 years, the stone building has been fully restored offering a private pool and spectacular views.
The villa is part of a traditional, stone-built complex, being once the owner's grandparents home. It started about 1.5 century ago, as a typical residence of Cretan farmers with just one room, storage and a small patio for a donkey and a few goats, but gradually expanded as the family was growing. It used to be the place where the owner spent every summer holiday of his childhood, with "papou" and "giagia" (grandpa and grandma). Today an engineer, he has restored the building for the sake of those sweet summers and transformed it into a holiday home.
Amari is a delightful, living, traditional village in the heart of Crete, enjoying a unique, direct environment of excellent climate. The property is set at the top of the village, with marvellous views across the rooftops and away across the valley to the mighty Mount Idi. The elegant traditional furnishing and the family's handmade embroidery form a relaxing blend of calm and comfort. Staying here, one can feel the natural tranquillity as the scene is completed by the clear, transparent atmosphere and the sounds of nature. Watching the Mount Idi turning red during sunset and the moon rising over the valley is an unforgettable experience.
The villa can accommodate 8 people in an area of 140sqm, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The capacity may be extended to 9 people, on request.
Free Wi-Fi and full air conditioning (in every room) is included. The house is very ample and has a fully equipped kitchen, dining area and living room with fireplace. Flat screen TV with DVD/home cinema and CD player (iPod compatible) is provided. The private swimming pool is surrounded by astonishing views and features BBQ facilities, outdoor shower and a romantic dining area, under the little oak tree.
Regular changing of linen/towels and all cleaning services are included. Also, free beach towels, pool accessories, water toys and life jackets for kids and babies are provided.
COOKING SERVICE of local cuisine is offered exclusively for our guests, on request. Mrs. Rumy, the housekeeper, will introduce you to a healthy and delicious Cretan diet, with recipes that are totally homemade, using olive oil and fresh, seasonal products only, from the village and the close area.
A WELCOME TREAT with local and home made goods and wine will be waiting for you, upon arrival.
FOR KIDS (...and adults), you'll find toys, games, books, music and movies. For babies, we offer baby-cots and high-chairs, free of charge.
For your better INFORMATION, we will provide maps and book guides for the entire area and our personal recommendations about food, daily trips, events and places of interest.
PRIVATE PICNIC AREA: Located in the nearby fields, the family owned "aloni" (threshing yard) is one of the last remaining in the area. A few minutes walk away from the villas, it is waiting for you to have a picnic under the shade of a giant oak tree.
Check in after: 4:00 PM
Check out before: 10:00 AM
AMARI VILLAGE AND AROUND - Basic Information
Area and activities:
The Amari is one of a few areas in the island where the genuine spirit and the way of life of real Crete is still present; A unique blend of local people, nature, history and tradition.
In Amari Village, there are 2 little museums and the Bell Tower, the symbol of the area, built on a rock where a Venetian castle was standing once.
The close area has some great walks crossing the beautiful fields and the ancient olive groves. Hidden among the trees, little byzantine temples of the 13th century, remain yet undiscovered.
For kids, the Amari Village offers a playground, a basic basket/volley-ball court and the old school yard, all of them at a distance of 50m to 200m from the villa. The village is safe, with friendly people and minimum traffic conditions.
We encourage our guests to take part in the local, everyday life. Also, we constantly keep them informed about all kind of activities and events that could be present in the area:
- Walking or hiking on the E4 path
- Cheese making "on the spot", with the shepherds of Mt. Psiloritis
- Participating in agricultural activities with local people like milking sheep and goats, olive harvest, wine making and "tsikoudia" distilling
- Observation of the Cretan wild flowers in the springtime
- Bird-watching in the gorges
- Daily excursions in the valley
- Sea kayaking/canoeing
- Bike rental
- Local village festivals with Cretan music and dance
- Musical events and other cultural happenings
Set in the middle of the island, the villa offers equal access (from 25 to 35 km) both to the crowded north coast and the quiet south coast beaches.
Some of the local sites are (2 to 15km): Minoan Monastiraki, Ancient Syvritos, Platania Gorge, Patsos Gorge, Potamoi lake, Veni Monastery and Arkadi Monastery. The Ancient Eleftherna (23km) excavation site and its brand new Museum have opened to public for the first time in 2016.
Major sights like Rethymnon Venetian Town, Phaestos Minoan Palace, Matala beach, Preveli Palm Beach and Preveli Monastery are also easily accessible by car (less than 1 hour).
Many local taverns and restaurants can be found in the close area and they all serve genuine Cretan food at good prices. One of them is on the main square of our village (Amari), the rest are in the neighbouring villages (within a distance from 2 to 5km).
Supplies, Shops and Super Markets:
Gas station, pharmacy, pastry shop and supermarkets are at 6km away, in Agia Fotini Village.
Several times a week, local farmers come down the street to sell their goods honking at the villas' doorstep. You can find groceries, fruits, dairy products, etc. Fresh bread is delivered every day at "kafeneion" (cafe) on the main square of Amari Village.
Moreover, we assist our guests to buy products directly from the village families, like eggs, cheese, herbs, fresh goat's milk, honey, raki, wine, olive oil, etc.
Local Amenities and Authorities:
Medical centre, Post office and Town hall: 6km away, in Agia Fotini Village.
Police station: in Amari Village (200m from the villa)
HER (Heraklion) and CHQ (Chania) airports are 100km (95minutes) away.
Car hire is essential.
We can arrange your car reservation or provide recommendations. Detailed directions on how to reach the property by car will be sent in time, before arrival.
In case you don't want to hire a car, please send a request for alternative transportation options, like public bus, taxis or airport transfers.
ADDITIONAL INFO ABOUT THE VILLAGE AND THE AREA
AMARI VILLAGE LIFE AND ATTRACTIONS
Amari village is located at the centre of Amari Valley. It remains untouched by massive tourism and it is one of the most picturesque in Crete, with interesting architecture and unsurpassed tranquillity.
The old bell tower is the symbol for visitors, offering spectacular views of the area (located just beside the villa).
There are 2 small museums, one with folklore items from the village houses and one with the representation of the old school classroom.
In the main square there is a kafeneion (coffee shop) beside the old school, under the shade of pine trees. You can feel the slow tempo of life, sitting together with the locals with a coffee or a raki.
You can also experience refreshing walks through the fields and rest under the shade of ancient olive and oak trees or discover the 7 byzantine churches, dating from the 13th century, which are hidden in the countryside.
If you like hiking, the path to the Samitos summit (altitude 1050m, 1.5 hour, easy) starts from the village. The mountain was once dedicated to the worship of Pan, the ancient God of nature.
Finally, you may participate in agricultural activities with the local people like milking sheep and goats, olive harvest, wine making and tsikoudia distilling.
Children will be happy to enjoy the old schoolyard, the open basket/volley ball court and the playground.
AMARI VILLAGE ANNUAL EVENTS
The Easter celebration remains the same for centuries. The local people follow a series of traditional rituals that will lead eventually to the impressive "Judas burning", beside the Bell Tower.
The Amari Green Festival (last week of July) is organized by the Municipality and takes place in an area 2km from the village. The main events are the music concerts but there are also various workshops of local cooking, music, dance and pottery.
The Amari Village Festival, dedicated to the name day of Hagios (Saint) Titos, is organized by the local Cultural Club and usually lasts 4 days, from the 22nd till the 25th of August. It includes a race event around the area (for all ages), a bazaar of local products made by the women club, 1 or 2 concerts, theatre and the final event, on the 25th, which is the traditional celebration gathering on the square of the village, with music and dance all night long.
THE AMARI VALLEY
The scenic Amari valley, in the heart of Crete, lies between 2 mountains: Psiloritis (Idi) and Kedros, both belonging to the Natura 2000 protected areas. The landscape is exceptional, with high mountains, little rivers and green fields. The most common trees found are olives, oaks and cypresses and the whole scene is decorated in springtime with countless wild flowers. The clean environment and the healthy climate are ideal for relaxing, walking, climbing, cycling, or exploring by car. Numerous paths, starting from Amari and the nearby villages will guide you to magnificent natural sites (plateaus, caves, mountaintops, gorges, etc). Moreover, a tour by car to the 27 beautiful villages of the valley would be a worthwhile experience, as each one of them has its own charm.
NATURE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE VALLEY
Agios Antonios or Patsos Gorge starts beside the ruins of an ancient temple and crosses a forest with waterfalls, bird watching points and picnic facilities.
Potamoi Lake is a refuge and immigration station for birds, suitable for walking or cycling.
Platania Gorge follows an exciting track amongst the vultures' nests offering spectacular views of the valley.
The mighty Psiloritis or Idi Mt. (2456m) with a history full of myths and legends dominates the area, being the highest point in Crete and crossed by the international E4 path. It is the home of the last surviving Gypaetus and Golden eagles. Not necessary for someone to go to the top; there are several lower hikes and interesting possibilities for exploring by car.
Kedros Mt. (1777m), also crossed by the E4, is wild and rocky near the top but, in its lower area, it is peaceful, forming little valleys with springs and fruit trees.
HISTORICAL SITES IN THE VALLEY AND AROUND
The area near Amari Village is rich in history, with several sites of the Minoan and the Byzantine era:
The Ancient town of Syvritos (meaning "sweet water"), near the village of Thronos (7km);
The Minoan palace, in the nearby village of Monastiraki (2km);
The abandoned "Veni" monastery (10km), located beside a unique plateau and featuring a temple in a cave with stalactites;
Some of the major archaeological sites of Crete are within 1 hour drive from Amari: Arkadi monastery (15min), Ancient Eleftherna (30min) excavation site with its brand new Museum, Festos Minoan Palace and the Roman capital of Gortys (60min), Preveli monasteries (55min), Rethymnon Venetian town (45min).
FOOD AND TAVERNS
The Amari area is famous for its local cuisine. Based on olive oil, wild herbs and locally produced ingredients, the recipes have been handed from one generation to another. In the surrounding area (2-10km from the villa) you can find a number of taverns with genuine local food. Also, in almost every village, there is a typical kafeneion serving coffee, refreshments, home made raki, wine and little local dishes.
The crowded north coast and the quiet South coast beaches are equally accessible by car, due to the location of the village, in the middle of the island. You can reach Rethymnon sandy beaches (25-45 min) or explore the magnificent southern coastline of Plakias, Preveli Palm Forest, Damnoni, Shinaria, Ligres, Triopetra and Matala (45-60 min).
Rethymnon (pop. 30,000) is the most important city close to Amari Village (37km). It combines Cretan history with culture, Ottoman and Venetian past, beautiful sandy beaches and vivid life tempo. The heart of the city is beating in the old town, a living monument, where locals and tourists love to walk around and enjoy relaxation, food and drink. Being the best preserved Venetian town in Greece, it is secluded by the Fortezza castle and the fishing port with the lighthouse and features Renaissance and Ottoman architecture with cobbled, narrow streets, mosques, museums, piazzas and fountains.
- The changeover dates are flexible.
- The villa will be available on the day of arrival from 4:00 pm. In case of no previous booking, an earlier arrival can be arranged, at no extra cost.
- We would be grateful if the villa is vacated by 10:00 am on the day of departure. Should there be no following booking on the date of your departure, a vacation at a later time can be arranged, at no extra cost.
- This is a non smoking villa. Smokers are kindly requested to smoke outside the house.
- Minimum stay is 3 nights.
- Long stay policy : Please contact us for long stay discounts (10nights or more).
- The prices show the Total Cost of the Booking, including full air-conditioning, internet access (Wi-Fi), a welcome basket with local goods upon arrival, all taxes, all cleaning services, beach towels and changing of linen/ towels. Also, central heating is included for the winter period.
MHTE - Permit Number