Caribbean blue sea, inviting beaches, wild nature and unusual hospitality – that’s Crete. The largest Greek island is located in the eastern Mediterranean, 100 kilometers from the Greek mainland. The sun shines here 300 days a year. And there are huge mountains – the highest is 2,450 meters high – as well as numerous gorges that you can walk through. Andrea Grießmann explores the original Crete on a tour of the island.
Karibikblaues Meer, einladende Strände, wilde Natur und eine ungewöhnliche Gastfreundschaft – das ist Kreta. Die größte, griechische Insel liegt im östlichen Mittelmeer, 100 Kilometer vom griechischen Festland entfernt. Die Sonne scheint hier an 300 Tagen im Jahr. Und es gibt es gewaltige Berge – der höchste ist 2.450 Meter hoch – sowie zahlreiche Schluchten, die man durchwandern kann. Andrea Grießmann erkundet das ursprüngliche Kreta bei einer Tour über die Insel.
After the Luxurious Stone Apartments and Villa Olga , we went to our third property, the Arcus Suites . The suites are a complex built many centuries ago under the Venetian rule, which still retains its spirit of the times. The Arcus Suites are located in the inland Rethymnon Prefecture . To reach the Arcus Suites, you definitely need a rental car. What we particularly liked there was that you can experience the history of Crete up close and that many sights can only be reached on foot from the accommodation.
The Arcus Suites are located in the village of Argiroupolis, which is famous for its healing spring water and the ancient village of Lappa . I have to smile at “famous” because there are no large crowds of tourists , but rather an insider for locals or extensive researching holidaymakers. The accommodation has a quiet location in the mountains of Rethymnon and still you are in max. 10 minutes by the sea. That was exactly what appealed to us here. It is not very far to Rethymnon either . With the rental carit only takes 30 minutes so that you can comfortably drive to the old town of Rethymnon in the evening for a visit to the tavern. For everyone who also wants to spend the evening at the village, there are two delicious taverns here.
With plenty of Greek music and frappé we drove from Agios Nikolaos towards Rethymnon and enjoyed the great view of the sea. After our pleasant arrival in the village of Lappa, our host Mr. Deligiannakis warmly welcomed us . There is always a feeling of security between people, whether locals or tourists, on Crete. After a small talk, Mr. Deligiannakis explained the nearby attractions to us using a map. We were amazed at what the village had to offer, because during our research we did not find what we were looking for. He was very helpful to us, for which we still consider him one of the friendliest hosts would designate. Shortly afterwards he handed over our keys for the suite and led us to our room.
For a small “boutique hotel” the area was large, which we did not expect. While he showed us the layout, he made us familiar with the historical events of the village. At the suite, Mr. Deligiannakis summarized all the important details about the suite and we were allowed to enter our suite called Barozzi . Mr. Deligiannakis had placed another sparkling wine on our table, which we enjoyed on our balcony in the evening.
The Arcus Suites are much more than just accommodation. The accommodation fits perfectly into the Crete scene that you always imagine before your vacation. This is how we would describe it: an idyll with history, adventurous and pure relaxation . The Arcus Suites are a complex with a lot of passion. The garden and the pool area alone are like a visit to the botanical garden. A wide variety of plants have been planted here and are lovingly cared for. The pool is clean and there are enough chairs for everyone. Although almost all suites were booked, we had the pool to ourselves at lunchtime and enjoyed the quiet with a lot of birdsong.
The Arcus Suites do not have a private car park, which was nevertheless not a problem for us. There is free parking at the village square, about 200 meters from the accommodation.
The complex, preserved and renovated from the 14th century, has a very famous ark at the entrance, which is still very well preserved. Further inside there is a mosaic floor in the complex on which dolphins can be seen. The entire complex was designated “ monument protection ” by the Ministry of Culture in 2005 , which also renovated the Venetian stone houses in good time.
The complex has five suites, which lend a special charm with stone walls and historical decorations. The authenticity of the suites is also evident from the stone fireplaces, which also give the complex the opportunity to be open all year round. The suites are beautifully decorated. Air conditioning, WiFi, television and landline phone – nothing was missing. The kitchen even had its own dishwasher, microwave, coffee machine and deep fryer. Our suite called Barozzi was spacious and had a wonderful decor. The highlight of the suites, however, is the bathroom. The whirlpool invites you to relax .
Unlike in other accommodations, breakfast is served in the room. There are fresh, homemade products every day . But what we particularly liked: Nothing international was served for breakfast. We were given traditional dishes such as “chortopita” – vegetarian pita .
The ancient village of Lappa and other sights
Back then, with over 10,000 inhabitants, Lappa was a very important municipality in Crete. The old city gate can be seen directly at the village square, at the parking lot . This gate also leads to the open air museum . You can also go straight past the Arcus Suites and see the abandoned houses in the same district. During the tour you will see a Roman mosaic from the 3rd century . Don’t forget to visit the many souvenir shops at the end of the tour. The older population of the village is always happy to receive a greeting and a smile.
Other sights nearby
the Argiroupolis waterfalls and taverns with antichristo (lamb on a spit) and apaki (smoked pork)
The burial chamber of the holy five virgins
From comfort to adventure – the Arcus Suites were a unique experience for us, which we wholeheartedly recommend . Not only the facility, but the entire village is worth a visit . If you are looking for a varied holiday on Crete, you should definitely go inland.
Through Greek Parliament the Tourism Ministry had pass, on the 13th of April, a legal clause allowing tourism enterprises to compensate their clients – individuals and tour operators – who have already made down payments for bookings that cannot be followed through due to restrictions in hotel operation and travel, with the issue of an 18-month open-date voucher.
That issue is of vital significance for tourism companies that are already facing liquidity problems. Albeit understandable, the demand by hotel customers for the return of deposits generates tension between them and the hoteliers.
Germany, Italy and other countries have already passed similar clauses, with full compatibility with European law.
In practice, for a customer who may have booked a holiday for this Easter, this means that instead of having their money returned, they will get a voucher of the same value which they may use later on another trip.
This measure is considered a very important move toward saving the tourism industry in Greece as it eases the payment chain while offering a solution to consumers who may have booked their holidays some time ago so they do not lose their money.
Argiroupoli Rethymno “Easter Traditions”. The giant torches (candles) on Good (Holly) Friday. A custom that begins several years ago when Argiroupoli hadn’t got electricity and public lighting.
The villagers to honor the dead Jesus but also to illuminate the path followed by the procession of the Epitaph manufactured “candles” (torches) from reeds and “astivides” (bush) which lit up and they carried on their shoulders. Each “candle” may be up to 6 meters in length and held by 3 or more people.
In compliance with the Greek government measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the tradition of the “Giant torches” would be cancelled for this year.
Video and photos from past years: