2020 Season would start on the June 15, the day Greece will open welcoming back flights from abroad, as it was just announced (20/05/2020, 18:30)
Greek Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis had address the nation, announcing the plan to support economy, employment and tourism after the COVID-19 measurements.
“The transition from today’s uncertainty to tomorrow’s security is based on three pillars: employment support, tax cuts and boosting entrepreneurship,” he said.
Specifically referring to tourism business, the PM said “Greece’s 2020 season will begin on June 15th, coinciding with the date the country’s seasonal hotels will open their doors. Also Greece’s year-round hotels will open June 1st.
International flights will be welcoming from June 15th Greece, initially only at Athens International Airport. Starting From July 1st, all Greek airports will be open to flights from abroad.
According to Mitsotakis, Greece’s visitors will undergo sample tests when required and must abide by the country’s general health protocols (that would be announced soon), which however “will not cast a shadow over our bright sun or natural beauty”.
It was announced that Greece’s incoming tourists will not need to have a COVID-19 test prior to travel nor will they be quarantined after arrival in order to enjoy their stay.
Minister of Tourism Theoharis has announced detail schedule for “Restart tourism” planning. As he said:
“Αuthorities will boost the healthcare capacity of several tourist destinations by providing tests and doctors, as well as an operational plan for the handling of possible infections (a hotel doctor, quarantine areas and transfer to a health facility).
Tourists will be allowed to enter Greece without taking a coronavirus test or remaining in quarantine when international flights restart on July 1, but health officials will conduct spot tests when required”
Crete is not only famous for its ancient relics but also for the spectacular landscapes and renowned Cretan hospitality. To truly discover and explore Crete, you will need more than a week’s holiday, not even a month, a lifetime would be more like it and even then only a few people can tell you that they have seen all of Crete. It is almost impossible. Having already spent the past few summers on the island and in Rethymnon it was my first time visiting Argyroupolis.
I was invited to stay at the Arcus Luxury Suites in Argyroupolis which was the perfect opportunity to further explore the area and the nearby villages. Here are some of the places that I visited during my two day stay.
The highlights of Argyroupolis
Ancient Lappa was once a powerful Cretan city. Legend has it that is was founded by Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope. Today the village of Argyroupolis stands on the site which was once the ancient city of Lappa.
A number of Venetian mansions can be found here till this day and excavations in the area have uncovered remarkable finds which trace back to the Late Geometric period. Loukia who is a local of Argyroupolis took us on a tour of her authentic, traditional family home.
The springs of Argyroupolis
The springs of Argyroupolis are one of the highlights of the area. Numerous small waterfalls dominate the village, shaded by ancient plane trees.
There is also a very small church inside a rock, the chapel of Agia Dynami (Holy Force). The water which flows the chapel is said to be miraculous.
There is a plethora of taverns which serve grilled trout which guests can catch directly from the springs and have it grilled to order.
The church of Agia Kyriaki
This tiny church of Agia Kyriaki is located on the banks of the Mousellas river next to the famous Springs of Argyroupolis.
Featuring 11th and 13th century murals it was built on the site of what used to be a Roman bathhouse.
The church of the Holy Five Virgins
The church of the Holy Five Virgins located at a close proximity from the village of Argyroupolis and is an important historical site.
The church is dedicated to the Five Holy Virgins Thekla, Marianna, Ethane or Athena, Martha and Mary, who are believed to have died here.
The church was built on the ground of the ancient Roman tombs carved in the marly limestone rock. An impressive site indeed.
Panagia Antifonitria in Miriokefala
Miriokefala is a mountainous village which is located on the border of Rethymnon and Chania.
A short drive away from Argyroupolis the village is famous for the monastery of Panagia Antifonitria which is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete, founded in the 11th century.
The monastery celebrates on September 8 and 12 and many pilgrims walk up towards the monastery, starting a few days before the celebration.
New friends take you to places you have never been before. When our friend Andreas told us about visiting the Kallikratis village up in the mountains, we couldn’t resist his kind offer.
First we stopped for a Greek coffee at the most impressive little coffee shop I have ever seen. It is owned by Babis and his wife, who have a great passion for herbs and make their own jams, oils and other delicacies.
Whatever you do, this place should be on your list of places to see when you end up in Chania. We then headed towards the Kallikratis Gorge which lies on the southeast of Lefka Ori (White Mountains). The view from here is unbelievable!
The mountainous road that leads from Argyroupolis will give you the opportunity to explore the small villages and scenery. It might take you around 40 minutes or more to get to Lake Kournas which is the only fresh water lake in Crete.
During the summer it usually gets quite busy as it is a favourite destination for both locals and tourists. There are tavernas and coffee shops in the area and you can also rent a pedal boat to explore the lake and the natural surroundings.
Where to eat in Argyroupolis
Tavern Arhaia Lappa (Ancient Lappa)
On both evenings we had dinner at the Tavern Arhaia Lappa (Ancient Lappa) which serves delicious Greek food. We exchanged travel stories with our new friends who are worldwide travellers and are keen on exploring the world!
Over dinner we spoke about the famous Cretan snail dish and our friend Andreas told us that he knows a secret place that has the best snails. The next day he was out at 07:30 in the morning collecting snails for our dinner.
This is what makes Crete special. The generosity and thoughtfulness of its people. No hospitality can ever beat the Cretan hospitality.
Thank you Eleni and Yiannis Deligiannakis for your warm hospitality at Arcus Suites Rethymno Crete, Θόλος Σουίτες Ρέθυμνο Κρήτης member of the Guest Inn – The Greek network of rural accommodation, your sweet parents Argyro and Kanakis, and their special friend Andreas. Last but not least, Loukia for taking us on an interesting tour of her authentic and traditional family house.
If you haven’t been to Argyroupolis before, we hope that this post will inspire you to go!
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.
Arcus suites commitment to you, our guests, as we navigate through corona virus (covid-19) pandemic
We are actively monitoring the novel corona virus (COVID-19) updates from the World Health Organization and the Hellenic (Greek) Ministry of Health, and will continue to respond based on the best advice of governments, public health authorities and medical professionals.
In compliance with the Greek government measures, to stop the spread of the corona virus, all Greek lodges will remain temporarily closed until May 30th.
As it has always been, the safety and security of our guests and team members remains our highest priority. We are doing everything we can to ensure your travel safety and provide maximum flexibility as the situation around novel corona virus (COVID-19) continues to evolve.
If you have made a reservation until April 30th you can postpone it (according to availability) until the end of October of 2021 (18 months) without penalty or extra charge.
Your Travel Flexibility
We remain committed to offering you flexible booking options. Given these unique circumstances we are making additional adjustments to our individual booking policies to give you extra peace of mind:
Existing Reservations. All reservations – even those described as “non refundable” that are scheduled for arrival before 30 April 2020, can be postponed without any penalty or extra charge, for new reservation dates, for accommodation any time until the 31 December 2021 (21 months from today).
New Reservations. Any reservation you make, even those described as “non-refundable”, that are booked between today and 30 April 2020 for any future arrival date, can be changed or postponed at no charge up to 48 hours before your scheduled arrival.
All postponed reservations will be re-confirmed depending on our availability for the new dates.
Your Travel Safety
We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene to ensure the health of our staff and guests, minimizing any risk. In response to the corona virus, we have taken additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities, including the World Health Organization and Hellenic (Greek) Ministry of Health, to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous:
Our personnel are receiving ongoing briefings and enhanced operating protocols.
All Housekeeping staff service and clean/sanitize guestrooms each day.
All “high-touch” areas are now being treated with additional disinfectant/sanitizer on a daily basis (public door handles, etc).
We will continue to adjust food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations.
We have increased the deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizers.
Hand sanitizer is available in the common areas for your use.
Travel-sized bottles of hand sanitizer are available in each room. You are welcome to take these bottles with you.
In addition to the above, we remain available to answer any specific questions you may have.
Once again, thank you for choosing us.
Till then stay safe