Despite some of the tourist hotspots, the islands of Greece are still relatively unknown. We turned to a Cretan local to share the secrets of his beautiful island home. Markos Margiolakis is the manager of many of our gorgeous villas in Crete, including Sea Queen Villa, Sea View Villas and Atlantica Caldera III and agreed to help us bring to you an authentic guide to Crete.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do, how long have you lived where you are and what makes you an expert in the region? Do you have any special connection there?
A: I was born in Chania, Crete and stayed there until I went to university in Switzerland to study tourism operations and management. Afterwards, I worked for travel agencies in Berlin, Germany and then came back to Greece, to work for our family business in 1998. I’ve been here ever since!
Q: Why should people travel to your region at least once in their life? What might they find surprising on their first visit?
A: Chania is so charming and such a romantic place. The old Venetian harbour is one of the most photographed places in the whole of Greece. It has style and character, and at the same time, you feel like you’re transported to another decade. In Chania, people can visit Samaria gorge, the biggest natural gorge in the Mediterranean, the deserted island of Gramvousa and Balos, a beautiful protected lagoon. There’s also Elafonissi and Falassarna beaches, which are 2 of the nicest sandy beaches you can find in Greece and of course, you should do some wine tasting in some of our well-known wineries like Manousakis, Karavitakis and Dourakis.
Q: And what makes people come back time and time again?
A: The hospitality of the people, the magnificent scenery and of course the very good prices of food and drinks. It is a place for families but couples as well. All ages will be very satisfied.
Time for some travel inspiration – can you give us your recommendations on:
- The first thing to do – you should drop your bags and…
- …eat breakfast in the old Venetian harbour. Make sure to try a Freddo Espresso or Freddo Cappuccino.
- Your favourite restaurant and/or bar, and why – is there something served there that visitors should really try?
- Salis Restaurant in the old Venetian harbour is fantastic. You should try the Skioufihta (Cretan Spaghetti).
- An activity that really takes in the best the area has to offer.
- Drive to South Crete and visit the rural villages, especially Loutro and Agia Roumeli. These fantastic little places can only be reached by ferryboat from Sfakia or Paleochora.
- The best activities and things to do for families.
- Your best-kept secret of the region.
- Thalassino Ageri fish restaurant, by the sea in the area of Tabakaria in Chania, is the most romantic place for dinner and serves great, great food. You need always to make a reservation a day or two before your visit.
Q: Summarise the region for us in three words!
A: Classic, Romantic Relaxing.
Q: Have you had any famous visitors or well-known events (historical or otherwise) take place in the region?
A: All the prime ministers of Greece for the last 20 years have visited Crete, the minister of defence of Austria, the president of hotel association of Australia and many, many actors especially from Greece and Cyprus. The Venetian harbour in Chania is a really famous spot and it has been used as a film set in lots of movies.
Q: What would your perfect day in the area comprise of?
A: A full day on the beach of Falasarna and dinner in Kaliviani village in the restaurant Mama Dinner. Here you can eat the most traditional Cretan food you can find in the whole island.
Hopefully, that’s given you some great insight into what a holiday in Crete is like. If you’re itching to start planning your Cretan summer, have a peek at our range of gorgeous villas in Crete, or give our concierge team a call for some great advice.