If you are looking for a unique, traditional experience in Crete, make sure to live your stay starting from the choice of the right kind of accommodation. When in Santorini, you might want to sleep in a cave by the Caldera. When in Crete, you should experience a stone-built villa.
If you are uncertain about your final Cretan destination, Rethymno is a great way to approach Crete. Close enough to the main capital, Heraklion, and not far from the western city of Chania, Rethymno offers a great compromise between city life and countryside retreats. Beaches and traditional villages are some of the many things to see and live in the area.
Rethymno (Ρέθυμνο) has one of the best preserved old districts of Crete, with buildings dating back to the 16th century. The city has an authentic aristocratic atmosphere, with backstreets full of stories and legends. Narrow alleys combine with a small Venetian harbour. The impressive Venetian Fortress still stands proud on one of the corners of the city. Venetian and Turkish styles combine in the buildings around town, as well as Byzantine churches and facades.
The city is owner of a unique character but there’s much more to see in the region: Unique beaches, mysterious caves, archaeological sites and small mountain villages where the atmosphere remains very much the essence of the Cretan tradition. For an authentic experience, a stay in one of these stone-built villages is a must.
Where to stay in Rethymno: Traditional Cretan Villas
In the small village of Asteri, just 14 km away from the city, there is a complex of traditional villas with a name that already tells us a lot about the accommodation. Amazing Villas in Crete. Out of these four different buildings, three of them are located uphill, offering a relaxing atmosphere and impressive views of the Cretan sea, while the remaining one, Villa Argiris, is very close to the beach.
Probably the most beautiful building of all, is the extremely comfortable and originally stone-built, traditional villa Asteri. This building dates back to the mid-fifties and used to be the house of a local family. Completely refurbished and decorated with unique pieces of the tradition, Villa Asteri combines every element of the authentic Cretan stay.
The villa carries the same name of the village that hosts it, in fact, it’s located at the entrance of the village of Asteri (which in Greek means star). This two-level villa offers interiors of traditional elegance combined with all the basics for a modern functionality.
The initial stone build used to be a family manor dwelling and carpentry workshop. Still maintaining its traditional character, beautiful and original stone walls reveal the wonders of its past.
The villa has a comfortable kitchen, enough luxurious bathrooms and huge bedrooms accommodating up to eight people. A magnificent and cozy fireplace, as well as a beautiful garden with a pool, a wood oven and a delicious veranda to relax during those amazing Cretan sunsets. A villa that gives shape to the Cretan character.
The Villas are open all year long, offering a delicious place to stay in Crete both during the summer season as well as during the colorful springs and warm falls on the island.
In the nearby area, apart from walks in through the hills and visits to the beach, it’s possible to visit the Folklore Museum of Asteri and have an authentic lunch in its taverna, but also pay a visit to monasteries that were key to the independence of the island, such as Moni Arkadi and Moni Preveli. In the nearby area it’s also possible to visit the Archaeological site of Ancient Eleutherna, and its modern museum.