Only one km from the coast of southern Crete, Aspros Potamos Houses is a small settlement of tiny, centuries-old stone cottages that were once used as a retreat by olive farmers during the harvest. Now, they are a unique back-to-nature kind of holiday retreat with self-catering accommodation. Charming host Myrto welcomes you. Her mother started Aspros Potamos and Myrto has lived here since she was eight years old. She never left, and for good reasons. Life here is uncomplicated, and ever so beautiful. Myrto has installed an award-winning, solar energy system to generate electricity for the essentials (such as the refrigerators as well as reading and bathroom lights – mobile telephones and laptops can be charged at the reception). For the evenings, you also get candles and oil lamps. There is no heating, but every cottage has a working fireplace. Instead of air conditioning, thick walls, insulated ceilings and fans keep the houses cool during hot summer days. Set on the hillside, the ochre coloured cottages contrast beautifully with the surrounding greenery. Inside, they have stone-paved floors, old country-style furniture, built-in beds, bamboo ceilings and creamy whitewashed walls. There’s not much to it, but it’s simply beautiful.
The wonderful back-to-nature feeling, the quiet, the simple charm of the cottages of Aspros Potamos Houses and the romantic nights by candlelight. This is a really beautiful place, perfect to enjoy a combination of sea and nature.
Don't expect more 'luxuries" than a good bed to sleep in, a hot shower, a fan, and a fridge to keep your drinks and groceries cool.
Bathroom with shower (some are right outside to the cottage)
Kitchenette with refrigerator
Fireplace (no other heating)
Cafe with WiFi
Stock up on groceries and you can do your own cooking, either in your own kitchenette, or in the shared, wood-fired oven outside. You can of course also eat out in Makrigialos, where you have a choice of traditional Greek restaurants, fish tavernas, souvlakia and pizza places. If you are not in the mood to prepare your own breakfast you can ask Myrto to take care of it and it will be brought to your cottage.
Aspros Potamos is a great place to go to with children who love the outdoors, especially if they like to go for walks and play in nature. The nearby beaches are sandy and have shallow waters, so they are very child-friendly. Teenagers will probably appreciate the lively atmosphere at the coast, but may get a little bored staying in a place like Aspros Potamos Houses.
Walking and Hiking
South-eastern Crete is wonderful for walking and hiking. Start by walking down the Pefki gorge (the entrance to the gorge is near Pefki village and you end right back at Aspros Potamos) or head for paths taking you through hills, valleys and mountains. In the wider area, there are several more beautiful gorges to explore.
There are excellent sandy beaches (some with sun beds and umbrellas) at walking distance, and there are several more a but further away. Cross over for the day to the uninhabited islet of Koufonissi and swim from amazing sandy beaches. A day-trip to the island of Chrissi (more wonderful beaches!) is also highly recommended; the boats leave from Ierapetra.
There are several scuba diving centres in Ierapetra, both for beginners and experienced divers.
Aspros Potamos Houses is set in an idyllic location in an olive tree grove just ten minutes’ walk from Makrigialos, at the beginning (or end) of the beautiful Pefki gorge (a 1,5 hour’ walk to the village of Pefki). Built along a nice stretch of sandy beach Makrigialos has developed into a small scale tourist resort, but the one km narrow country road that leads to Aspros Potamos takes you to a different world altogether.
To get to Makrigialos, it is best to take a flight to the (international) airport at Heraklion. If you come by ferry, get one to the port of Heraklion or (less frequent connections) to Agios Nikolaos. The drive from the airport (or port) of Heraklion takes about two hours. First you follow the signs for Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, and about 20 km after Agios Nikolaos you turn towards Ierapetra. From Ierapetra you take the coastal road towards Sitia. After you pass through Makrigialos (about 20 km from Ierapetra) and enter Analipsi, you should look for a small sign on your left for Pefki village. Follow this road and after 1 km you’ll find two small signs. Turn left at the sign for Aspros Potamos and you will find the settlement after 500 m.
Aspros Potamos was excellent: very quiet but close to beaches, tavern etc. The only remark is that I would suggest this place to family without small kids (infant). I have already suggested it to some friends.
We had a very pleasant stay at Aspros Potamos. Location is great and the service really good, we loved staying there. The only point of critique is that is was really small. We rented the smallest studio and it would have been nice to have a little more space. Apart from that it was great.
After a very tricky drive down the valley, a beautiful building is nestled in the trees. This place doesn’t look as rustic from the outside as it is on the inside. And after a couple of drives up or down it gets easier. The owner was really nice, I can’t place her name at the moment. Her and her boyfriend were very helpful in giving tips on where to have dinner and other stuff. They sent us to a beach restaurant for dinner the first evening we arrived. It was so beautiful we went there for the next 2 days. Swam, tanned and ate. It was paradise. My son found an amazing beach cove up the way with soft silky sand and again very quiet. We loved this part of the island. Not very touristy.
Aspros Potamos was quite charming. The rooms were large and comfortable. We had a little rain when there and did not feel confined in a small space when taking shelter in our apartment. Using lamplight for lighting in the evening was quite romantic. In the rooms we had everything we needed. The only negative comment that I had was that the housekeeping was not as thorough as I would expect (servicing the waste bins, washing sinks and toilets) and the bath and hand towels were raggedy. I accepted that as part of the experience, but think that small attention to detail could be an improvement.
Pleasanton, CA, USA
Our holiday was wonderful. We are more than satisfied! The room we occupied was very spacious and had everything we needed. We liked the place very much. It seemed to be a romantic cave away from the busy world. Before we went there we worried a bit that minimum civilization will cause us feel uncomfortable. Instead we got the best holiday – romantic candle and oil lamps lights in the evenings (no electricity), good mood (we forgot about our appearance because we had a very small mirror in the bathroom) and a better shape (we had to walk through the olive park 1 km to the beach and back every day!). Our hostess Myrto helped us to plan our sightseeing schedule and we are very much appreciated her for it and for her hospitality.