Metohi Kindelis is a beautiful, 400-year-old farmhouse just outside the Cretan town of Chania that has been converted into stylish self-catering holiday accommodation. The production of olive oil used to be the focus of the estate, but instead of olive trees they now (organically) grow a whole range of fruits: strawberries, avocados, oranges, kumquats, peaches, figs, lychees, plums, blackberries, mangoes and lots, lots more. Three gorgeous guesthouses come with their own private garden and swimming pool. Done with the greatest respect for the historic character of the manor, without however being too traditional, they are spacious and offer a level of comfort that equals that of the best hotels. Two are essentially one large space (with a double bed in a cosy niche) and have a tastefully bare look. The third has a warm, country-style feeling and features a small extra room with bunk beds. There’s no staff dashing around the premises but the owners are there. While Manolis takes care of the farm, his niece Danai looks after the guests. They are helpful and kind, but their presence is discreet, so you can fully enjoy the privacy of your guesthouse and garden (with the luxury of daily maid service). There is no restaurant, but you have your own kitchen and should you want something fruity, you are welcome to collect strawberries from the field or pick fruit straight from the trees. How much more perfect can it get?
The charm of the farmhouse, the green philosophy, the stylish décor, the private gardens and pools, and the unlimited strawberries and other fruits in the summer, the friendly owners.
Due to the proximity to the road there is a slight hum in the background, but fortunately the birds sing a lot louder.
Danae and Kyriakos: two ground-floor apartments for up to two adults and two children with a living room, a fully equipped kitchen and a swimming pool (the layout of these two ground-floor apartments is open-plan)
Kynthia: an apartment (on the first floor) for up to four persons with one bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, a swimming pool (this apartment has a double bed in the open-plan living room and a small bedroom with bunk beds for two children)
En-suite bathroom (shower)
Fax on request
Television on request
CD player with large music selection
Ceiling fans (Kynthia and Danae only)
Each guesthouse has its own garden with swimming pool.
Gardens with fruit trees and strawberries (which guests are welcome to pick!)
On request: well-being treatments and activities such as bread and cheese-making.
Manolis brings fresh produce to the villas with which you can make your own breakfast. Each house has an equipped kitchen, so if you feel like it, you can prepare other meals as well. There are a few places to eat in the village of Perivolia, at just a 15-minute walk, and many more in the Venetian harbour of Chania, a few kilometres away. I tend to avoid the waterfront restaurants in the main harbour are all too touristy for my taste, but there are some cute places in the back streets, and I also had a good meal near the old Venetian shipyards (the Great Arsenals) where the tavernas have more of a local feel.
The rural setting, the gardens, the spacious accommodation and the swimming pools make Metohi Kindelis a heaven for family holidays. Danae is great if you come with very young children because of the easy walk-in walk-out situation (but keep an eye on your toddlers so they don’t go near the pool unsupervised). With slightly older kids you may prefer to stay in Kynthia which has a separate bedroom with bunk beds. Cots are available and babysitting can be arranged.
There are lots of things to do with children. The lively historical town of Chania is fun to explore with kids, and of course there are plenty of beaches to take them to. Make day excursions to the beaches of Elafonisi and Balos which among the most beautiful in Greece. Also keep a day to go to the mountains or, if your children are old enough for the at least six-hour hike, do the traverse of the Samarias Gorge (with a guide!).
If you can pull yourself away from your private pool, the beaches of Glaros, Kalamaki, Iguana, Agii Apostoli and Chrissi Akti are within easy reach. Some of the most stunning beaches in Greece are wonderful day-trip destinations. Elafonissi on the SE coast, perhaps THE most beautiful beach in Greece, is a 1,5 hour drive away. (And if you continue a more km, the beaches of Kedrodasos and Agios Ioannis have fewer people, and clothing is optional). NW of Kissamos, Balos is stunning too, and the drive to get there is shorter and easier. Another fantastic beach is closer (a bit beyond the airport): Seitan Limania. It’s a small beach that can get crowded in July and August, so it’s best to go early morning. The ‘path’ (if you can call it that) to get to it is rather tricky, and steep, so wear good shoes and don’t go with young children (or elderly). Children will enjoy swimming (with turtles and absolutely harmless water snakes) in Lake Kournas where you can also rent a water pedalos.
The Old Town
Pop over to the old town and Venetian port of Chania. Visit the Maritime Museum of Crete, the Archaeological Museum of Chania Start and the Hassan Pascha Mosque used these days for art exhibition and craft fairs. Go for strolls in the pedestrian lanes and shop for fashion, shoes, beach accessories, handmade jewelry, arts and crafts.
Sailing and boat trips
Go for a one-day sailing trip or mini cruise starting from the old harbour of Chania. It’s a great way to find beautiful quiet spots for swimming and snorkelling. You can also sign up for sailing lessons.
Horseback riding (and more)
Go to the Deres Horse Riding Cente (a half-hour drive from Metohi Kindelis) to ride happy, healthy ponies and horses. Not everybody wants to go riding? There’s a beautiful half-hour hiking trail; you can do archery, and you can also sign up for cooking classes.
Ask for private yoga classes and stress release sessions, and be spoiled with a massage in the garden with local natural oils. Or sign up for a three-day detox plan with a diet of organic fruits and vegetables, daily yoga classes and healing massages.
Take part in a half-day workshop in traditional cheese making or bread making (the latter with olive oil and wine tasting). Or sign up for a three-day workshop on Cretan gastronomic history and tradition and learn how to make cheese, pasta and also soap.
Walk around in the subtropical gardens of Metohi Kindelis and pick fresh fruits from the trees. For more flora and fauna, head for the village of Fournes in foothills of the White Mountains (a nice drive of less than half an hour) and visit the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete. It is not easy to imagine there used to be olive groves here; in 2004 these were destroyed by wildfires. A local family had the brilliant idea create botanical gardens with variety of indigenous fruit trees, herbs, flowers and tropical plants. Enjoy the 2 km trail, and have a bite in the restaurant serving traditional dishes prepared with local, organically grown produce.
Metohi Kindelis is situated in the outskirts of the town of Chania, about 3 km from the historical centre and the old Venetian harbour. Beaches are 4 km away. It is close to the main road, so the spot is great if you want an easy starting point for trips and excursions, while having a little paradise to return to after your outings.
You can take a ferry to Chania, and there also is an (international) airport close to the town of Chania. (You can also fly to Herakion, which is a two-hour drive from Chania).
If you arrive at the port or the airport of Chania, you will be met there; otherwise you will be met in Chania and accompanied to the farm. Danai will give you a map and directions, so that next time you will manage to find your way to the farm by yourself as well.FIND IT ON THE MAP