Airbnb near Chania

This Airbnb in the quiet village of Malaxa, a 30-minute drive into the hills above Chania, is a peaceful retreat with a delightful and thoughtful artist owner, with wonderful views and amenities.

It was the apple pie that did it. We were staying at Malaxiana, an Airbnb in Malaxa near Chania, which was self-catering. As we hadn't yet had time to self-cater, the owner, an artist named Demetris Vamvounakis, brought us two huge slices of the most delicious apple pie, flavoured with walnuts and cinnamon, and made by his wife. It meant that we could enjoy our breakfast coffee and have something to eat with it before venturing out to explore and buy some supplies.

To Malaxiana

We sat on our apartment's big patio, shaded by umbrellas, and looked down over olive groves towards the glinting waters of Souda Bay on the north coast of Crete. To the west was Chania, one of our favourite towns on the island, and all around there was plenty to discover, though it was a great temptation to just stay at Demetri's and chill out.

We did do that one morning, and Demetri, who's an artist, took us down below the house to show us his studio. It was a wonderful place, full of strikingly original and often whimsical art works: sculptures and paintings and mobiles, all evidence of an enquiring and playful imagination. He moved quickly around the rooms with great energy and enthusiasm, pointing out his various creations while telling us his life story too.

Demetri Showing Us His Creations

'I was born in Athens,' he said. 'My grandfather had an olive press here in the house I live in. He went to Athens in the late 19th century. They came back with a flour mill. They bought the first shipwrecks from the Greek government for recycling.'

Some of Demetri's Art Works

'I came back here from Athens. I was lucky to have the house and I renovated it in 2006. Not the rooms, only the gardens and this part below the house. I tried to do a tavern but I didn’t want that. I experimented in many ways to try to make an income. The most successful was inviting a group of people to dinner in my house, from 7pm to whenever, two courses, wine, lots of conversation and people liked that. But it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be a tavern man.'

Now he rents accommodation out on Airbnb and in winter also runs courses for children, as he's passionate about the environment.

'In winter I started to invite children to teach them about recycling. I take them to a car recycling place. If they’re lucky they get to smash a car! But it’s to teach them about recycling.'

'If people stay for a week they’ll find food in the fridge, coffee, tea, honey, oil, fruit, bread. If they spend 90 euros a day on the accommodation then they get back 30 in food! It’s not tourism,' he insisted, 'it’s visitors.'

He stays open all year. There’s a swimming pool too, and in winter when people don't want to use it he fills it with goldfish. Demetri is a quirky man, totally charming with a warm heart, and with the offbeat eccentricity of the artist.

The Swimming Pool in Autumn

But he is also business-like and the accommodation is very well-equipped. There was fresh coffee, filters, a coffee-maker, even a hair-dryer. As well as the basic foods to get you started, there was also orange juice and ouzo in the fridge. His wifi code is painted on the wall right inside the front door, and it's also the same as his phone number.

On a table beneath the stairs is a pile of books, brochures and local information, like walks and where to eat. There's nowhere to eat in Malaxa itself, which has a population of 70-80, but plenty of options in villages nearby, or of course you can self-cater and the accommodation is very well-equipped for that. One Russian couple stayed there for 15 days, Demetri told us - and we can see why.

The décor is rustic, with lots of wood, but brightened by the many colourful artistic touches. Downstairs is a comfy couch, a sitting and dining area, the kitchen and the bathroom with a shower. Upstairs is another sitting area (though we used it to unpack our suitcases) and beyond that a double bedroom. It's simple but is clean and has everything you could want. The only drawback for us was having to trek downstairs to use the bathroom, but given the delightful time we had there that was a minor thing.

Demetri was happy to share his life story with us, and all-in-all was an inspiring man. He seemed a little bemused by the way that life sometimes works out, and although there are bad times there are also good times to enjoy.

'When I came here,' he told us, 'I was married but after five years my wife left. Later, when I was 43, and sitting in the tavern, this lady said to me: "I want you." I said: "No, no!" She said "I want to marry you." I said "No. no, you are too young!" She was 23. But now we have been married 16 years and have two children. I was 60 yesterday!'

Our Pick of the Crete Guides

Lonely-Planet-Crete-2023.png

More Information

For more information and bookings see the Airbnb page
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1330591

We learned about this accommodation through our friend Isi, who runs Go Crete, which can organise all kinds of Cretan tours and experiences.

Road Sign Demetri-Style
Of Course There Are Cats - This Is Greece!

Other Crete pages

  • Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

    Crete

    Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

  • The Greece Travel Secrets guide to Zaros in Central Crete, including what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.

    Zaros

    The Greece Travel Secrets guide to Zaros in Central Crete, including what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

    Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in western Crete, including both luxury and inexpensive hotels in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

    Where to Stay in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in western Crete, including both luxury and inexpensive hotels in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including nearby beach resort hotels and accommodation in the city centre.

    Where to Stay in Irakleio

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including nearby beach resort hotels and accommodation in the city centre.

  • Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

    Where to Stay in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

    Where to Stay in Central Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

    Where to Eat in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

    Where to Eat in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

  • Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

    Western Crete in Five Days

    Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

  • Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

    Western Crete Beaches and Villages

    Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

  • This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

    West Coast of Crete Drive

    This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

  • Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

    Touring the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

  • Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

    The Icon Painter

    Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

    The Herb Man of Kouses

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

  • Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

    The Cretan Diet

    Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

  • The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

    Stilianou Winery near Knossos

    The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

  • The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

    The Snails House on Crete

    The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

  • Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.

    Sitia

    Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.

  • Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

    Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist at Knossos on Crete

    Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

  • These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

    Shopping Tips for Crete

    These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

  •  The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

    Samaria Gorge

    The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

  • This Rouvas Gorge walk starts and ends in Zaros in southern Crete and should take three to four hours with a distance of eight kilometres or five miles.

    Rouvas Gorge Walk

    This Rouvas Gorge walk starts and ends in Zaros in southern Crete and should take three to four hours with a distance of eight kilometres or five miles.

  •  Rethymnon is the third-largest city in Crete and has a Venetian fortress, Archaeological Museum, Old Town area and Venetian harbour,

    Rethymnon in Western Crete

    Rethymnon is the third-largest city in Crete and has a Venetian fortress, Archaeological Museum, Old Town area and Venetian harbour,

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Weather with heavy rain and storms in Greece as of Sunday night

    Heavy rain and storms are expected to sweep the country of Greece, starting in the west, and spreading to the central and eastern mainland, the Cyclades islands and Crete, and, lastly, the Eastern Aeg…

    Read More

  2. Flights to/from Greece to Operate Normally on Wednesday, February 28

    Flights to and from Greece will operate as scheduled on Wednesday, February 28, due to the cancellation of the strike announced by the country’s air traffic controllers union. The strike, announced on…

    Read More

  3. Athens Welcomes Carnival Season with Dozens of Free Events

    The municipality of Athens welcomes Carnival season with 80 events at 55 locations across the city and invites residents and visitors to join the fun. On Tsiknopempti, March 7, a large parade will hea…

    Read More

  4. February 28 Strike in Greece to Affect Public Transport, Ferry & Air Travel

    Public transportation in Athens as well as ferry and air travel in Greece will be disrupted on Wednesday, February 28, due to a 24-hour strike called by the Greek Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY…

    Read More

  5. AEGEAN: Travelers Can Change February 28 Tickets Due to Potential Strike

    In view of a potential strike of air traffic controllers on Wednesday, February 28, Greek airline company AEGEAN issued an announcement for passengers scheduled to travel on AEGEAN and Olympic Air fli…

    Read More

  6. Netflix Series ‘One Day’ Shows Paros Island to the World

    The Greek island of Paros is gaining worldwide exposure as the backdrop of the popular “One Day” series currently streaming on Netflix. Filming took place on the island in September 2022 at Santa Mari…

    Read More

  7. General Strike in Greece May Ground All Flights on February 28

    Flights to and from Greece are expected to be canceled on Wednesday, February 28, after the country’s air traffic controllers union announced that they would be participating in a 24-hour general work…

    Read More

  8. TripAdvisor: Greek Beaches on Best Lists of World, Europe for 2024

    Four beaches in Greece are among the “Best of the Best” Beaches of the World and Europe, according to TripAdvisor‘s Travelers’ Choice Awards, while two are also included on the list of Best Sustainabl…

    Read More

  9. BoG: 32.7 Million Travelers Chose Greece in 2023

    A total of 32.7 million travelers from across the globe chose to visit Greece in 2023, up 17.6 percent from 27.8 million in 2022, according to data released Wednesday by the Bank of Greece (BoG).

    Read More

  10. Christian Community Living in Primitive Conditions Discovered in Greece

    Police recently arrested the father of a family living an “early Christian” community lifestyle in a basic hut on the Peloponnese in a case dubbed the “Amish” of Greece. The extended family was living…

    Read More