Art Courses on Crete

Greece Travel Secrets visits Visual Arts Crete who offer accommodation and run art courses on Crete at their home and studio in the village of Kastellos near Rethymnon.

Our guide Isidoros from www.GoCrete.net was waiting for us at Chania airport as promised. 'I think you will like where you're staying tonight,' he said as he drove us the hour or so east to the village of Kastello. 'They are a lovely English couple who teach art courses and also have nice accommodation.'

We drove in the dark into the hills south of Rethymnon, and it was midnight by the time we got there. Tim and Janice were waiting for us in the village taverna, The Castello Taverna, along with the amazing host, Vassilis Zoulakis. With his Ukrainian wife Katerina in the kitchen, Vassilis brought out a never-ending series of plates (and wine and raki) for us, eventually joining us at the table for conversation and jokes.

Vassilis Zoulakis

It was our first night back on Crete after a few years' absence, and it couldn't have been a better introduction. It didn't surprise us to learn later that the Castello has rave reviews on TripAdvisor, and has even been called 'The best taverna in Crete' by one enthusiastic diner. That's a big claim as we had so many great meals on Crete, but it was certainly one of the highlights of our 3-week trip there. 

Most of the food is sourced from the family's own farm, and by Vassilis foraging for mushrooms, wild greens, herbs and other goodies. When he's not doing that he's making his own wine and raki. We definitely have to go back one day and join one of his Foraging Walking Tours!

Welcome to the Rabbit House

Eventually we had to drag ourselves away and find our rooms for the night. 'You're staying in The Rabbit House.' Tim told us. We admit we were a bit dubious about what we might have let ourselves in for, but we needn't have worried. It was wonderful (and you can find it on Airbnb).

The rabbits had been kicked out and the old stone building now made for lovely self-catering accommodation. Wooden stairs led up to the bedroom, while downstairs was a kitchen area, a lounging area with a sofa, an old stove, a travel trunk and other artsy decorations. If you didn't know it you'd soon guess that the owners were artists, as their paintings, mosaics, sculptures, carvings and other creations are everywhere.

Life is Just a Bowl of Fresh Cherries in Kastellos

Next morning in the daylight we found another delightful feature that makes this such a great place to stay. Right outside the door is a stone patio courtyard with a table and chairs, all shaded by trees and totally private. Tim and Janice brought us coffee and breakfast and we were at last able to relax under the Cretan sun after the previous day's early start and late night. 

Art Courses on Crete

Later Tim and Janice gave us a tour of their art studio, and their fascinating home, and told us about the art courses they run there. You can book accommodation with them without having to do one of their courses, or you can do a course and, if they're full, they'll help you find accommodation locally. 

Janice in the Art Studio

Janice studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and Tim at the Camberwell School of Art. As well as being practising artists, they've also taught in Australia, Egypt, Spain and the UK.

Several years ago they came across what was then a run-down farmhouse with a Venetian tower in the quiet hill village of Kastello, and fell in love with the property and the place. Since then they've been renovating it.

Kastello is still a quiet farming village, and our guide Isidoros rounded off our visit there with a walking tour. He pointed out the Aghia Paraskevi monastery, which was first built way back in 1200, although for the last 300 years only the church has remained. 

A Student Working at Aghia Paraskevi

We were sad to be leaving after our whirlwind visit, although we cheered up when Isidoros told us: 'Before we go, I think we should have lunch at the Castello!'

We'd stayed in the unique Rabbit House and dined in one of the best restaurants on Crete, and we'd been on the island for less than 24 hours.

Tim at Work in the Art Studio

Our tour of Crete was arranged through www.GoCrete.net and we can't recommend them highly enough.

For details of art courses in Crete see Tim and Janice's website:
Visual Arts Crete

For more information on Foraging and the Castello Taverna see:
https://www.castellotaverna.com/

Other Crete pages

  • Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.

    Chania, in Western Crete

    Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.

  • 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.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Crete Botanical Gardens near Chania and finds a wonderland of colourful plants, trees, and flowers filling a lovely valley.

    Crete Botanical Gardens

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Crete Botanical Gardens near Chania and finds a wonderland of colourful plants, trees, and flowers filling a lovely valley.

  • Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

    Irakleio

    Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

  • Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

    Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

  • Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

    Driving on Crete

    Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

  • 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.

  • How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

    Eastern Crete in Five Days

    How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

  • Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

    Malia and its Minoan Palace on Crete

    Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

  • Greece Travel Secrets page on  Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

    Phaistos Minoan Palace on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

  • 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.

  • Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

    Knossos

    Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

  • What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

    Life as a Minoan

    What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

  • Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

    Greek or Cretan?

    Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

  • Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

    Central Crete in Three Days

    Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

  • Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

    Matala Beach

    Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

  • Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

    Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

  • Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

    Elounda and Spinalonga, setting for The Island by Victoria Hislop

    Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

  • Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

    Cretan Music

    Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

  • 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.

  • Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

    Crete’s Wildlife and Landscape

    Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

  • 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 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.

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