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/

You might like these other Crete pages...

  • 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

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

  • Crete Olive Oil Tour

    For a Crete olive oil tour Greece Travel Secrets visits Biolea, one of the few olive oil factories on Crete that you can visit.

  • Crete Festivals and Events

    Crete festivals and events include Carnival Easter, Whitsun, Christmas, many other religious feast days and public holidays.

  • Cretan Writers and Artists

    The most famous Cretan writers and artists include the painter El Greco and the author of Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis.

  • Best Things to Do on Crete

    The best things to do on Crete and top things to see include the Samaria Gorge, the Minoan Palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the towns of Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Best Crete Hotels

    The best Crete hotels include 5-star luxury hotels, historic and romantic Venetian palaces, and several hotels in Hania and Iraklion.

  • Best Beaches on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets chooses ten of the best beaches on Crete including the beautiful beaches at Vai and Elafonisi.

  • Battle of Crete

    The Battle of Crete during World War 2 inspired several books and took place with an airborne invasion over Maleme on the north coast of the island.

  • Arkadi Monastery

    Visiting the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymnon is one of the best things to do on Crete.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Goules Taverna Crete

    The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

  • Eco-Tourism Accommodation on Crete

    The Dalabelos Estate offers luxury eco-tourism accommodation on Crete in the hills near Rethymnon with its own farm, vineyard and olive groves.

  • Margarites

    Margarites is known on Crete for its pottery, with ceramics shops and workshops lining the streets of this charming small town not far from Rethymnon.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 on Crete

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Greek Recovery Funds to Go into Acropolis Upgrade Works

    Twelve projects including upgrade works on the Acropolis have been cleared for funding out of “Greece 2.0” – the country’s recovery plan approved earlier this month. Alternate Finance Minister Theodor…

    Read More

  2. US Keeps Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Due to Delta Variant

    The United States will keep all existing Covid-19 travel restrictions in place due to concerns over the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announce…

    Read More

  3. 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.

    Read More

  4. Cyprus Obliges Travelers from Greece to Undergo Testing Before Arrival

    Greece has been placed on the Covid-19 orange list of Cyprus’ colour-coded country categorization travel system, based on a new epidemiological risk assessment of countries. The new changes come into…

    Read More

  5. Greece’s Indoor Restaurants, Venues Only for the Vaccinated

    Starting Friday, July 16, indoor venues such as restaurants, bars, and theaters will only be accepting vaccinated and seated-only customers until August 31, Development and Investments Minister Adonis…

    Read More

  6. AEGEAN Begins Operation of Seasonal Base on Mykonos

    Greek carrier AEGEAN has started the operation of its seasonal base on Mykonos, aiming to enhance its flagship quality services and improve the connection of the popular Cycladic island with major int…

    Read More

  7. UK Revises Advisory for Greece, Paves Way for Travel

    The UK’s FCDO revised its travel advisory for Greece after announcing on Thursday that as of July 19 travelers from amber-listed countries would not be required to self-isolate upon return.

    Read More

  8. Greece to Launch ‘Covid Pass’ App that Checks Customer ‘Safe’ Status

    Greece said this week that starting July 15, restaurant and F&B business owners would be able to download an application that will check whether the health/vaccination status information provided by c…

    Read More

  9. Authorities Recommend Self-test for Land Travel in Greece

    Travel by road domestically in Greece will not require a negative rapid test but the presentation of a negative self-test is highly recommended, said Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias d…

    Read More

  10. Covid-19: Greece Extends Rules for Domestic Flights to the Islands

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) has extended the travel rules for passengers of domestic flights traveling from the mainland to the islands, until 6am, on Thursday, July 15.

    Read More