- Eco-Tourism Accommodation on Crete
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
On our recent tour around Crete our guide Isi from www.GoCrete.net
found us some great eco-tourism accommodation. We spent our second night at the
Dalabelos Estate in the hills between Rethymnon and Heraklion, where Vasilis
was not only a great host he also gave us some good Cretan music too!
While we were checking in Vasilis told us a little about the
'We have our own farm so most of the food is fresh from the
farm and from our gardens. We also bake our own bread. There are plenty of good
bakeries in the area but our bread tastes better!'
Vasilis walked us down to our apartment. Dalabelos has ten stone-built
1-bedroom apartments, with an 11th one fitted out for people with physical
disabilities. They're arranged around a hillside so that they all have sea
All the apartments are individually decorated, and ours had
a butterfly theme. We fell in love with it at once, as butterflies were
everywhere, the apartment filled with creative artworks. That wasn't surprising
as Dalabelos is only a 10-minute drive from the village of Margarites, famed
for its ceramics, galleries and artists. Vasilis persuaded us to visit it the
next day on our way out, and we loved it. Read our Margarites page to find out why.
Unfortunately we weren't at Dalabelos long enough to sample
the activities they have on offer, but we'd love to go back for a longer stay.
If you're there at the right time of year you can help with the olive picking
and the grape harvest. Every Friday morning you can help get the wood oven
ready and participate in the bread-making.
Each Tuesday morning at Dalabelos there's a cookery lesson,
which includes an hour spent in the gardens gathering vegetables and herbs.
They also have their own ceramic workshop where there are regular pottery
sessions. There are mountain bikes to hire, and sessions of traditional music
We were relaxing on the terrace next to the restaurant with
a drink before dinner and amazing smells started to come from the kitchen, and
from the plates being taken out to the tables. We could tell this was going to
be Greek cooking at its best, using fresh ingredients, and plenty of
freshly-picked herbs. You needn't worry about Food Miles at a place like
Dalabelos, as it's more a case of Food Metres: from the garden to the plate.
Vasilis was keen to show off his kitchen's skills and
offered to serve us a kind of meal-long meze, with tasters of different dishes.
We started with stuffed vine leaves with zucchini flowers. Dolmades can
sometimes be a bit oily if you have them in a regular taverna, but these were
fresh and light. Starter plates of fava and feta followed. The sign of a good
kitchen is where they do the ordinary things well, and the feta was drizzled
with their own olive oil and sprinkled with those fresh herbs, a tasty treat.
Then came the serious stuff. Lamb in tomato sauce, snail
stew, eggplant imam, zucchini pie. It was hard to keep up as the tasting
samples came thick and fast. How does rabbit with rosemary and wine sound? It
smelled and tasted divine. Marinated anchovies came with a dish of livers fried
with thyme and balsamic vinegar. Neither of us has ever been a big fan of liver
but we could be converted when it's as tender and as succulent as this.
We thought we were full but then Vasilis brought out a dish
we just had to find room for.
'This is sfougato,' he said. We admitted it was a dish we'd
never had before. 'You'll love it,' he said. 'This is my grandmother's recipe.
It's zucchini with potatoes and eggs and tomato sauce, all cooked together in
It tasted like... well, as only a grandmother's recipe can
taste. It was a kind of baked omelette, with thyme and oregano in there, and we
wanted to eat every last little mouthful.
Cretan Music at
That may have been the end of the food but it wasn't the end
of the evening. There are regular music nights at Dalabelos, and even when
outside musicians aren't brought in, Vasilis himself might entertain guests later
on. He sings and plays several Cretan musical instruments, which he introduces
one by one, explaining what they are and how they fit into Cretan music.
We video'd the performance, even though the light wasn't great, and put it on our YouTube channel:
As we're both big music lovers, and love Crete, of course, we
found it fascinating. It was a delightful surprise and a terrific ending to the
evening... the first of several music surprises we had on our trip around
Crete. Music, like good food, is in the very heart and soul of the people,
which is why we never tire of visiting the island.
Check Room Rates at the Diabelos Estate
Since our visit the hotel has changed and you can find more information here. It looks just as good!
To arrange a personalised tour in Crete, for a few hours or
a few days, see the website of Go Crete.
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.
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete has four ENUESCO sites, which are Sitia, Psiloritis, Asterousia, and the Gorge of Samaria.
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.
Ancient Gournia is a Minoan archaeological site between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia in Eastern Crete where the visitor can see evidence of a maze of back streets.
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.
Crete festivals and events include Carnival Easter, Whitsun, Christmas, many other religious feast days and public holidays.
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’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.
How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.
Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.
Greece Travel Secrets visits Visual Arts Crete who offer accommodation and run art courses at their home and studio in the village of Kastellos near Rethymnon.
Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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