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.

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 Dalabelos Estate.

'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 views. 

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.

Dalabelos Activities

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 too.

Dalabelos Dining

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.

Our Pick of the Crete Guides

Lonely-Planet-Crete-2023.png

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 the pot.'

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 Dalabelos

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.

More Information
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

  • 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.

  • Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

    Keramos Studios in Zaros

    Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.

  • 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.

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

    Best Crete Hotels

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

  • 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 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.

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 Fried Bread: Tiganopsomo from Evia

    Enjoy this simple, savory fried bread for breakfast or with a cold beer. Ready in just over an hour and perfect for any occasion!

    Read More

  2. 8 Must-Visit Museums in the Cyclades

    Embark on a journey to the sun-kissed Cycladic isles and explore ancient treasures, traditional crafts, and contemporary art at 8 must-visit museums.

    Read More

  3. “I Think It’s Time We Listened”: The Music of 20th-Century Greece

    An exhibition at the Benaki Museum’s Ghika Gallery introduces the cultural world of 20th-century Greece through its composers.

    Read More

  4. Hidden City: Discover Athens’s Arcades

    Embark on a guided tour of Athens' hidden arcades, a unique journey through time, nostalgia, and vibrant local culture away from the usual tourist trails.

    Read More

  5. Greece’s First Helicopter Airline Connects Athens to 10 Islands

    Those looking to travel to the Greek islands fast and safe can now reach their dream destinations in less than an hour, thanks to a new helicopter airline company that recently launched in Greece. Hop…

    Read More

  6. Greece Faces Intense Heatwave with Temperatures Set to Reach 42°C

    Greek authorities have issued a high alert warning for an imminent heatwave, expected to begin on Tuesday, June 11, with temperatures forecasted to rise up to 42 degrees Celsius in the coming days.

    Read More

  7. Ten Highest Mountains in Greece

    bigstock-Olympus-Mountain-42500611.jpg
    Greece may be better known for its beautiful islands but it is also a country of dramatic mountain landscapes, and here are the ten highest mountains in Greece.

    Read More

  8. Thessaloniki Welcomes 17 New Electric Buses to Fleet

    Better services, accessibility, environmentally friendly, and sustainable are the main benefits of 17 new electric buses added to Thessaloniki’s fleet, said Infrastructure and Transport Minister Chris…

    Read More

  9. Athens Epidaurus Festival Unveils 93 Spectacular Summer Events

    The Athens Epidaurus Festival returns this year with 93 productions over 85 days, featuring approximately 2,500 performers and creators from around the world. Since its inception in 1955, the festival…

    Read More

  10. Athens’ Technopolis to Stage More Than 50 Concerts this Summer

    Technopolis, the most renowned cultural hub in Athens, recently announced its summer program of events, featuring famous Greek and foreign artists taking the stage from May to September.

    Read More