Keramos Studios in
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
We’d visited Zaros in Crete several years earlier while researching a guidebook. We didn’t have time to stay there while we did our Rouvas Gorge Walk, but we had time to look around the small village (population about 3,000) and found it a really interesting and charming place. We were determined to return, and eventually got the chance, but this time to stay overnight.
Map (c) Google Maps
Where is Zaros?
Zaros could hardly be more central on Crete. Just look at Google’s map. It’s about an hour’s drive south-west of Herakleion, just under two hours’ drive south-east from Rethymnon, and about half an hour from Matala and Phaistos on the south coast. If you have a car, Zaros would make a great place to be based.
Keramos Studios in Zaros
Keramos Studios was easy to find, in the centre of the small village, and there was plenty of parking nearby. Though they call themselves ‘studios’, it’s a combination of guesthouse and 2-star hotel. If you think two stars doesn’t seem much, don’t worry.
While the accommodation is simple, it’s super-clean, has everything you need, the family which runs it are incredibly friendly and helpful, and the room rates are remarkably cheap. We thought it was excellent value for money and would go back like a shot.
The Key to Our Room
Our Room at Keramos Studios
Our room was on one of the upper floors, and there’s a very old-fashioned elevator, which we loved. Our room key was a very old-looking and enormous metal key – yes, a real key! We had a large and comfy double bed, kitchenette (which we didn’t need), an en suite bathroom, a big wooden wardrobe, and a lovely traditional feel to it. We also had a balcony where we could sit and gaze out at the mountains.
View from our Balcony at Keramos Studios
Dining at Vegera
Keramos only serves breakfast so we had dinner at the Vegera
Restaurant, a one-minute walk away and an inspired choice. See our
separate review here: Dining at Vegera.
Part of our Feast at the Vegera Restaurant
Breakfast at Keramos Studios
By the time breakfast came round, we couldn’t believe it after the feast at Vergera but we were actually hungry again. It was just as well as we’ve never been served such a breakfast spread. It didn’t surprise us when we discovered that the woman who makes the breakfasts fresh every morning is Katerina, the aunt of Vee-Vee who runs Vergera. Cooking and generosity obviously run in the family.
Plenty of Choice of Pies!
Katerina’s baking is her speciality and she starts very early in the morning in the Keramos kitchen. As well as making bread, she makes about twenty different pies, and between us we managed to sample fifteen of them (I counted)! The waiter just kept on bringing them. He more we praised them, the more he brought.
They included banana pies, several different types of cheese
pie, zucchini and mint pies, marmalade pies, raisin pies, milk pies, spinach
pies, pumpkin pies with honey and nuts in them, two kinds of chocolate pie, one
baked and one fried - eat them with honey, the waiter told us. Chocolate with
honey? Yes, it was brilliant.
Katerina Brings Out the Fresh Breakfast Bread
And as if this wasn't enough, we were also told to tuck into the buffet of cold meats, cheese, tomatoes, yoghourt, and honey. We admit we did take a small plate, just to keep him happy. Finally, when we assumed we'd finished, he bought us each an omelette. A chip omelette.
Greece Travel Secrets with Katerina
The Family Farm
Katerina’s son, Mikalis, runs the family farm, called the Kamihis Farm. At Keramos Studios you can book a farm tour, so of course we did one before leaving Zaros. There are three types of tour available, and we did the basic tour as that’s all the time we had.
You can also add a cheese- and bread-making class, or go for the luxury option which adds an outing to gather wild herbs and going back to the farm and making pies with them. You might also join in wine-making, raki-making, or making olive oil, depending on the season.
Mikalis and his Daughters
Our farm tour was wonderful. We were accompanied by Mikalis’s two young daughters, who helped introduce us to all the animals. The chickens had chicks that were a few days old, and one of the goats had a tiny kid with it, which Mikalis picked up and brought over to us. There was a horse, too, and rabbits, pigs with little ones suckling, and donkeys.
Bread Fresh from the Oven
Afterwards we went back to the farmhouse where Katerina was baking bread, then started frying chips and eggs, cutting cheese, and we were treated to a lovely lunch with everything from the farm: tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peaches, bread, cheese, and of course eggs and chips. Oh, and a little raki. It was delicious and delightful. We highly recommend it, and the Keramos Studios in Zaros. It’s more than just somewhere to stay, it’s a very Greek family experience.
Part of our Spread on our Kamihis Farm Visit
Other Crete pages
Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.
This Amari Valley drive in southern Crete starts and ends in Ayia Galini, takes four to five hours and cover 100 kilometres or 62 miles.
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 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.
We visit and tour the Manousakis Winery on Crete with a wine-tasting and a chance to buy their tsikoudia, sea salt, olive oil and other goodies.
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.
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.
Greece Travel Secrets goes hiking in southwest Crete with Ramblers Walking Holidays based in Paleohora and hiking the E4 footpath and to Anidri and Azogires.
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.
The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.
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.
Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.
Ancient Gortina is an archaeological site in southern Crete famous for the church of Ayios Titos and for the Law Code inscribed here, the first in Europe.
Crete festivals and events include Carnival Easter, Whitsun, Christmas, many other religious feast days and public holidays.
The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.
For a Crete olive oil tour Greece Travel Secrets visits Biolea, one of the few olive oil factories on Crete that you can visit.
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 largest of the Greek islands, Crete has four ENUESCO sites, which are Sitia, Psiloritis, Asterousia, and the Gorge of Samaria.
The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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