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.

Where is Margarites?

Margarites is about 26 km (16 miles) east of Rethymnon, about a 35-minute drive. It's about 7 km (4 miles) from the Dalabelos Estate, where we stayed the night before visiting Margarites. It stands about 300 meters (984 ft) above sea level.

A map showing the location of Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Visiting Margarites

We were encouraged to visit Margarites by Vasilis, owner of the Dalabelos Eco-Tourism Estate, where we'd spent the second night of our most recent visit to Crete. We already knew about Margarites, though, as we'd paid a quick visit on an earlier visit to Crete when we spent six weeks there researching a guidebook. We definitely wanted to go back for longer.

Ceramic bowl for sale in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Our guide Isi from drove us the few minutes from Dalabelos to Margarites, parking below the village. Margarites has one narrow main street and a few back streets, and as we walked up the main street we were reminded what a colourful place Margarites is. Every few meters there's a pottery workshop or a ceramics studio, with bright displays both inside and outside.

Ceramic vases for sale in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Local Guide

The advantage of having a local guide like Isi is that he knows everyone and directed us to what he thought was the best place in town. This was the Kerameion pottery shop where Isi introduced us to owner and potter, Jorgos Dalamvelas. Jorgos was happy to show us some of his skills and we won't need to repeat it all here as we captured most of it for our YouTube channel.

The Ceramic Capital

By going to see Jorgos first, we learned a lot about Margarites and its rich history of pottery-making, which goes back to Minoan times. Most potters use the local clay, which is perfect for ceramics and is one reason the pottery trade developed here.

Ceramics for sale in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

We went to visit several other places, where potters were at work and giving demonstrations, but Jorgos remained our favourite. He was so passionate about pottery, and its role in the history of Margarites. Some shops had no potter or potter's wheel, and it was clear they were buying in pottery, probably from China. Yes, that 'Souvenir of Crete' that you find may well have been imported from China! But when you can see the potter making beautiful items before your eyes, you know you're buying the real thing and helping support the local economy.

Ceramics for sale in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

In fact Isi told us one time that some of the big resorts buy their 'Greek' moussaka in large frozen and pre-cooked consignments from China too!

A potter's toolkit in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Novelty Ceramics

Jorgos showed us some novelty pottery, including jugs that played tricks and other fun things:

One thing he showed us was a salt cellar that he made, with several holes in the bottom, though no salt came out until you shook it side to side. I still don't know how it worked, as the salt should have simply poured through the holes, but it didn't until you shook it.

Close-up detail of a piece of ceramic art made in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Donna was keen to buy one but we talked about it and decided against it, as this was only the second day of what would be a three-week trip, and we didn't want to load up with souvenirs - even if it was neat. We wandered along the street, and before we knew it Isi presented Donna with a gift. He had somehow sneaked back to the shop and bought one of the salt cellars for her. It was a typical act of Greek generosity and kindness... and we were to experience many more on our travels round Crete with Isi.

Street scene in Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Crete Tours

Our tour with was a food and drink themed tour, which we'd asked Isi to organise, and he did it superbly. But he organises tours on other themes, like history, or covering particular parts of the island, and from a few hours to as long as you like.

Limes hanging from a tree branch in the streets of Crete's pottery capital, Margarites.

Try these other Crete pages

  • 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.

  • 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.

Latest Posts

  1. Attica Stays in Strict Lockdown for Another Week

    Strict lockdown measures will continue in Athens and the surrounding Attica region for one more week, following the recommendations of Greece’s committee of health experts, Civil Protection Deputy Min…

    Read More

  2. Greece Updates Covid-19 Aviation Directive for Domestic Air Travel

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) on Sunday issued an aviation directive (NOTAM) that extends travel restrictions for domestic flights (travel between prefectures) in Greece until 6am on Ma…

    Read More

  3. The Telegraph Highlights 15 ‘Perfect’ Greek Islands for post-Covid Travel

    UK daily newspaper The Telegraph recently highlighted 15 Greek islands as the “perfect” destinations for post-Covid-19 travel. Titled “Which is the perfect Greek island? Here are 15 of our favorites…

    Read More

  4. Surge in Covid-19 Cases May Force Greece to Remain in Lockdown

    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called off plans to ease Covid-19 lockdown measures early next month after the health authorities announced a surge in cases on Tuesday. “The sharp increase in…

    Read More

  5. Coronavirus Puts Athens’ Hospitality Market on Hold

    The ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the travel restrictions imposed worldwide and low demand have put Athens’ hospitality market on hold. “There are no bookings [for Athens] at the moment. No…

    Read More

  6. Covid-19: Arcadia in Strict Lockdown, Nafplio Goes ‘Red’

    Greek authorities have tightened lockdown restrictions in the regional unit of Arcadia in the central Peloponnese in an effort to stop the further spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). The General Sec…

    Read More

  7. Tourism Minister Invites Digital Nomads to Work from Greece

    Greece stands to gain approximately 1.6 billion euros in a year if it manages to attract digital nomads to the country with its new technologies and lax tax policy, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry T…

    Read More

  8. PM: Greece Prepares to Welcome Tourists Safely for Summer

    “We want people to be able to travel in safety,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during the Nueva Economia Forum organized by Spain, referring to the importance of promptly reaching an a…

    Read More

  9. Covid-19: Greece Considers Re-opening Some Activities in March

    Greek authorities are looking into ways to allow certain activities next month, including retail and schools, but not (non-essential) domestic travel after the chairman of the Greek Medical Associatio…

    Read More

  10. Elefsina’s Old Oil Mill to Become an Archaeological Museum

    Elefsina, located in Attica near Athens, will get a new archaeological museum, to be created on the premises of the city’s old Oil Mill. A landmark site of the area, the old oil mill every summer turn…

    Read More