Offering a mix of beautiful beaches, plenty of outdoor activities, delicious Greek cuisine, and historical experiences, including the world famous archaeological sites and centuries-old settlements, the coastal town of Porto Heli and the country’s largest island of Crete tick all the boxes for a long-term getaway.Discover an array of our personally-tested and recommended experiences, courtesy of our concierge services and our network of trusted local experts, as well as a collection of spacious seafront hideaways.
CRETE The iconic Greek island of Crete is the country’s most southern island (apart from the tiny island of Gavdos), and with its mild winters and hot summers, it is perfect for getaways all year round. With a diverse landscape and coastline, Crete offers a large variety of activities for visitors, from relaxing on its beautiful beaches, to discovering authentic, traditional hill villages, untouched by mass tourism, and also visiting ancient archaeological sites. Many also go there to enjoy hiking in the hills, mountains and gorges, including hiking the 16 km Samaria Gorge on the west side of the island, one of the longest and most impressive canyons in Europe.
Crete is also the centre of Europe’s most ancient civilization, the Minoans. The Palace of Knossos, once the centre of ancient Minoan civilisation and also the largest of all Minoan palatial structures, is located just a few kilometres south of the island’s capital, Heraklion. On the other side of the island, around an hour’s drive away, there is also is the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, the second most important Minoan site, after Knossos. Heraklion itself is home to an archaeological museum, with a wonderful collection of Minoan art, as well as a Venetian fortress, dating back to the early 19th Century, at its old port. The town also has a beautiful waterfront area with seaside restaurants.
Many of our villas are situated further north on the east coast closer to Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Although surrounded by some of Crete’s most luxurious resorts, Elounda village retains a charming down to earth vibe with shops, bars and tavernas spread along the waterfront promenade. From here, visitors can take a boat trip to the island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony and the area’s biggest tourist attraction, with its ancient ruins, beaches and hiking trails.Just 10 – 15 minute’s drive north of Elounda is the larger town of Agios Nikolaos, with its port, and pretty tree-lined streets and churches. The town also exudes a laid back atmosphere where visitors can enjoy the nearby beaches, and dining at waterfront restaurants. One of the landmarks here is Lake Voulismeni, located right in the heart of the town and surrounded by several bars and restaurants. The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos features objects from the Minoan era.
Villa Palaiokastro6 Guests | 3 BedroomsFrom its position in a private cliff-top location, this beautiful, new, eco-friendly villa near Heraklion benefits from stunning sea views. The nearest beaches are approximately 10 minutes’ drive away. Within the beautiful garden, there is also an infinity swimming pool overlooking the sea, which can be heated on request, and offers the luxury of hydro massage and foot air massage.
More outdoor facilities include a private hamman, and a lovely dining area with open-air kitchen and a barbecue.Indoor amenities include WiFi, an IPad, satellite TV, DVD, a music system (with speakers inside and outside) and both air conditioning and heating. With three bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, the master bathroom is particularly special, with a large jacuzzi bathtub for relaxing while enjoying the sea views. Daily cleaning is included.
Elounda Bay12 Guests | 6 BedroomsWith beautiful views overlooking the bay of Elounda, this villa is just 1 km from Elounda Beach, 7 kms from Elounda village, and 9 kms from the larger centre of Agios Nikolaos. The picturesque small village of Plaka is also just 5 kms north of Elounda. It is an area offering a spectacular coastline, clear seas and beaches, as well as archaeological interest. From Elounda or Plaka, it is also possible to visit the small island of Spinalonga, the most popular archaeological site in Crete after Knossos.
Inspired by its lovely natural surroundings, the exterior of the villa is constructed on three levels each with terraces, benefitting from wonderful sea views.At the ground level, there is an infinity-edge pool, with furnished terrace, and pergola-shaded dining area.The many amenities here include full air conditioning, satellite TV, Wi-Fi access and a barbecue. Daily maid service is included.
Villa Ellinika16 Guests | 8 BedroomsThis ultra luxurious villa sits in a wonderful location, just outside the Elounda village, directly overlooking the sea. Guests can enjoy 2.5 hectares of private gardens which include a tennis court, boules court, a croquet lawn, and a large infinity pool. A very private property, benefitting from sensational views, guests here also have access to private steps leading down to the sea below.
The interiors are very impressive with beautifully furnished rooms, and large windows allowing for light and sea views.The top floor bedrooms open to private balconies with views to the sea and mountains, while the lower floor bedrooms open to individual patios and the garden. In addition, there is a secluded cottage in the garden which can accommodate four people.
Vista Elounda16 Guests | 8 BedroomsVista Elounda is a larger villa, also overlooking the sea and countryside. It is 1 km from Elounda Beach, and 7 kms from Elounda village.As well as having sensational views over the countryside and the sea, the villa offers a beautiful swimming pool and gym and table tennis. There are tempting outdoor terraces for relaxing in the sun, as well as shaded seating, and dining areas. The villa is on three levels, with each floor opening to furnished terraces for relaxing and enjoying the panoramic views. The amenities include air conditioning, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and daily maid service.
PORTO HELIFor a very different experience, we are also featuring some beautiful villas at Porto Heli, a small seaside town and port on a beautiful peninsula, on the north-east coast of the Peloponnese. It can be accessed quite easily from Athens airport (a 2 hour drive), or by Flying Dolphin from the port of Piraeus. The small port of Costa, close to Porto Heli, has frequent boat services to the islands of Spetses and Hydra, both well worth a visit. Popular with both families and couples, there are a couple of organized beaches in Porto Heli with beach bars, and also many small secluded coves to discover. Boats can be rented at Porto Heli (along with watersports’ equipment, for windsurfing and waterskiing). The harbour here is well protected from the wind and popular for yachts, and there is also a large marina facility across the water at the ancient city of Alieon. For lovers of history, Porto Heli is also convenient for visiting Ancient Epidaurus, Poros, Ermioni, Mycenae, and Nafplion.
Villa Lepitsa12 Guests | 6 BedroomsOn the coast, just a 15 minute drive from the town of Porto Heli, this villa benefits from both privacy and wonderful sea views.Large furnished terraces offer plenty of space for both relaxing and entertaining. A tempting infinity pool appears to blend into the sea below, and a separate terrace has a smaller plunge pool, and direct access to a secluded beach below.The accommodation is in a main villa, and two separate guest houses allowing for plenty of space for a large group. The contemporary interiors feature stylish furnishings, largely in white. The many amenities here include WiFi, air conditioning, satellite TV and a gym. Maid service is included.
LATEST TRAVEL REQUIREMENTSTo travel to Greece, you must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. Once you have completed the form, you will receive an email acknowledgement. In a separate email, you will also receive a QR code. This code is likely to be sent up to 24 hours before you travel, regardless of how early you fill in your form. When you receive your code, make sure you either print it, or can show it on your mobile phone.Upon arrival, the Greek authorities may ask you to undergo an additional rapid test for Coronavirus, as a condition of permitting entry. This is in addition to the pre-travel testing requirement set out above. We recommend travellers also check with the advice on their own government websites before going abroad.Follow the latest updates here.