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Warm and Welcoming Autumn in Chania

With the sun still shining in Chania this autumn, there is still an array of excursions to enjoy!  

Considered as one of the top 6 European destinations for autumn holidays, Crete is blessed with an extended summer period of about 2 months as it is the Southern most part of Europe with temperatures rarely dropping below 20 degrees. It is the perfect time of year to take part in the traditional grape harvesting activities in the 100’s of villages in Chania including other agricultural activities such as the procedure of Raki making where apart from making the infamous Cretan drink one can feast on local products and take part in an array of traditional celebrations.

The season’s mild weather will also encourage you to discover the wide variety of flora and fauna of the area through hiking trails through mountainous villages not to mention the world renowned Samaria Gorge.

Enchanting and always magical… Chania, the perfect destination for any season of the year. 

Posted on October 16th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

A love affair with Cretan wine

This weekend the charming old town port of Chania hosts a lovely event for wine lover’s and professionals worldwide.

OiNotika the Cretan wine fair hosted by the Wines Of Crete, www.winesofcrete.gr, will be held at the Center for Mediterranean Architecture between the 4th and 5th of March 2017.

How could you not resist a good glass of Cretan wine while watching the passersby of the Venetian light house?

Crete and Chania in particular is a favorite wine tasting destination for avid wine goers for years as they flock to taste the high quality local labels of the island. Age-old experience of modern wine producers in Crete have managed to elevate Cretan wine to its rightful position showcasing the tasty variety of grapes, aromas and flavors to even the highest wine connoisseurs. We particularly love the labels of the Dourakis family who’s ethos and proud tradition is characterized by knowledge, skills and extensive experience in winemaking. The family winery prides itself in creating products of high quality using scientific care and respect of traditional methods. We love their red “Lihnos” Cabernet Sauvignon with its dominant aroma of red fruits and lush aroma brought out by ageing. Ruby red color, it has a velvety taste leaving a superb aftertaste.

Equally magnificent are the wines of the Manousakis Winery who’s vineyards are planted on an elevation of 350 meters situated on the hills just outside the village Vatolakkos. We love their crisp white “Nostos Vidiano” with its intense citrus, bright stone fruits and mineral notes as well as their acclaimed and quirky collectors editions bottles of the Nostos Blend, Nostos Roussanne, Nostos Grenache and Nostos Syrah.

Excursions, wine tasting events and tours can be organized by Conte Marino Villas to both these award winning Winery’s and their cellars, including bottles available in each of our villas for tasting and enjoying during your stay. Be sure not to miss this aromatic fair in Chania this weekend hosted by ‘Wines of Crete’ as well as the many wine tasting fares throughout the summer in Chania and beyond.

Follow on Facebook:

Wines of Crete:  https://www.facebook.com/winesofcrete
Dourakis Winery: https://www.facebook.com/DourakisWinery
Manousakis Winery: https://www.facebook.com/ManousakisWinery

Posted on March 4th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Out and about Chania in 24hrs

With Crete being voted as the 6th best destination worldwide by TripAdvisor we could not be happier than to share perhaps why this is so. 

Crete, and Chania in particular couldn’t be more charming that it is, one would find it difficult to fit in all the endless possibilities of sightseeing in one trip!

Here is only a small taste of 24hrs in the center of Chania starting with a warm and tasty bougatsa for breakfast from the infamous “Iordanis” in the center of town. A crunchy and decadent sweet cheese filled pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar - a sure favorite of the locals. 

Venture of into the sunny morning, through the Chania Market with its stands of fresh local produce, down to the old town with a stroll to the old Venetian harbor - a bustling center with little cobble alleys and the magnificent Venetian lighthouse. You will be tempted to stop for a coffee at the hip and trendy "Pallas" – a place to be seen in the town for a morning or midday cup. This spot offers the perfect view right across the lighthouse and whole harbor as you can watch the tourists and locals walk by getting on with their day! 

With your taste buds satisfied head off to the "Hamam" store for some leisurely clothes shopping. Situated in a wonderful domed 17th century building browse the lovely collections of acclaimed Greek fashion designers and pick up pieces rarely found elsewhere for that perfect boho “island look”. Jewelry more of your thing? Browse the many quaint and quirky jewelry stalls in the pebble cobble streets of the harbor. You will be sure to pick up rare pieces by local artists. 

As the road has now led you into the heart of the Venetian center, stop for some genuinely good “mezedes” (small plates) at "Tamam" for lunch. The old Turkish hamam (public baths) hosts one of the most popular restaurants in the old town of Chania. “Tamam” plunges you into the cuisine of Constantinople with a list of 72 spectacular dishes. Very friendly service and a great selection of wines.

With a lazy afternoon ahead of you, head of to Nea Chora, only 1 km from Chania’s center to a long and golden sandy beach. Laze the afternoon away on your sun lounger and swim in the crystal clear blue waters of the Cretan Sea. 

As the sun starts coming down and the hazy, sweet summer night takes over step back to the old harbor to watch the perfect sunset as the amber colours change the hue of all the Venetian buildings. You should have by now worked up a fierce appetite, to visit the lovely and charming "Kritamon". Enjoy traditional and tasty Cretan dishes for dinner and take the time to visit the restaurants little shop where you can buy the produce of the island you have just eaten! One could not leave town without a cool crisp drink into the early hours of the morning where the town really gets lively at "La Bodega" – the perfect spot to end your 24hr day in Chania. 

One thing is for sure, there are simply not enough hours in the day to experience all the flavors, colours, characters and wonderful buzz that Chania has to offer!
Posted on March 28th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

The Cretan Table

Experiencing Crete during the Easter period and throughout the year is a wonderful culinary journey with some of the best foods and organic produce available. 
Where to begin? Myzithra, a cheese similar to ricotta, which has a light, moist consistency is a favorite at this time of year and used to make many wonderful types of cheese pies, including being used as a topping for the traditional Cretan “Dako”. This is a rye rusk topped with freshly grated tomato, drizzled with oregano and olive oil and topped with Myzithra, a heavenly texture. 

From the mountains, “Horta” are favorite of the locals which are wild greens picked in the fields, packed with nutrients and antioxidant properties. It is no wonder that Cretans in particular have the longest life expectancy in Europe! Cretans enjoy simple and clean tastes, such as that of lamb seasoned only with lemon, thyme and rosemary. Without fail we also have to mention Cretan olives and olive oil as being of the best quality in Greece and Europe. 

To top it all off apart from the incredibly wholesome vegetables grown on the island including tomatoes, artichokes and more, a sure favorite is stuffed vine leaves with rice and other aromatic herbs. 
To sit at a Cretan table this Easter and any time of the year one can be guaranteed to enjoy one of the best meals they have had abroad!

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

A wedding to tale to be told

Tying the knot this year? Make your wedding a day that no one will forget by having it in perhaps one of the most beautiful back drops of Greece. 

Chania offers grooms and brides to be a wide variety of options in having perhaps the most enchanting and charming wedding of your dreams. With back drops of the sea, mountains or old Venetian town, thousands flock to the island of Crete yearly to get married as the island offers spectacular scenery, great wedding venues and above all almost guaranteed sun. Moreover once can even consider alternative wedding venue ideas such as luxury villas, winery’s, outdoor beach ceremonies, boho chic ceremonies in the woods or even in ancient buildings. 

An array of wedding planners and photographers, florists and decorators are available on the island to assist in the planning of your special day. Sofia Vardaki from PROSKLISIS is an excellent wedding planner in the area, able to organize and command a perfect wedding, in conjunction with Eleni Bernadaki from Sempolja for stunning floral arrangements. The perfect wedding day could not go amiss without a professional wedding photographer such as Charilaos Margiolakis.

One this is for sure. A wedding in Chania and in particular at Conte Marino Villas will surely make your day memorable and magical!

Sempolja
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005135983885

Prosklisis
http://www.prosklisis.com/

Charilaos Margiolakis
http://www.xmargiolakis.com/

Posted on April 24th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Crystal Clear Waters

The beaches of Chania. A chapter of beauty and crystal clear waters so large that one could not possibly visit all of the magnificent shores in just one visit.

There are many beautiful beaches available across Chania’s  415 km coastline, most of which are organized for bathers and/or are combined with exceptional hotel complexes. The top 3 most famous beaches however, award winning and spectacular in their one right cannot go a miss. 

The exotic beach of Falassarna is located 59km west of Chania and 17km west of Kissamos. At the northern end of the beach are the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Falassarna. Falassarna bay is one of the most famous beaches in Greece, and has been awarded as one of the best beaches of Crete and one of the 10 best beaches in Europe by TripAdvisor. The sand at Falassarna is white, making the water color tropical and turquoise. 

Balos Lagoon, is another top favorite characterized by its white-pinkish sand and broken sea-shells. The water in the lagoon is very shallow and warm ideal for children. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder, ideal for a snorkeling. The lagoon is accessible by boat from Kissamos departing daily in the summer months. Along the same trip one can also visit the Gramvoussa Venetian fortress at the island of Gramvoussa.

Elafonissi is a name you are sure to hear upon visiting Chania. Elafonissi is a tiny island with white sand, separated from the shore by a lagoon no more than a meter deep. The sand is pinkish in many places, taking its color from thousands of broken shells. Near the breaking point of the peninsula, the water does not exceed 1m, creating a small lagoon, ideal for children. You can easily cross the lagoon in order to reach the island. The island itself is a nature protected reserve.
 
One thing is certain, Crete and Chania in particular are world renowned for the quality of its exotic shores, one would not have to venture off as far as the Caribbean to experience them. 

Posted on May 05th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Walk into an Ancient Past

With an array of summer activities and beaches to visit in Chania this summer, one visiting the island cannot miss the opportunity for a more cultural experience by taking a day out from the sun to visit some of the most historic and interesting museums in Chania.

Get a taste of true Ancient Greece by visiting the below museum's easily located in the center of town.

Archaeological Museum Chania
Housed in the former Venetian church of San Francesco, this small museum is well-worth visiting as it houses objects from the Neolithic and Minoan to late Roman periods found in the prefecture of Chania.

Nautical Museum Chania
For the avid sea goers who love anything nautical, the nautical museum of Chania located at the north-east end of the Venetian harbor offers viewers an array of nautical memorabilia and artifacts through the Greek shipping ages. 
Opening times: Monday - Saturday 10.00am -16.00pm (Sunday closed)

Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection
Finally a trip to the small byzantine museum showing mosaics, funerary inscriptions, wall-paintings, icons, architectural sculptures, ceramics and items of minor arts, and coins cannot go a miss for a true journey into the past of the ancient Greeks. 

Posted on May 17th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Walking through ruins

Chania, provides a plethora of ancient ruins and archeological sites to visit for the avid historical traveler and we could not embark on such an article without discussing the magnificent ancient site of Aptera.
Just a stone’s throw away from Conte Marino Villas lies the ancient city of Aptera, now an archaeological site and a magnificent standing of Greco-Roman archaeology. Aptera was inhabited since Minoan times but it only became a significant city around the 8th century BC as its strategic location above the bay of Souda could control the circulation of ships. It thus became a very important trading post and one of the greatest cities on the island. With it being easily accessible, a half day trip to ancient Aptera paired with a lazy lunch in the neighboring village of Megala Chorafia or even Kalyves can’t be missed.
Posted on June 29th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Rise and shine to Crete

The Cretan diet is known as being one of the healthiest and most nutritious diets in the world. 
It all begins with the hearty Cretan breakfast that is so pure and natural, one could not get a better start to their day.

A staple in the morning for many Cretan's is the decadently creamy Greek yoghurt made with sheep's milk topped off with honey, nuts, and some fruit for one of the most beautiful (and healthiest) breakfasts on the planet.

Organically farmed eggs and fresh vegetables are also a favorite for juicy and incredible tasty omelets with Cretan Graviera cheese sided with fresh bread from most local bakeries. For the sweet toothed, the infamous Cretan cheese Bougastsa topped with sugar and cinnamon is a marvel to the senses and a sure favorite with children!

With fertile soil and farmers with a love for their land, Cretan’s almost all year round eat only seasonal fruit picked at the right time. Try a refreshing Cretan fruit salad and you will not forget the color and taste of crisp grapes, figs, prickly pears, plums, melon and peaches!

Just to name a few plates… when traveling to Crete, make sure to get a good and early start to your day not to miss out on any culinary experience starting with the Cretan breakfast!
Posted on June 29th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Exotic Falassarna

One could not visit Chania and not go to one of our beloved beaches Falassarna. 

Crystal  clear waters, aquamarine sea and fine golden sand beach. You might even be in the Maldives! Falassarna beach is one of the best beaches in Chania and has been voted for numerous years in a row at one of the best beaches in the whole of Europe. Thousand flock to the aquamarine waters and powdery sands year in and out, and as a result the beach has become very organized with an array of sun loungers and places to grab a bite to eat. 

Falassarna beach in Chania Crete lies 59km west of Chania town and 17km west of Kissamos. Umbrellas and sunbeds, showers, water sports, volley ball court, lifeguard, parking, cafes, snack, beach bars, tavernas, restaurants, accommodation are all available. 

While there make sure to take pictures and summery shots to remember your time on perhaps of one most beautiful beaches in the world! What will impress you the most, is the charming and unique sunset, one of the most beautiful in Greece.

Posted on July 27th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Botanical Paradise

Combine your stay in lovely Chania with a visit to Botanical Park of Crete for a truly floral experience of the most exotic fauna on the island. 

Walking in the Botanical park & Gardens of Crete offers spiritual tranquility and visual pleasure in addition to knowledge on plants and their material.

You'll find the Botanical Park of Crete in the foothills of the beautiful White Mountains on the lovely scenic road leading up to Omalos (the starting point of the Samaria Gorge). The botanical gardens are just 15km from Chania Town, just past Fournes, and is easily accessible from many of the resorts of Western Crete. If you looking for things to do in Crete then this blend of a nature trail and botanical gardens is your answer.

Combined with an exceptional restaurant serving fresh organic produce. The restaurant,located in the park, offers genuine local tastes through an “a la carte” menu and its unique characteristics. Enjoy your meal and relax on the spacious balconies the restaurant, taking in the majestic view, and food prepared with ingredients coming from our vegetable garden as well as herbs and fruit coming from the park.

This excursion is not one to miss!

Posted on August 11th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Travel back in time in Fournes

As September is here and October approaches, visit Chania during perhaps the best months of the year where the hordes of tourists have left the island and a pleasant quietness prevails. 
The weather during these months are still high in the 30’s so daily beach excursions are for sure on the cards. 
During these months as the local villagers begin preparing for the harvest of grapes and olives toward the end of the year, visit the quaint little village of Fournes built against the hills on route from Chania. With a plethora of ancient ruins and local delicacies to sample it is a must day trip and wonderful walk through the quiet and long forgotten cobble streets.

Tucked in a valley of green and citrus olive groves, travel back in time to the village of Fournes to witness marvelous village architecture and island life in the mountains as it was years back. 

Posted on September 4th, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Greece's Leading Luxury Private Villa 2017

We won last year we won this year again! 

We are thrilled this month to announce the distinction by the World Travel Awards for Conte Marino Villas as the best leading privately owned luxury villa in Greece for 2017! The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

It for this reason we are deeply honored for our title as we continue to strive for travel excellence in our field. We thank each and every one of you that voted.

 Our passion and love for what we do cannot help but shine through and we thank-you for acknowledging that. What is only left is to welcome you to Conte Marino Villas to live the experience. 

Posted on October 01st, 2017 by Despina Sivaropoulou

“Domestic Setup” - The Conte Marino Project

Once again the acclaimed artists Apostolis Zolotakis and Kelly Athanasiadou return to Crete to showcase their exceptional works in yet another project.

After the success of their exhibition presented last summer at the Centre for Mediterranean Architecture titled “From Abstract Expressionism to Emotional Rationalism”, the artists exhibited to a Cretan audience yet another collaboration of art and sculpture with an intriguing concept. For the needs of their new exhibition titled “Domestic Setup” the artists used the setting of Conte Marino luxurious villas in Kontomari Platanias, as a platform of space of natural energy to showcase their work. The independent complex of villas is the architectural masterpiece of award winning architects - brothers Aristomenis and George Varoudakis.

The exhibition compliments and works in harmony with the characteristic and recognizable architectural “thumbprint” style of two of the most important architectural creators in Crete. Conte Marino Villas, built with impressive natural stone features and highlighted with details of stainless steel, works in gentle harmony with the outdoor orange groves on which they are built. Within this modern living environment the artists strategically place their works of art – paintings of mixed art created by Zolotakis and sculptures of steel by Athanasiadou – adding detail and harmony to the living space. This acclaimed exhibition aims to illustrate that art can become one with its showcasing space, to provide a visually dynamic outcome pleasing to the eye and in tune with the energy of its surroundings. All three villas of the Conte Marino complex are available for rent as holiday houses, providing an exceptionally sophisticated and high quality vacation experience that combines and rejoices in the beauty of Greek nature, architecture, art and hospitality.

The exhibition will be held until December 2015 and can be viewed by the public subject to request.

For more information:
CONTE MARINO VILLAS
Kontomari Platanias, Chania 73014, Crete, Greece
T. +30 28210 62278
M. +30 693 2414570
E. info@contemarinovillas.com

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Visit historic CAFÉ “KIPOS”

Situated at Chania Municipal Garden, it is a very pleasant break when shopping or walking in town!
The historic KIPOS CAFÉ operating continuously since 1870, has been a major point of interest in the heart of Chania city, attracting people of culture and art and having served as the first Parliament of the Cretan State (9/12/1898).

Expect from maintaining a permanent exhibition of historic photography, it now becomes the Basis of the European Historic Cafe Association with trademark the huge clock of the municipal garden.

Association has been established in Chania in April 8th, in a ceremony where owners of the most historic cafes in Europe had been participating. These Cafes mostly come from Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Holland and other countries. Target of this association is the promotion of civilization, history, products, create a communication network of gastronomy and café funs who will desire to visit each spot of all historic cafes in Europe.
Posted on February 28th, 2014 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Ash Monday in Chania, February 23th

Ash Monday also known as Pure Monday, is the first day of the Eastern Orthodox Christian.

It is a movable feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday.
The common term for this day, "Clean Monday", refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods.

The Municipality of Chania invites you ALL to celebrate together at Alsos of Agion Anargyron on Monday February 23th, starting from  11:30 am at parking area, with traditional offerings and rich music-dance program.
Inside the groove (in greek Alsos), everybody will have the opportunity to participate to the ecological workshop “harmonious Balance”, while circus rope dancers, stilts, acrobats, jugglers will entertain with their tricks.

See you all there!

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by Despina Sivaropoulou

‘An Authentic Greek Easter in Kontomari’

Have you ever thought about spending a sunny Easter in Greece?

The Greek Orthodox Easter is perhaps the most popular celebration of the year particularly in Crete as the Cretan’s certainly know how to celebrate! Festivities take place on every day of the “holy week” in the run up to Easter Sunday, but most gather from Good Friday onwards for the candlelight procession of the epitaph around the church. This takes place in all churches throughout Crete and Greece, but is particularly an authentic experience when seen in the small villages of the island such as Kontomari where Conte Marino Villas are situated.

On Easter Saturday, young and old throughout the area gather wood that will be used in the preparation of a bonfire sculpted in the shape of Judas. The bonfire will be lit in the evening after 12pm signifying the burning of Judas, when the “Holy Light” has lit the flame of candles of all those gathered at church. At the stroke of midnight on Saturday night, lights in the church are extinguished leaving the congregation in darkness. This signifies the passage of Christ into the underworld, and the “Holy Light” is then passed by the priest to re-light the candles of the faithful indicating that  "Hristos Anesti", Christ has risen.

On Easter Sunday morning, the 40-day period of fasting finally comes to an end and of course a true Greek Easter could not go amiss  without a culinary menu of roasted lamb, eggs painted red, “koulourakia” biscuits and good wine, all enjoyed among the company of family and friends who gather to celebrate! Cretan dancing, songs, and the sound of the Cretan “lira” fill the day with tales sung 100’s of year back creating a traditional atmosphere steeped in history and faith.
 
Enjoy a truly traditional Greek Easter with us this year on Sunday 16th April at Conte Marino Villas in Kontomari Village.

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Despina Sivaropoulou

Rethymno’s Carnival 2015

The Carnival of Rethymno is worthily established as the Carnival of Crete!

It is an institution of culture and creation, through which Rethymno highlights its long history, its rich tradition and the particular identity of its people. The new era of this festivity started in Rethymno in 1993 but it exists since 1914, when the first signs of humor are dated. The people of Rethymno welcome “His Majesty the Carnival King” with romantic dances and the appropriate honors. Big parade on February 22th, 14:00!

The Treasure Hunt, an old custom dating back to when the Carnival of Rethymno began about a century ago, was the reason for the creation of ‘teams’ in 1990, which would give birth once again to this old tradition. The Carnival of Rethymno is worthily established as the Carnival of Crete!

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by Despina Sivaropoulou

"The two faces of January" film hits Greek cinema theaters

Great Movie with Chania aroma, as we all remember about one and a half year ago its shooting, where...
a big part of Chania old town, Tampakaria area and countryside were transformed to a ’50 decade’s scene. Many Chania citizens participated like walkons. “The Two Faces of January”  is an American psychological thriller written and directed by screenwriter Hossein Amini  in his directorial debut.

The film is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac star in the film, which is  centered on a con artist, his wife and a stranger who try to flee a foreign country after one of them is caught up in the murder of a police officer. Set in Athens and Crete in 1962, the film owes its style to Hitchcock and bears unmistakable similarities to another Highsmith adaptation, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’.

The film premiered at the Berlinale Special Galas section of 64th Berlin International Film Festival! Amini’s first movie as a director was mostly well received in Berlin, with particular praise for the soundtrack and the lighting.

“The Two Faces of January’” will hit the Greek cinema theatres soon!
(....just wondering, how we will feel to see our favorite land on the big screen.....)

Posted on March 12th, 2014 by Despina Sivaropoulou