‘Notes from the field – Crete’ is the latest in our series of blogs following the Sunvil team as they explore our destinations in search of hidden gems and to handpick our holiday accommodation. Written by Ellia Hanna, a member of our expert Greek team, this piece details his experiences on the largest Greek isle and the highlights from his trip. You can call Ellia on 020 8758 4758 or email him at greece@sunvil.co.uk.

Where did you go?

I went to the Greek island of Crete. There is so much to see, discover and enjoy here. There is 1020km of coastline boasting an abundance of beaches, from quiet coves to long expanses of golden sand. Inland there are lofty mountain peaks and lush countryside, dotted with traditional villages and walking trails, and fascinating archaeological sites from the Minoan, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. I visited all of the areas featured in our programme for Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection – the north, northwest and southwest coastlines of the island where there is limited development and an air of authenticity.

crete landscape

Crete landscape

Favourite Sunvil property and why?

My favourite property, Villa Anastasia, is featured by both Sunvil and our sister company, GIC The Villa Collection. Located in the centre of Kalives and just 200m from Mistraili beach, this villa does not require a car, as everything is within walking distance. Spacious interiors and shaded terraces provide a cool escape from the sun, perfect for the warm summer months. The upstairs terrace leads straight onto the garden and swimming pool, and has a lovely view across to the sea.  I now understand why this is such a popular choice with our clients.

Favourite viewpoint and why?

Actually I have two favourite viewpoints. One is in Loutro from Porto Loutro Hotel, and the other in Kalives.


This photo was taken from my balcony from the room I was staying in in Porto Loutro Hotel. I think it would be impossible to tire of this view! I can see why we have many clients who stay here time and time again.

view from porto loutro hotel (1)

View from Porto Loutro Hotel


This viewpoint is just above Kalives, and I took this photo on my way back to the Villa Anastasia. As you can see, the view stretches across Kalives and it is breathtaking. We actually stopped the car to take this picture and you can see why.

view over kalives

View over Kalives

Where you ate your best meal and what did you have?

Once again, I am torn between two places – one in Kalives and the other in Vamos. In Kalives, Villa Anastasia is within walking distance of ‘Acrogiali’ where I had lamb chops. In Vamos I ate at ‘Stelios’ and enjoyed lamb shank.

The highlights of your trip.

For me, the highlight of my trip has to be Loutro; it impressed me, from the boat transfer, even before I had arrived. The first thing you notice are the traditional white houses with blue painted windows – it is very picturesque. Once on dry land and up close, the village is brimming with colour and charm. Loutro is a relaxing haven free from mass tourism and the only way in is by boat or hiking – there are no cars! Everyone knows each other and the locals are very helpful. Though small, there is a good choice of tavernas to choose from here, ranging from traditional Greek food to fresh sea food.

crete loutro (2)

Loutro, Crete

General feel of the area.

With so much diversity on Greece’s largest island, it can be difficult to decide where to go. We often have guests in two minds as to whether they would like to relax in quieter resorts such as Kalives, or to soak in the livelier atmosphere of Paleochora.

It has only taken a week’s stay for me to understand why so many of our guests decide to visit Crete. This is a destination I would love to visit again and would recommend it to anyone interested in travelling to Greece.