The Karma Group’s Greek island hideaway resort, Karma Minoan, is scheduled to reopen in Summer (subject to regulations). Situated on Crete, the largest island in Greece, Karma Minoan resort is a firm-favourite with our Members and it’s easy to understand why. From rugged mountains to stretches of white sandy beaches, ancient historical sites, wineries, olive groves and amazing food, here’s our hotlist of things to do and see when we travel to Crete…
Want to visit a traditional Greek Village? Put Krista on your must-visit list. This traditional village boasts whitewashed houses set amid native olive groves. Meander through the streets and enjoy outdoor local café culture, handicrafts, pottery and ceramics. Also, if you are into architecture, we recommend you check out the Church of Panagia Kera situated between Agios Nikolaos and Krista. The stunningly serene 13th century whitewashed church is said to feature the best-preserved Byzantine frescoes on the island.
If you like to sample the local wines in the destination you are visiting, then rejoice in knowing that Crete is home to Greece’s second largest wine making region! Crete is also thought to offer one of the oldest wine traditions in Europe with an incredible array of varieties of grape. It’s believed that the grape cultivation in Crete began during the Minoan period and today there are several wineries to explore. One such winery is the organic Manousakis Winery that cultivates grapes of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre as well as ‘tsikoudia’, a local spirit made of grapes.
Pack your hiking shoes as Crete is full of dozens of incredible hiking trails, coastal walks, caves and waterfalls. One of our favorites is Richtis Gorge that is situated between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. You set off at the trail at the traditional village of Exo Mouliana and hike through forests to the stunning 15 metre high Richtis ‘waterfall where you can cool off the refreshing water. The total route is around 4k’s and ends at the pebbly beach of Richtis.
Another Members favourite is the Ancient Kroustas Forest and Cretan Shepherds Hut day trip. This full day trip takes you through a picturesque ancient Crete landscape where you’ll experience the traditional village of Krista, mountains and rare ancient forests of Kroustas. Discover ancient stone constructions, hidden churches and incredible vistas. Enjoy native olive trees, beehives and forage for local herbs. A highlight is the Greek shepherd’s hut where you’ll get an insight into the day in the life of a shepherd!
You can’t really stay at Karma Minoan without a trip to the historical Spinalonga island! This island was once a leper colony and has a rather intense and sad history. However, ever since Victoria Hislop published her book ‘The Island’, Spinalonga is now a major tourist attraction. Easily accessed by boat from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda or Plaka, explore the ruins of this abandoned island as you learn about it’s checkered past.
Agios Nikolaos is the nearest main town to Karma Minoan resort and is an easy ten-minute drive along the gorgeous coastline. Along the way, why not take advantage of the small coves and have a refreshing dip. Located on a port, Agios Nikolaos offers narrow cobbled-stone streets with waterfront cafes and stores. The centerpiece of this town is the lake plus make sure you explore the nearby beaches including Elounda and Plaka.
When you don’t want to go anywhere! Members can’t get enough of our Amphora Restaurant that offers the best of traditional Cretan cuisine with Asian flair. Relax at the bar overlooking vistas of endless blue and enjoy talking to the local staff about the island. Don’t forget our onsite Karma Spa offers soothing treatments delivered with local ingredients – deep tissue Olive Oil massage anyone? Plus, enjoy the swimming pool, fitness gym and yoga deck.
Want to get off the beaten track? We recommend you visit the Lasithi Plateau, a spectacular flat plain 830 meters above sea level located about 3 hours drive from Agios Nikolaos. This is where you’ll experience authentic rural village culture with traditional agriculture and fertile landscape featuring olive trees and orchards. Nearby here is the Diktean Cave that is believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, the king of gods.
A trip to Crete is incomplete with a visit to Chania, a stunning city located on the northwest coast of the island. The romantic destination features narrow streets with historical architecture including monasteries and museums distilled with Venetian, Turkish, and Ottaman influences. A must-do is visit the 14th-century Chania Venetian Harbour located in the Old Town.
In summary, Crete is one of the most interesting and diverse islands in Greece. When you can travel here again, make sure you put this destination on your hotlist!