Maroulas is a quiet village situated on the heights above Rethymno, Crete, facing the sea at an altitude of 150 metres and surrounded by greenery, a spring and several valleys.
In 1980, Maroulas was listed for its historical monuments but also for some of its houses including Villa Maroulas, the best option for your stay here.
Amongst its rich historical heritage, visitors can discover important remains of ancient tombstones dating back to antiquity, two wonderful Venetian towers one of which is 44 meters high, a Byzantine church dedicated to the Ascension, a more recent church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and lastly a small chapel with iconostasis which adorns the small village square.
The olive groves and presses of Maroulas were very important for the local economy therefore one of the presses is connected to the great Venetian tower.
During the first Venetian invasions, the middle-class houses of Maroulas were used as second homes or agricultural warehouses by the nobility of Rethymno.
Its high position facing the sea and its narrow lanes without any main square make Maroulas a typical example of the kind of fortifications built at that time.
Inspired by the works of Venetian engineer Fr. Barozzi dating from 1577, the Venetian constructions were aesthetically considered as state of the art.
Later, the Turks would add architectural elements from Anatolia like chimneys, wells, hammams, or fountains.
Two cemeteries of the palatial period of the Minoan period have been revealed in the area. The findings of the cemeteries are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno.
It is said that the village was originally named Amygdalea and was at one point completely destroyed by a flood or an earthquake. The first person to inhabit the village again was a woman called Maroulio, which is a byname for Maria.
In the 1980s, the village suffered great migration; the young people left for the cities leaving only the elderly behind. Nowadays Maroulas is coming back to life with its approximately 218 inhabitants and the restoration of many of the old buildings by Greeks but also foreigners who moved to the village permanently.
The village attracts many painters and photographers with its numerous themes; narrow alleys, old doors, doorknobs, stone mosaics.
Nowadays, Maroulas reveals itself through a maze of alleys where visitors can stroll, meet with the locals and enjoy its tavernas and cafes.
How to get there
- By Air: From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Chania and, more frequently, to the capital Heraklion. Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
- By Sea: The journey is the thing". A superb way of enjoying the journey to Crete is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens. A still-romantic way to travel by the overnight ferry from Piraeus to Chania-Souda port or Heraklion Port. Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our website.
- By Car: If you want to explore the region while you're here, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our sister website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport.
- By Taxi: Book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.
Where to stay
Villa Maroulas is a beautifully restored Venetian villa of 540m2 and 5 bedrooms (accommodates up to 12 guests) with a small private heated pool and Jacuzzi (full of privacy) located in the beautiful hillside village of Maroulas.
What to do
- Explore Maroulas Village, a quiet village situated on the heights above Rethymno, facing the sea at an altitude of 150 meters and surrounded by greenery, a spring, and several valleys. In 1980, Maroulas was listed for its historical monuments but also for some of its houses including Villa Maroulas. Nowadays, Maroulas is a picturesque village with a maze of alleys where visitors can stroll, meet with the locals, and enjoy its tavernas and cafes. Amongst its rich historical heritage, visitors can discover important remains of ancient tombstones dating back to antiquity, two wonderful Venetian towers one of which is 44 meters high, a Byzantine church dedicated to the Ascension, a more recent church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and lastly a small chapel with iconostasis which adorns the small village square. During the first Venetian invasions, the middle-class houses of Maroulas were used as second homes or agricultural warehouses by the nobility of Rethymno. Its high position facing the sea and its narrow lanes without any main square make Maroulas a typical example of the kind of fortifications built at that time. Inspired by the works of Venetian engineer Fr. Barozzi dating from 1577, the Venetian constructions were aesthetically considered as state of the art. Later, the Turks would add architectural elements from Anatolia like chimneys, wells, hammams, or fountains.
- Visit Mariannnas Workshop a few meters away from your villa. During these recent 20 years, Marianna collects the traditional knowledge about how to help problems of health using the traditional way, what in the families were using in old times. She collects all the aromatic medical herbs from the mountains still clean and unpolluted. By them, she prepares teas and oils. The oils are natural extracts, made by the traditional way under the sun. This is a way to keep longer the action of the plant. You can use them for massage, in the bathwater, after bathing on the body or the face. They have very good results for the balance of the organism. All the products are made with old receipts, with no conservatives and with the greatest respect to Mother Nature and the Human being.
- The lively small town of Platanias and its long (17 km) sandy beach is only 3 km away.
- During the summer, many traditional festivals take place in nearby regions. Therefore maybe you are going to have the opportunity to experience traditional Cretan music and dancing.
- And if you can prize yourself away from this lovely little village and your "country seat" within it, there is much opportunity for splendid drives and exploration in the center of Crete, with its impressive mountains and friendly villages. Stretching your journey for 25 minutes in one direction you can be on sandy beaches or the old town of Rethymno. In the other direction (to the south), in 20-30 minutes, you are on yet another coast and dipping toes in the Libyan sea.
- Explore Rethymno's old town and especially the waterfront and streets just behind. Walk along the harbor wall to the Venetian lighthouse. The Fortezza (fortress) was built by the Venetians (1573) to protect the city. Not only are walls, church, and the remains of its buildings of interest, the views from it to the town are a great way to start planning your tour of the town. There are also sweeping sea views. Open daily.
- Don't miss visiting Rethimnon's Archaeological Museum which occupies a building almost directly opposite the entrance to the fortress. It's worth a look especially if you are going to the bigger museums in other towns. Here you could enjoy Minoan pottery and sarcophagi and lots of Roman coins, jewelry, pots, and statues, all from Rethimno province. Take a look at an unusual unfinished Roman statue of Aphrodite.
- Two of the major monasteries of Crete and amongst its most sought and visited, Arkadi and Preveli monastery are medium distance outings. Within easy striking distance of the village, in the hills of the southeast, is the Monastery of Arkadhi a potent symbol of the Cretan struggle for independence and an atmospheric detour on a journey into the beautiful Cretan mountainous hinterland of Rethymno's prefecture.
- Visit the 17th-century Monastery of Preveli which perched high above the sea on the south Crete. In its cloistered closed courtyard, there is a fountain with the Greek inscription "Wash your sins, not only your face". There are also breathtaking views out to sea towards the distant and chunky-looking Paximadhia islands which have lent their name to the tooth-cracking lumps of twice-baked bread served up with mezedes in the island's kafenia.
- Very close there is the sandy Palm Beach of Preveli, a sand-filled cove right at the end of the Kourtaliotiko gorge, where a freshwater estuary feeds a little oasis complete with palm grove and a cluster of oleanders ( at the beginning and the end of the season it is lovely).
- Other valuable visits: Armeni Minoan site, Argyroupoli (ancient Lappa) where the sound of water from springs cascades through this refreshing, taverna-laden village. Eleftherna, Axos, Zominthos archaeological sites. Amongst the significantly enjoyable, old, and historic villages: Episkopi, Spili, Amari (valley), Monastiraki, Anogia.
- Head west along the coast (60km) to explore the small, picturesque, and maybe the most enjoyable of Crete's larger towns, Chania. With its Venetian-era fishing harbor, crumbling masonry, and web of alleys, it is an extraordinarily attractive town, especially if you are there in spring when the Lefka Ori's snowcapped peaks seem to hover above the roofs. Don't forget to visit the Archaeological Museum, housed in a former church, plus the romantic cobbled alleys lined with arty boutiques and a market selling local handicrafts.
- More activities around Rethimno Area
Where to eat & drink
The Venetian Village of Maroulas has a few superb taverns (Mylopetra and Fantastico with great panoramic sea views) and Kafenions, and, 1 km away, you will find a large grocery store open 24 hours a day.
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