If you’ve dreamed of staying in a wonderfully restored, traditional house in a real Cretan village - you have found it.
Here you will feel the power of the mountains, the serenity of the sea, the immensity of nature, the richness of history, the traditional life, and the warm hospitality of the Skordalakis family.
This a place where time stops and the magic of the landscape keeps us spellbound – a paradise for true nature lovers.
Thalori Traditional Village is a unique, restored old village with traditional-style stone houses at Kapetaniana, perched at an altitude of 800 meters on the Asterousia Range. Up in the mountains and away from it all. This alternative, ecologically-sound collection of stone buildings with matching taverna and local, natural foods is a place of deep history – somehow just staying here should prove meaningful.
You’ll have to navigate a narrow winding road to get there, but this place is worth it. A one-and-a-half-hour, arduous drive (67 km) south of Heraklion rewards you with the opportunity to live a unique Cretan experience at the Thalori Traditional Houses. You’ll be at the heart of Kapetaniana Village with a view to the Libyan Sea and the mythic Asterousia Mountains.
The Thalori Traditional Village is a cluster of twenty traditional guesthouses restored to reflect the unique style of local architecture that prevailed in the host village of Kapetaniana in the very old days. The 20 Thalori Guesthouses are an individualistic and perfectly-camouflaged luxury, possessing an unwavering traditional Cretan style.
The owners, Markos and Popi, and their family-run this extraordinary place. They bought what were the mere ruins of an old deserted village and rebuilt the traditional village with an eye sensitive to both historical details and the contemporary needs of their guests.
The landscape is dominated by beautiful, spare stone and mountain peaks. The guesthouses are themselves rough and simple, integrating beautifully with their surroundings. From most of the terraces, you look straight at the Mediterranean Sea between two inspiring peaks.
You’ll enjoy the great swimming pool, stylishly minimalist to blend perfectly with the marvelous landscape, complete with deck chairs and umbrellas.
Kapetaniana is a small village perched at an altitude of 800 meters in the heart of the Asterousia mountain range, which runs along the entire southern coast of Iraklion. It is a remote, car-free mountain hamlet that’s a Mecca for rock climbers and hikers.
It commands a magnificent view of the Libyan Sea and combines in harmonious ways the wilderness of the mountain (tip: Kapetaniana has a very special, pure Cretan honey - don't forget to buy some!) with the serenity and benefits of the sea.
The double character of the village and the deep local history makes its influence felt in the buildings, which combine Minoan stylistic influences and monastery architecture. The houses were constructed with defensive concerns in mind. They have much in common with castles and in the older times, sheepfolds of various sizes formed an integral part of these fortified homes. They were built from materials resourced locally and fitted perfectly into the surrounding environment.
The singularity of this resort lies in the materials that were used during construction. There are locally resourced stones, for exterior and interior walls, and wood and marble. The traditional fireplaces are another significant element. Perhaps the most eye-catching detail is the integration of rocks and rock formations with other building elements within the resort.
At the center of the complex is a larger building, a common area with breath-taking views. Here, guests delight in traditional breakfasts and a rich choice of traditional dishes prepared by village women, made from fresh, local ingredients nurtured by Mother Earth for centuries in this unspoiled area. The meals are nothing less than typical Cretan / Greek food – just great and so delicious. The rates are very modest compared to what you get in return.
Here you’ll also find the reception area. During the summer, the lavish breakfast is served in the shady courtyards with a view to the Libyan Sea.
Why We Like It
- If you want homemade Cretan cuisine and you are a true nature lover, then this is the right place for you. The place is magnificent, pristine, stunning in its natural and spiritual delights.
- Amazing place - beautiful remote location, lovely little houses, taverna with excellent food, good swimming pool, excellent hiking, and riding available (beautifully kept horses).
- At this place, time stops and the magic of the landscape keeps you there forever.
- A perfect combination of mountains and sea, earth, and sky.
- Unique Cretan hospitality in an authentic place.
Good To Know
- Come prepared for a friendly, relaxed service ethic and spotty knowledge of English in this rustic location, but be assured you’ll enjoy the atmosphere, the views, and very good food.
- We highly suggest renting a 4x4 car to explore this amazing region. If you have an off-road vehicle, you can enjoy the extensive network of mountain roads in unblemished areas of spare natural beauty around Kofinas Mountain, once sacred to the Minoans.
- The properties are of a very high standard with enough equipment to make light meals, not fully self-catering for major cooking.
- In a place named for King Asterion, even the name Thalori, which translates literally as “sea” and “mountain”, denotes epic nature.
The Houses & Apartments
There are 14 Housing Units which can accommodate 2 to 6 people. The total occupancy of these charming houses is 48 people.
Thalori Guesthouses are an integral part of the residential complex of Kapetaniana. These traditional houses are renovated with respect to their Cretan architecture, maintaining the fortress and monasterial elements associated with the history of the settlement. At the same time, special care was given to the preservation of the distinct identity of each house – guest room.
All the Houses have an autonomous central heating, fireplace, a mini stereo system, TV with LCD screen 20" and satellite channels (Satellite TV), Chess Table, Orthopedic mattresses, organic products for personal hygiene (shampoo, foam bath), Various table games, Backgammon
Anthi, Pelagia, Elpida, Persephone are the Double Room Units.
Theano, Aristea, Georgia, Irene, Persephone, Aspasia are the Triple Room Units.
Euphrosyne is a Quadruple Room Unit.
Jasmine, Melanthe, Kroustallenia are the Five Room Units.
Eugenia is the Six Room Unit.
Please find more images of guesthouses and check prices here!
You can start your day with the traditional breakfast made from fresh, local products (e.g. traditional bread, honey, eggs, local pancakes, cheese, yogurt, and fresh milk.)
For your lunch or dinner, Thalori's two-level tavern is a superb option as it offers a breathtaking view of the sea and a menu of unique local dishes prepared by village women.
The cuisine relies on the Cretan Diet which is recognized and famous around the world. At Thallori Traditional Hotel use only pure, local ingredients in their dishes and cook them with due respect for tradition and hygiene.
Salt from the rocks of the seaside, milk, cheese, and meat from the nearby goat farms, local specialties like pies and deserts, everything prepared just for you.
Children of all ages are welcome at Thalori Mountain Retreat - Kapetaniana and the larger maisonettes make excellent family rooms.
The pool is popular with kids of all ages.
Baby cots and children up to 6 years old are free of charge.
Wander around the narrow streets of Kapetaniana Village, visit the church of Panagia with the 10th century’s frescos and admire the unique view of the Libyan sea.
Ask Marko and Popi to meet a beekeeper and learn more about honey and the whole process.
Hire an offroad vehicle (it is a must here) and then you can explore the extensive network of mountain roads in a virgin, bare and holly Kofinas Mountain, the oldest Minoan sanctuary in the world.
Explore the clean secret small beaches of the area (Agios Ioannis, Moni Koudouma), away from the mass tourism big Hotels of the North Crete.
Bird watching and enjoy Gypaetus Barbatus flying above Asterousia Mountains.
Markos the owner organizes offroad excursions in the nearby area that you can have also mountain bike, canyoning, climbing, wildlife observation, etc.
Enjoy the live music nights by Markos and his friends paying the Cretan mandolin and Lyra for fun. After several Cretan raki (local spirit) glasses, in your way to your house, you will be amazed by the clear view of the bright stars in the night sky.
Live the experience of the well known delicious honey making (ask Markos for it).
Visit the Monasteries of Koudoumas and Odigitrias. The Koudoumas monastery, which is still populated, and other, now abandoned hermitages and monastic establishments ("monydria").
Visit the well known archaeological sites of Gortys and Festos.
The ruins of seven Minoan settlements.
Numerous Byzantine and post-Byzantine chapels decorated with murals of various distinct styles.
Ravines and caves are waiting to be explored. You will also come across the rare, stenoendemic flora of the region, the bush, the plants and herbs on the ragged sides of the rocky hills.
In 60 min maybe less you are at the archeological site of Knossos which lies some 5 km south of Heraklion on a low, largely artificial hill. By far the largest of the Minoan palaces, it thrived over 3500 years ago at the heart of a highly sophisticated island-wide civilization.
During the same day you could visit and one of the most important collections of Minoan art and artifacts anywhere in the world at Heraklion's Archeological Museum. The Museum, as Knossos as well, is almost always crowded (at least in Summer) therefore try to see it early or late for during everyone else's lunch break.
Enjoy and explore the small coastal village of Matala. It first made into the history books as the place where Zeus, in the form of a bull. swam ashore with Europa on his back before dragging her off to Gortyna. The Minoans used Matala as their harbor for Phaestos and under the Romans, it became the port for Gortyna. Ruins of these ancient settlements are still visible on the seabed.
Don't miss to visit the beach of Agiofaraggo (19km) at the exit of the homonym gorge. To get there you must either cross the gorge, by easy hiking of about 30-50’, or catch a boat from Matala, Agia Galini, or Kali Limenes. We definitely recommend the first option, as the route within the vertical walls of the gorge is breathtaking. On the way, you will see the large caves were some hermits still live and the chapel of St. Anthony, with a well outside.
For more activities in Heraklion Prefecture, please have a look here
Check-in: 14.00 pm
Check out: 12.00 pm
Minimum Stay: 2-3 nights, depending on the season
How To Get There
Thalori Traditional Guesthouses is located at Kapetaniana Village in a rural environment where beauty dominates the view, at 67 km far from Heraklion Airport. Markos and Popi the charming hosts look forward to offering you a warm reception matching the high quality of the place.
From May through mid-October there are direct charter flights to Heraklion Airport (67km) and Chania Airport (164km). Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.
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 Heraklion Port (66km). Tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our partner website.
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.
Book your taxi transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our partner website.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through CreteTravel.com
Dining: You can start your day with the traditional breakfast made from fresh, local products (e.g. traditional bread, honey, eggs, local pancakes, cheese, yogurt, and fresh milk.) For your lunch or dinner, Thalori's two-level tavern is a superb option as it offers a breathtaking view of the sea and a menu of unique local dishes prepared by village women. The cuisine relies on the Cretan Diet which is recognized and famous around the world.
Internet Access: Free WiFi throughout
Swimming Pool: A lovely swimming pool with breathtaking views of the Libyan Sea
Spa Treatments: Not available
Disabled Access: Not suitable
Pets: Pets not allowed
Languages Spoken: Greek, English
Parking: Private parking area