A warm summer breeze blows around our noses - even now, well after 21 p.m. We are in the middle of the Cretan capital Heraklion. In the meantime you can only see a few tourists in the city, which is visited by many cruise tourists, especially during the day. Instead, more and more Cretans cavort on the streets, making their way to their favorite tavern. Including us. We are looking for a restaurant that Daniela, our hostess from the Villa Zoe, only recommended a few hours earlier.
In the tavern there should be first-class "bougatsa", a Greek pastry made from puff pastry, filled with feta cheese, that you can enjoy either savory or sweet topped with honey and nuts. We find what we are looking for right at the Löwenbrunnen and secure a seat outside with an excellent view of the hustle and bustle in the city center. When the waiter speaks to us in Greek, for the first time since our arrival a Cretan attitude towards life spreads in us. We order both sweet and salty and are happy that we followed Daniela's recommendation.
Warm welcome at Villa Zoé in the afternoon
It's already late in the evening when we get back to our accommodation for the next few days Villa Zoe, arrive. A few hours earlier, we were welcomed here happily and very warmly by the owner Daniela and her long-haired dog Paul. The Villa Zoé is located in a tranquil village called Koutouloufari and is only two kilometers from the sea.
While we sit under the shady trees in the garden and enjoy our welcome drink and Cretan pastries, Daniela tells us that we are here at an ideal starting point for excursions into the beautiful surroundings. In addition to the recommendation to visit Heraklion in the evening, she has many other insider tips ready that she is happy to share.
The two globetrotters Daniela and Martin settled on Crete
Daniela bought Villa Zoé together with her husband Martin in 2015 and completely renovated it within 18 months. Before they came to Crete and fell in love with the island and the people, the two traveled a lot around the world themselves. The souvenirs of past trips can now be admired as a guest in the five rooms of Villa Zoé. And so there are impressive stamps from India in our “Carpe Diem” room, Moroccan lamps hang from the ceiling and Daniela's old sun hat is a real eye-catcher on the whitewashed wall.
The two run the villa with a lot of love and hospitality. In addition to the warm welcome, the fresh flowers, snacks such as nuts and olives and a good bottle of red wine in the room make sure of that. If you travel, like us, with little luggage, you can also enjoy the beach towels and beach chair bags specially made for Villa Zoé. And breakfast is also very lovingly prepared every day. The two only use ingredients from the immediate vicinity.
Crete is a true paradise for foodies and gourmets
You can taste this regionality. I have never enjoyed sun-drenched and juicy tomatoes, salty goat cheese, Greek yogurt and sweet honey as I did during my time on Crete and at Villa Zoé. Daniela also provides her guests with further tips for going out to taverns in the area for lunch and dinner. In addition to the stylish fish restaurant, which is located directly on a steep coast, above the tavern, which is located in the middle of a rustic mountain village far away from the tourist paths, she even tells us her very own favorite restaurant, which can be reached on foot in a few minutes.
Daniela and Martin made sure that we felt completely comfortable the entire time at Villa Zoé. The warmth of the two, the excellent food and the great excursions meant that we were able to switch off and recharge our batteries. So it's no wonder that many of the guests at Villa Zoé are “repeat offenders”. We would also have liked to have stayed longer and will probably not stop at this one visit. We were too infected by the relaxed Cretan attitude to life for that.
Would you like to know more about Villa Zoé? Then click here
Suite from 165, - Euro per night including breakfast