During one of my last days in Crete I was told about a possible Local Hideaway in the south-east, near Koutsouras. I don’t believe in coincidences so on my last day I had the chance to meet the sympathetic Heidi and Manu, the Dutch-French owners, and visit Kalyvitis. I could only come to one conclusion: Kalyvitis is so different and authentic at the same time. A location where everything falls into place!
Heidi and Manu have travelled a lot and at a certain point they decided to say goodbye to their lives in the Netherlands. They ended up in Crete and fell for a piece of land in the middle of some beautiful nature and old olive groves. This is where we are going to build our house, they agreed. I totally understand why. The road that leads to this property alone is impressive. You leave the coast and the road winds about 2 kilometres inland along old knotty olive and pine trees. It is surprisingly green. You see mountains appearing in front of you and, after a short drive on a gravel road, you turn right to arrive at Kalyvitis.
But what to do after finishing their house? By that time Heidi and Manu were so attached to the surroundings, the pure way of living of the Cretan people, life close to nature… something we have lost a little in our modern Western world. The concept of Kalyvitis was born. I deliberately mention ‘the concept’ instead of accommodation, because that’s what it is: an experience. They chose to build two houses, Cabanes, on the property, both with their own character and in total harmony with nature and no compromise on luxury. On the contrary, the houses have a beautiful modern and fully equipped open kitchen, a spacious bedroom with perfect beds and a bathroom with a good shower. For the ultimate outdoor living, you have your own spacious private veranda with hammock, dining table, a plancha (a Spanish hotplate to cook your own fish, vegetables and/or meet) and a refreshing wooden plunge tub with cold water… what a great idea! They have decorated the Cabanas with a lot of taste and originality.
To keep Kalyvitis small is well considered. In this way, people can enjoy the grounds in tranquillity and Heidi and Manu can give their guests the personal attention they deserve, without making it too much of a routine. The first morning you get spoiled with a real Kalyvitis breakfast consisting of their homemade produce: bread, jam, honey from their own bees, eggs from their own chickens and cheese from their residential goats Latika and Aïcha… living in a goat shed deluxe!
They grow their own vegetables and fruits and produce the most delicious olive oil. If you are in the mood, you can participate in the outdoor life and watch, for example, how the honey is made by the bees in the beehives. Heidi and Manu can give you great tips about the area, the best (deserted) beaches, the best hikes, the waterfall, the most beautiful gorges, bicycle tours.. etc.; but the Cabanes and their surroundings are also a good place to just relax and read a book in your own hammock.
Unfortunately for me, it was too late to spend a night in one of the Cabanes. I had to return to the Dutch reality. A good reason to return some day! Kalyvitis is definitely a special place and one you do not want to share too much… even Heidi and Manu wanted to keep the place to themselves as much as they could. I am so glad that they decided to share a little of their little paradise…psst!
Do you want more inside information about Crete? Read my blog ‘Crete Pure Nature!’.