Holidays to Kamilari are unhurried affairs, with blissful views, authentic Greek food and warm welcomes from friendly locals.
Kamilari's a flower-filled hilltop village on the quieter edge of Crete
's south coast. here in the Heraklion area
, there are up-high views of the azure Sea of Crete on one side, and the lush Messara Valley on the other. Life moves at a slower pace, with most activity centred around the sleepy village square.
Around the local hub – the pretty and petite square – villagers sit outside coffee shops playing backgammon or gather to share meze boards at family-run tavernas. A typical dinner might include dakos – the Greek version of bruschetta – wild hare with artichokes and a dessert course of honey-soaked dough puffs.
In the Swinging Sixties, hippies came to Matala to camp out rent-free in the local caves. Follow in their footsteps with a visit to this seaside town, just a 10-minute drive away. The water's clear and shallow for the kids, while adults can lounge on the sand or haggle at a beachside bazaar.
If you're a lover of Mediterranean cuisine – particularly all things olive-related – you'll want to check out a quirky sight close to Kamilari. Take a 15-minute walk outside of the village to find a monumentally important 'mother' olive tree, which experts believe to be more than 2,000 years old.