Kamilari Village Crete

In the Rich Messara Valley

The village is surrounded by olive groves

In the south of Crete in the Messara region is the village of Kamilari  Καμηλάρι. It is 67 km from the island's capital, Heraklion.

The local people make the joke of it being the village on a camel's back. Indeed the name could come from the fact that it sits on several hills which give it beautiful views. You can look to the Libyan Sea on one side and the Psiloritis Mountain range (2456m)  and Asterousia Mountain range on the other.

The first thing you notice about this village are the lovely gardens everywhere. The people here take pride in their village and it is great to walk around and discover this place of winding streets and typical architecture. Your first visit to Kamilari won't be your last. 

Thank you to Mark Latter for the great photos of the village and surrounding areas.

Kamilari Village by Mark Latter

A restored home in the village (image by Mark Latter)A traditional home in the village.

Kamilari Village flowers (image by Mark Latter)Characteristic family home in the village.

Village homes (image by Mark Latter)

The village cats looking for a pat...

Eating Out in Kamilari

Taverna in Kamilari, Crete

There are nice restaurants and cafes and a great pizzeria in the village, as well as a traditional kafenion where the locals feel as comfortable as if they were in their own living room. After a hot day on the beach in summer, it is nice to sit and cool down in the evening in the plateia.

  • Markos Kafenio is the place to go for Greek coffee
  • Ariadne Pizzeria serves wood fired pizzas
  • Milonas Taverna serves traditional Cretan food - the Spiridakis family will look after you
  • Acropolis Taverna serves local food at the centre of the village in the plateia next to the church - Vasilia and Yiannis (both senior and junior) will look after you
  • Kipos Taverna serves a mix of local and European cuisine, husband and wife Manolis and Sue will look after you
  • To Steki is the snack bar and internet cafe - Vangelis will look after you


Accommodation

You can stay in the village or just outside it, there are many good quality accommodation options here.

Within the village is the newly-restored manor house Oasis (above), which sleeps 2-8 people, in beautiful comfortable surroundings and all the handy services of the village on your doorstep. The quality of the restoration, the private garden and the swimming pool make this a true secluded oasis.

Koronio Natural Stone House
Koronio Villas with a view to the sea

Just outside the village is Koronio Natural Stone House which is a beautifully constructed new home (left) with traditional style, yet modern opulence and great views to the sea...

Choosa from three villas welcoming 5, 7 or 5 guests each, or perhaps take all three for your next family reunion.

Just 1 km from the beach and 4 km from Phaistos, these stylish villas are 1.5 km from the village. It is best to visit with a vehicle, to enable your exploration of this region and nearby beaches.



History & Landmarks

Looking around the region and the village you can only trip over significant history at every turn. Due to the fertile nature of the Messara Valley, this region has been inhabited for thousands of years. The earliest notation of this village in Venetian records dates from 1370. In the centre of the village is the old fountain dating from 1929.

Kamilari Fountain (image by Mark Latter)

In the village you will find the old olive factory now restored and housing a museum of local folk culture and history 'Fabrika' is a proud community cultural achievement celebrating the village and its roots.


Kamilari Fabrica from outside (image by Mark Latter)The Kamilari Fabrica from outside (image by Mark Latter)

The Olive Press inside the Kamilari Fabrica (image by Mark Latter)The olive press inside the Kamilari Fabrica (image by Mark Latter)

The Old Olive Press (image by Mark Latter)The Old Olive Press (image by Mark Latter)

The crushing stone (image by Mark Latter)The crushing stone of the old olive press (image by Mark Latter)

Ancient jars which were used to store olives and olive oil on display inside the Kamilari FabricaAncient jars which were used to store olives and olive oil on display inside the beautifully restored Kamilari Fabrica

The rotating hand crank for the top of a water well, previously used in the village, now on display at the FabricaThe rotating hand crank for the top of a water well, previously used in the village, now on display at the Fabrica

An image inside the exhibition shows how the donkey was tethered to the olive press to rotate the three crushing stones as she walked around and around in a circle (image by Mark Latter)An image inside the exhibition shows how the donkey was tethered to the olive press to rotate the three crushing stones as she walked around and around in a circle (image by Mark Latter)

The dedication of the 'fabrika' which means 'factory' from the original family to the villageThe dedication of the 'fabrika' which means 'factory' from the original family to the village (image by Mark Latter)

The original family who owned the Kamilari Fabrica and used it to mill olives collected from all around the village (image on the wall of the Fabrica)The original family who owned the Kamilari Fabrica and used it to mill olives collected from around the village and surrounding villages (image on the wall of the Fabrica)

Aristidogiannis in his traditional Cretan outfitAristidogiannis in his traditional Cretan outfit (image on the wall of the museum)


Ancient Ruins

Roman Ruins at Gortyna

Discover archaeological sites nearby like the famous Phaistos, the Roman ruins at Gortyna (above), and the sites at Agia Triada, Komos and the lesser known but equally important Minoan site at the Kamilari Tomb (pictured below).

Minoan Tomb near Kamilari (image by Mark Latter)The Kamilari tholos tomb dates from 1800 BC


Looking Around the Region

Matala Beach is nearby (image by Mark Latter)Matala Beach

The village is located just inland from the beach. This beach is perfect for families with cafes and fish restaurants by the sea. It is nice to leave the beach and head inland where up on the hills it is a little cooler in summer.

You can base yourself in this hospitable village and visit Kalamaki Beach, Sivas, Pitsidia, Komos Beach, Kokkinos Pirgos, Matala Beach and Red Beach. The town of Tymbaki is a short drive away. 

Matala Crete is famous as the playground of hippies in the 60s, and its unusual rock formations creating a beautiful beach. The roman burial tombs became free accommodation for free spirits, an era which is celebrated at Matala annual music festivals on the beach.

Nearby is the Gorge of Agiofarago with its tiny cove beach. To walk to this beach along the gorge, drive from Kamilari to Sivas then to Odigitria Monastery, then take the road south on the dirt track. Do not take the road to the right to Vathi. Park at the end of the road. The walk is under an hour and this spectacular cove is your reward.

Agiofarago Beach, CreteAgiofarago Beach, Crete


Getting Here

Spili village sits at the foot of Mount Kedros in central CreteSpili village sits at the foot of Mount Kedros in central Crete

Take daily flights from Athens to Crete using the nearest Airport of Heraklion, or indeed fly into Chania Airport and hire a car as it is not too far to drive around beautiful Crete.

If driving from Heraklion, take the road south through the market town of Mires, then drive towards Timbaki for 10 km. Here you will see the turn off to the left marked 'Kamilari', drive a further 5 km and you will find the village. Total drive is 67 km.

If driving from Chania, first drive to Rethymnon on the national road then turn south to Spili. Keep driving south-east to Agia Galini and then to Tymbaki. Drive through Timbaki for 1.7 km, and past the airport until, you see the Nissan car dealership on your left and then turn right to Kamilari. Drive a further 7 km to the village. For this route you could consider an overnight stay at Aoritis Villas near Spili. Total drive around 130 km.








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