Our week-long cooking holiday vacation package is designed for those who want to taste the real Cretan food and learn how to cook it. Let Anna teach you her grandmother's recipes and discover how natural food really tastes when cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients, naturally grown by local people. A typical Cretan menu is the key to longevity and wellness. With 8 portions of coarsely processed grains, 6 portions of vegetables and greens, 3 portions of fruit, and a good dose of olive oil, you are bound to give your body a healthy boost. Protein is consumed in the form of dairy, eggs and lean meats, typically fish, seafood, poultry and rabbit, and occasionally kid and lamb. With wine consumed daily and good company to share it with, you will take more than a healthy recipe book back home!
At each of Cressa Ghitonias 15 houses, suites, studios or rooms you will have the opportunity to travel back in time, but still benefit from all modern comforts. Each-and-every-one of our rooms is truly unique, with historical value, and it has maintained its heritage.
It was awarded Best New Small Hotel in Europe, 2011 by CNBC International Hotel Awards, in association with Bloomberg Television. Cressa Ghitonia has been awarded four times in the International Hotel & Property Awards (in association with CNBC and Bloomberg Television) for the quality of its construction and design.
Cressa Ghitonia is a designated Traditional Cretan Neighbourhood of the 1800s that has been fully reconstructed while maintaining all of its original elements. It is located in the highest part of the mountainous village of Sfaka, just 6 km from one of the beaches of the fish-village of Mochlos and other neighbouring attractions.
The Cressa Ghitonia SPA, which reminds the visitor of an actual cave, offers a great variety of excellent services, including customized body treatments, beauty therapies, massages, but also access to a Sauna, a Jacuzzi and a Hammam.
Restored by an archeologist with great respect to the Cretan architectural style and care on every detail, it offers comfort as well as originality to the visitor. Walking distance to the vilage square, and 3 km away from the nearest beach. Sitting at the top of Kavousi village, this 2 bedroom villa has all the modern amenities, 365 panoramic views of the landscape and is well positioned for walking to the ancient olive tree and the archaeological site of Azorias. Whether you want to stay in the privacy of your own terrace or the sip a beer at the local square, this is the place for you. Ideal for families or group of friends.
Situated in Lasithi prefecture, East Crete, away from mass tourism or pretentious local folklore. Our chosen hotel accommodations are Just over 1-hour drive by car from Heraklion airport, you will enjoy the ride overlooking an endless succession of coves and islands off the northern coast of Crete on your left and the mountainous landscapes peppered with little villages in the distance and even ancient ruins on your right.
Cretan diet is the reason for the premise that Mediterranean diet is healthy. It was during the 1960s that the Seven Countries Study established the connection between Cretan Diet and Longevity. Cretan residents had the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease amongst all populations, despite their high consumption of fats from olive oil.
Abundant in vitamins and antioxidants and Omega-3s, Cretan cuisine blends high fibre cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables, wild plants, and herbs, with high quality protein and products. A recent study reconfirms the results. But Cretan diet is not only about food, it is also about the culture, the landscape and the good company to enjoy it. We thought that with a little help from a friend, many people can learn its basic features and take it back home.
We have left enough time throughout our itinerary to enjoy sunshine and swimming in the nearby beaches or taking a walk in gorges and mountains around our villa. We also left Thursday free for you to explore the beauties of the island a bit further from home! Feel free to discover Crete by yourself or you follow our recommendations on very interesting activities and beautiful places to visit.
If you are an ancient cultures lover, we could organise a night of Minoan dinner. A team of archaeologist will prepare a demonstration of Minoan cooking with original recipes cooked in ceramic replicas of Minoan cooking vessels, based on archaeological evidence and studies. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and travel back in time with their stories of Minoan cooking and living, and even get your hands dirty having a go at one of the dishes. (depending on availability)
If you are keen on fishing we can arrange for you a boat fishing experience like no other. Our captain will take you to sea hideout and show you how to fish big fish in the Libyan Sea. You will be the first to crash salt crusted white sand in a tiny island, collect your own sea salt and sunbath among the stones of an ancient amphitheatre. Bring back your fish and we will show how (quite) a bit of salt can work wonders on a fish recipe. How about that? (depending on availability)
Grab your swimming costumes, towels, sunscreens and even your fishing rods and head off to Chrissi Island. You will board on our friends boat about 10.00 from Ierapetra town and head to the beautiful sand-dune island off the Southern coast of Crete, jumping into the water wherever and whenever you fancy, assuming your captain agrees! The crew will cook for you on board and even prepare your own fish if you are lucky to catch one. I bet the captain will oblige to tell you all about the wealth of life of the Mediterranean Sea, the fishing traditions and local fishy recipes. (depending on availability)
Known as To Nisi by local people or The Island by those who have read the best-selling English novel The Island by Victoria Hislop. Unpack the layers of Cretan history through time. A 15 minute boat trip of the coast of Plaka at Elounda, will take you to what was once a Cretan peninsular.
The island was carved out of the coast for defence purposes during the Venetian occupation and has faced key transformations through time. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the fortress, Spinalonga is known for its small pebble beaches and shallow waters.
Stay for lunch at Plaka bay and enjoy the holiday buzz. Let us recommend some tasty hang outs in the area and go on and take your pick on what your fancy.
On the way back, may we suggest a visit at Kritsa village. The village is packed with local character and goodies. Women of Kritsa were famous for their weaving, lace making and embroidery skills and it is still possible to buy handmade items.
In light of the many hours work in handmade pieces you might think these items are expensive, but most people these days are content with more commercially produced items that are also available.
Not that we need our encouragement to discover the beauty of Eastern Crete, but we can put together an itinerary for you to discover hidden gems, from monasteries to museums, from spectacular blue flag beaches to places to eat, from lookout points to shady caves. Lets put together for you an itinerary that fits your interests and appetite.
"I loved my week at Cressa Ghitonia with Cretan Thyme in Greece! The location was perfect, peaceful, relaxing and rejuvenating. The hotel was everything I could have imagined, great food, relaxed environment, fabulous staff, incredible spa with the best masseuse, and of course the cooking days were the highlight of the week!Anna the chef instructor, is the best! She's absolutely hospitable and a pleasure to spend the day with, and most of all the food was delicious, and the best Dolmas I've had in Greece! Her recipes were also excellently chosen, such that I could easily replicate almost all the ingredients at home as well, and substitute easily for ingredients that are strictly local to Greece. Thank you so much for a fabulous time!"
"An introduction to Crete through learning how to cook some of their healthy and delicious dishes. It has been an experience that I will definitely remember for a long time to come. To add flavor to the holiday meeting and making friends with warm and friendly locals. The chef instructor Anna was great in teaching me through doing things and I felt as if I'm cooking with my sister and not a real class. Katerina was amazing in making everything flow smoothly and for treating me as a friend, I did not feel that she was doing this for work, in fact I felt that we were just hanging out together. I also met some warm and friendly locals through Anna and Katerina, which was one of the highlights of my trip, such warm, hospitable, and friendly people. This is a vacation that I most definitely recommend!"
Trip Advisor website, edited
"What a wonderful week at Cressa Ghitonia with Cretan Thyme in Crete! The location was perfect, peaceful, relaxing and rejuvenating. The hotel was everything I could have hoped for and more; great food, relaxed environment, fabulous staff, incredible spa with the best masseuse, and of course the cooking days were the highlight of the week! Sofia who spent the week with us translating and assisting was also a delight!Anna the chef instructor, is the best! She's absolutely hospitable and a pleasure to spend the day with. Most of all, the food was delicious, and the best dolmades I've had in Greece! Her recipes were also excellently chosen, such that I could easily replicate almost all the ingredients at home as well, and substitute easily for ingredients that are strictly local to Greece. Thank you so much for a fabulous time experiencing the real Crete!"
Trip Advisor website, edited