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The Villages of the Messara

Holidays in the Messara plain offers you living between the olive groves, close to beautiful beaches and archeology, and a life off the beaten track. The central south something for explorers and individualists who want to experience mountain and coastal landscapes.

The Villages of the Messara

Holidays in the Messara plain offers you living between the olive groves, close to beautiful beaches and archeology, and a life off the beaten track. The central south something for explorers and individualists who want to experience mountain and coastal landscapes.

These are the most popular villages in Messara, which offer a pleasant mix of authentic Cretan village life and individual tourism with cafes, taverns and some shops with local products.

The Messara plane is located on the south side of the Heraklion prefecture, in an elongated area 50 km long and no more than 7 km wide. To the south, the valley is protected by the wild Asterousia Mountains, while its west side is bordered by a wide beach with sandy beaches.
The villages of fertile Messara harmoniously integrate into the landscape of olive & fruit tree groves. They perfectly combine the traditional Cretan way of life, the real hospitality, and the warm heart of the residents with holidays on the beach and excursions to many nearby attractions.

Kamilari

Kamilari is a charming village with traditional stone houses and many gardens with colorful flowers, which is located on a hill surrounding olive groves and offers a breathtaking sea view. Due to its location on a hill, Kamilari has both sea and mountain views and from some places, you can see the whole of Messara from the sandy beaches, to the Psiloritis and up to the Asterousia mountains.

As a holiday village, it is a TOP location, because Kamilari actually offers everything a Crete traveler could want: A cozy village with a village square where the church, a small playground, kafenion, and supermarket are located, small shops, a pharmacy, and many taverns and cafes. In addition, it is only 3.5 km from the beach of Kalamaki (which continues at the Komos stand), near Tymbaki and Mires, where you can do all sorts of shopping and there are also the weekly markets and there are beautiful paths to the surrounding villages such as Pitsidia or Sivas.

Kamilari

Kamilari is a charming village with traditional stone houses and many gardens with colorful flowers, which is located on a hill surrounding olive groves and offers a breathtaking sea view. Due to its location on a hill, Kamilari has both sea and mountain views and from some places, you can see the whole of Messara from the sandy beaches, to the Psiloritis and up to the Asterousia mountains.

As a holiday village, it is a TOP location, because Kamilari actually offers everything a Crete traveler could want: A cozy village with a village square where the church, a small playground, kafenion, and supermarket are located, small shops, a pharmacy, and many taverns and cafes. In addition, it is only 3.5 km from the beach of Kalamaki (which continues at the Komos stand), near Tymbaki and Mires, where you can do all sorts of shopping and there are also the weekly markets and there are beautiful paths to the surrounding villages such as Pitsidia or Sivas.

Matala - where tomorrow never comes!

Matala is a MUST for many visitors to Crete and therefore often very crowded, especially in the high season. There are better beaches to visit during the day, but by evening the tourist buses have departed and Matala reveals its true colors. Music in the bars and live bands often play and the streets are bustling with a fun mix of locals, ex-pats, and visitors.
It’s not really that hippie feeling anymore, but it’s still a lot of fun!!

The Red Beach, which you can walk to from Matala (about 20 minutes) is no longer an insider tip, but it’s still worth it! It is simply one of the most beautiful beaches in the region and since 2022 has offered a second bar in addition to more umbrellas.

This year there is finally another Matala Beach Festival planned for June! As always, the street painting takes place a week in advance, so don’t wait too long to book your accommodation in Matala!

Matala - where tomorrow never comes!

Matala is a MUST for many visitors to Crete and therefore often very crowded, especially in the high season. There are better beaches to visit during the day, but by evening the tourist buses have departed and Matala reveals its true colors. Music in the bars and live bands often play and the streets are bustling with a fun mix of locals, ex-pats, and visitors.
It’s not really that hippie feeling anymore, but it’s still a lot of fun!!

The Red Beach, which you can walk to from Matala (about 20 minutes) is no longer an insider tip, but it’s still worth it! It is simply one of the most beautiful beaches in the region and since 2022 has offered a second bar in addition to more umbrellas.

This year there is finally another Matala Beach Festival planned for June! As always, the street painting takes place a week in advance, so don’t wait too long to book your accommodation in Matala!

The Red Beach, which you can walk to from Matala (about 20 minutes) is no longer an insider tip, but it’s still worth it! It is simply one of the most beautiful beaches in the region and since 2022 has offered a second bar in addition to more umbrellas.

This year there is finally another Matala Beach Festival planned for June! As always, the street painting takes place a week in advance, so don’t wait too long to book your accommodation in Matala!

Pitsidia

Pitsidia is one of the oldest villages of the Messara plain, here you will find the typical narrow streets, stone houses, and a small market square surrounded by kafenions. Twice a week, live bands and dance groups are performing in the center place and cast a spell over locals and tourists. An incomparable atmosphere that you should not miss.

Until today Pitsidia has been untouched by mass tourism and is especially popular with independent travelers. Many old houses are used as holiday rentals, so in summer the number of visitors exceeds that of the locals, but if you come to Pitsidia in spring or autumn, you will experience an idyllic, quiet village, where you can relax wonderfully.

On the main road and the central square you will find many taverns, but I prefer more for the hidden places and Pitsidia hosts some of my favorite taverns!

The proximity to the beautiful sandy beach of Komos is definitely a reason to look for a holiday rental here!

Pitsidia

Pitsidia is one of the oldest villages of the Messara plain, here you will find the typical narrow streets, stone houses, and a small market square surrounded by kafenions. Twice a week, live bands and dance groups are performing in the center place and cast a spell over locals and tourists. An incomparable atmosphere that you should not miss.

Until today Pitsidia has been untouched by mass tourism and is especially popular with independent travelers. Many old houses are used as holiday rentals, so in summer the number of visitors exceeds that of the locals, but if you come to Pitsidia in spring or autumn, you will experience an idyllic, quiet village, where you can relax wonderfully.

On the main road and the central square you will find many taverns, but I prefer more for the hidden places and Pitsidia hosts some of my favorite taverns!

The proximity to the beautiful sandy beach of Komos is definitely a reason to look for a holiday rental here!

Sivas

Sivas is a small picturesque village and its few inhabitants are engaged in agriculture. Life revolves around the square with cafes and taverns where you can enjoy the company of locals and are always welcome.

Here you can enjoy Greek food in the evening in the village square and listen to the mandolin players live. Practical for the parents is the square in front of the church and the small playground behind the taverns.

Sivas also attracts a lot of visitors as it is on the way back or on the way back from an excursion to the Odigitria Monastery and the bays of Agiofarago, Marzalos, and Vathi. Hence, from the late afternoon onwards, the tavernas are full of day-trippers, vacationers, and locals sharing tips about the region.

Sivas

Sivas is a small picturesque village and its few inhabitants are engaged in agriculture. Life revolves around the square with cafes and taverns where you can enjoy the company of locals and are always welcome.

Here you can enjoy Greek food in the evening in the village square and listen to the mandolin players live. Practical for the parents is the square in front of the church and the small playground behind the taverns.

Sivas also attracts a lot of visitors as it is on the way back or on the way back from an excursion to the Odigitria Monastery and the bays of Agiofarago, Marzalos, and Vathi. Hence, from the late afternoon onwards, the tavernas are full of day-trippers, vacationers, and locals sharing tips about the region.

Kalamaki

Kalamaki is a small coastal village with a beautiful sandy beach, which is well organized with umbrellas, sun loungers, taverns, cafés, and small playgrounds.
The beach is very popular with families with young children who quickly make friends here.

Enjoy the evening in one of the many beach taverns with sea views. The sunset over the uninhabited Paximadia Islands is spectacular.

My absolute highlight in Kalamaki is walking on the beach to the east, to Komos Beach – with the Karibu Bar hidden in the dunes and at the end of the beach, you will find the Bunga Bunga Beach Taverna.

Kalamaki

Kalamaki is a small coastal village with a beautiful sandy beach, which is well organized with umbrellas, sun loungers, taverns, cafés, and small playgrounds.
The beach is very popular with families with young children who quickly make friends here.

Enjoy the evening in one of the many beach taverns with sea views. The sunset over the uninhabited Paximadia Islands is spectacular.

My absolute highlight in Kalamaki is walking on the beach to the east, to Komos Beach – with the Karibu Bar hidden in the dunes and at the end of the beach, you will find the Bunga Bunga Beach Taverna.

Kokkinos Pyrgos

With its gently sloping sandy beach, Kokkinos Pyrgos offers one of the most popular sections of Messara Bay, which attracts greeks in particular. On the promenade, you will find fish taverns, cafés, and bars where you can sit and enjoy the goings-on from morning until night.

I prefer for relaxing time the quieter place, on the other side of the harbor, where there is only one tavern with some umbrellas. Great sunset!

Kokkinos Pyros has grown from a relatively unknown spot to a holiday village in the last few years, or rather, it’s on the way there. Many holiday homes have been built and new cafes and taverns have opened on the beach promenade. As before, 90% of the guests here are Greek, which makes the atmosphere particularly nice for me.

The fishing boats are moored in the small port of Kokkinos Pyrgos and from here Captain Nikos also starts his boat trips to the Paximadia Islands, to Vathi or Prasso Nissi. He also offers diving courses and diving tours.

In the evenings the promenade is full of people, who are enjoying the lovely summer breeze of the night while eating in one of the excellent taverns or having a drink at the beach club Makao.

Kokkinos Pyrgos

With its gently sloping sandy beach, Kokkinos Pyrgos offers one of the most popular sections of Messara Bay, which attracts greeks in particular. On the promenade, you will find fish taverns, cafés, and bars where you can sit and enjoy the goings-on from morning until night.

I prefer for relaxing time the quieter place, on the other side of the harbor, where there is only one tavern with some umbrellas. Great sunset!

Kokkinos Pyros has grown from a relatively unknown spot to a holiday village in the last few years, or rather, it’s on the way there. Many holiday homes have been built and new cafes and taverns have opened on the beach promenade. As before, 90% of the guests here are Greek, which makes the atmosphere particularly nice for me.

The fishing boats are moored in the small port of Kokkinos Pyrgos and from here Captain Nikos also starts his boat trips to the Paximadia Islands, to Vathi or Prasso Nissi. He also offers diving courses and diving tours.

In the evenings the promenade is full of people, who are enjoying the lovely summer breeze of the night while eating in one of the excellent taverns or having a drink at the beach club Makao.

Vori

A walk through this charming village of Vori shows the old buildings and Venetian houses, decorated with geraniums and bougainvilleas. Vori reflects the relaxed, quiet, and authentic Cretan lifestyle like no other village of the Messara.

The tranquil village off the busy tourist path is ideal to adjust to the slow rhythm of Crete. At the Platia you will quickly get into conversation with your locals.

I’m always spoiled for choice whether to go to Despina’s Kafenion, Vangelis is “Kapileio” or Manolis. What can I say, just try all three!

Vori

A walk through this charming village of Vori shows the old buildings and Venetian houses, decorated with geraniums and bougainvilleas. Vori reflects the relaxed, quiet, and authentic Cretan lifestyle like no other village of the Messara.

The tranquil village off the busy tourist path is ideal to adjust to the slow rhythm of Crete. At the Platia you will quickly get into conversation with your locals.

I’m always spoiled for choice whether to go to Despina’s Kafenion, Vangelis is “Kapileio” or Manolis. What can I say, just try all three!

Be sure to visit the local street markets in Tympaki or Mires! There are far more Cretans than tourists on the market, and so you can experience the traditional Cretan flair with loud market joiners and many colorful stands that offer everything the rural population (and holidaymakers) may need. Friday in Tympaki  – Saturday in Mires / about 07-13.00
Be sure to visit the local street markets in Tympaki or Mires! There are far more Cretans than tourists on the market, and so you can experience the traditional Cretan flair with loud market joiners and many colorful stands that offer everything the rural population (and holidaymakers) may need. Friday in Tympaki  – Saturday in Mires / about 07-13.00