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“Peaceful Perfection” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Footscapes of Crete

Footscapes of Crete
Ranked #23 of 36 Tours in Rethymnon
Attraction details
Cockermouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Peaceful Perfection”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2012

In May we made a return visit to Footscapes – in fact we’ve been returning every year since Footscapes opened in 2005, which says something about how much we enjoy our holidays there.

Footscapes is spectacularly situated atop a small hill near the village of Kastellos. This affords wonderful views both to the sea and to the mountains, as well as a general air of peace and quiet. The studio villas themselves are well appointed, spotlessly clean and contain everything you need for a comfortable couple of weeks. Especially appreciated is the `welcome` pack of bread, cheese, wine, fruit and a flask of raki – the local firewater.

The knowledge and enthusiasm of the owners, Liz and Paul, is infectious. When we first visited we used Footscapes as a base for sightseeing in the area, and wouldn’t have classed ourselves as walkers. However on the next visit we did a couple of their shorter walks which fired our enthusiasm and now we’ve completed just about all of their portfolio of walks.

Liz and Paul offer guided walks for all abilities – from 4-wheel drive tracks and donkey trails between villages to the highest peaks in the area, and there are plenty of opportunities for the more adventurous to undertake walks under their own steam. There’s a folder in each studio detailing the guided walks and Liz and Paul are on hand to provide advice if necessary. Another folder provides information about the immediate vicinity, shopping, dining, wildlife etc.

Liz and Paul only lead walks for guests in their studios, so the group will never be more than six guests and they carefully co-ordinate the walking schedule based on all their guests requirements and abilities. Most of the walks are also available `self-guided` for GPS owners.

For visitors in the spring, Crete is a riot of colour as the meadows burst into flower. A number of the guided walks have been planned around maximising the opportunities for flower spotting – this is likely to include many different type of orchid. Liz and Paul take a great interest in the local flora and fauna and will point out items of interest along the route.

Footscapes is not just for walkers as it offers a great base for exploring the island. Rethymno (a beautiful Venetian harbour town) is just 20 minutes drive away, Chania (Crete’s second largest town) is around an hour away and both the north and south coasts are within easy reach. For those interested in history there are many major archaeological sites including Phaestos, Agia Triada and Aptera.

Food wise there are plenty of fantastic tavernas within a 20-30 minute drive and by dining in the `local` eateries you’ll get a completely different experience from standard tourist fare. Great fresh food, friendly faces and reasonable prices. Liz and Paul will provide well researched advice! Of course, the studios are well equipped and it’s a please to rustle up a simple meal and sit on the terrace enjoying the sunset over the mountains and sea.

To get maximum benefit from a visit to Footscapes a car is recommended.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Bev_and_Mark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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13 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
100 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Excellent all round”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2012

Others have said it all - superb location, excellent accommodation, courteous, well informed, hosts, lots of local information on places to visit and to eat - couldn't fault a thing !

We walked 3 days with Liz & Paul and if not walking all week and you want to look further and have more eating choices - then a car is needed.

We used europeocars.com whose prices are all inclusive, no one way charges, and cheaper than any other - OK it's not a new car. but on Crete's back roads, who cares !

Visited April 2012
Thank chriswarthurs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Porvoo Finland
Level Contributor
58 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2012

The island of Crete is a wonderful part of the world. The nature is fantastic and there is much history. I visited Crete in April 2012 together with my wife. There are nice villages and fine monasteries, beautiful gorges and numerous fascinating caves. The island runs west to east 260
kilometers and 60 kilometers wide at its widest point. There are 3 nice old cities Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion. The largest city Heraklion is capital of the island. In all these cities are nice old harbous from the Venetian time. In Rethymno is a great Fortezza in the east part of the Old Town. Close to Heraklion is the Palace of Knossos. This is the most important monument in Crete. There you can see the old Minoan civilisation. It was very advanced already 4000 years ago. Go to Crete I am sure that you will like this island.

Visited April 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, England
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Well worth leaving the National Road for an extended stopover.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2011

Rethymnon – Crete

Crete, at over eight and a quarter thousand square kilometres, is the largest and most highly populated of the Greek islands and almost an island nation in its own right. With its rich history, diverse geology and population, living in reasonable sized costal cities all the way through to tiny hamlets and mountain crofts, there is plenty to be seen by the adventurous visitor. It is also the birthplace of mighty Zeus, father of Gods and men. It is claimed Hercules wished to honour this island birthplace of Zeus and, to do so, removed all harmful and poisonous creatures from Crete so, to this day, none exist there.

Apart from Gavdos, which is little more than a speck on the map off Crete’s southern coast, but can claim to be Europe’s most southerly point, Crete, to all intents and purposes, is about as far south as Greece goes, and this, for the most part, is reflected in the islands climate. The island runs west to east for two hundred and sixty kilometres, yet is only sixty kilometres wide at its widest point and a mere twelve at its narrowest. In many ways Crete is today most remarkable for its high mountain range, running all but the islands entire length, dividing north from south by three different groups, all standing at well over two thousand meters and providing fertile plateaus, beautiful gorges and numerous fascinating caves.

The islands capital and largest city, Heraklion, which boasts the islands main airport, is found slightly to the east of centre on its northern coast. Approximately one hundred and fifty kilometres to the west, by road, lies Chania, the islands second city and second airport. Situated midway between these two is the city of Rethymnon, the islands third city.

Rethymnon is a city mentioned by both Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder, and in several other ancient texts, where its name is written as Rhithymnia. However its history was never likely to have stretched back as far as the fabulous Minoan civilisation. Its growth began in the 1500’s when the Venetian conquerors of the island expanded the town and increased its trade by sea. This led to pirate attacks on the shipping, and the port itself, particularly by the fearsome Barbarossa brothers working in league with the Ottoman Turks. To combat the success of the attacks the Venetians constructed a fort to protect the area, particularly the prosperity the port brought with it. It now arguably remains the world’s best preserved Venetian fort and is known as the Fortress of Fortezza, a huge imposing edifice that continues to stare down on the city which now surrounds it. Whilst long running restoration work continues, a lengthy visit is strongly recommended.

The Old Town of Rethymnon, also built by the Venetians, almost in its entirety, is well preserved and perhaps the best example of its kind on Crete. Small boutique and fashion shops comfortably rub shoulders with traditional taverna’s and well stocked, wonderful smelling, leather goods retailers, all of whom nestle between large stone block residences in various states of repair, constructed hundreds of years ago. These are then connected by narrow alleyways, literally exuding character and far too small for cars, although not for a wide variety of irritating two wheeled machines, often ridden erratically, even carelessly.

Despite the fort, in 1646 the town fell to the Ottoman Turks who then ruled for close to three centuries. For ten days at the end of May 1941 the Battle of Crete occurred when the island was invaded by German paratroops who were engaged by Australian and Greek forces. During this period there was a battle for Rethymnon, some scars of which remain visible to this day, particularly around the old port. Today this harbour, certainly in season, boasts a vast array of sailing craft, quite literally varying in size from rowing boats and miniscule fishing vessels to large and sometimes flashy super yachts. Times may well have changed, and pirates may not now sail these waters, but the harbour of Rethymnon continues to provide a welcome haven to any of those likely to be caught in an angry Mediterranean storm.

The port itself is built on three sides with the fourth covered by an extended breakwater and jetty. The built up harbour side boasts an array of taverna’s and eateries many of which are quite obviously centuries old, some of which have presumably been owned by the same families for generations. By day for the most part these establishments offer a wide choice of platters at a reasonable price, something which compares most favourably with the city’s far most pretentious and therefore costly neighbour, Chania.

By night Rethymnon’s harbour side truly comes alive and simply oozes enchantment and a captivating allure from each twinkling light to every sizzling pan and wafting aroma. Whilst colourful sea craft bob to a gentle swell Europeans from Norway to Malta and Portugal to Bulgaria happily gather together around tables which are placed so close to one another some, at times, almost seem to overlap. Here louder North American accents can be heard alongside raucous Australians and Russians with voices wholly devoid of inflection, a truly cosmopolitan congregation representing all parts of the industrialised world, united in the pleasures of the food, drink and location. However if you are looking for loud, noisy, drug fuelled nightlife, with the beat of eardrum shattering garish noise reverberating through the night, mercifully this is not the place for you.

To the east of the fort, yet still in the centre of the town, lies a beach which runs for miles. Here the sand is a coarse deep yellow, less attractive than the white sand beaches of Bali perhaps, but sand nonetheless, far more comfortable beneath the towel for sun lovers prepared to explore to a distance away from the ubiquitous sun loungers, and certainly fun for those little people who will make up the next generation. The beach slopes meekly into the sea and, depending on the season’s mood, the waters and tides are gentle and usually forgiving as they lap away at the edge of the land. In typical Greek fashion, with a road running generally within a short stroll from the beach, there are establishments where even the more intrepid tourist can find a place to eat or drink.

Basically to sum Rethymnon up, if you are the type who likes to take a holiday to relax, or to use simply as a base and springboard to greater adventures, and are not a member of some crass, moronic and aggressive inner city gang, then the town and its surrounds should be more than adequate in its ability to meet your every demand. Just be sure to be on your way by the first of November, as that it when the closes for the winter, and when I say closes – I mean – it closes!

Visited October 2011
8 Thank International-nomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Peaceful haven with great views when sitting front or back of the property”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2011

They have got this place just right. Studio, but excellent lay out make it feels larger. Every detail thought about down to a clock on the wall to an excellent shower and the ability to have the door open with a screen to prevent unwanted insect intruders! Recycling also.
We loved the freedom of GPS guided walks and will be back to see the flowers next April.Paul and Liz available for advice if needed.

Visited October 2011
1 Thank Helen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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