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.
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