Visiting these 4 tavernas-cafeneios eastward of Heraklion is like being transported back in time or visiting an open-air museum, except that those are not museums but real and functioning tavernas and cafeneios. Run by energetic elderly Cretans who has lots of stories to tell about 'earlier days' these places have also lot of accessories, decorations and folk art elements hanged on the walls - shepherd's sticks/canes (called 'glitza' in Greek), old passed photos, wall rugs either owned, inherited or collected from the nearby village. While looking at the interior of the place one can get a feeling the time here has stopped decades ago, the cooking pots in the kitchen are juggled with swift and dexterity of modern times and ingredients used in cooking have been picked in the garden.
To reach this far-away corner of Crete will require you some driving patience. Seated in the main (and truth to be told the only) square of Ethia village, this place seems like an epitome of authentic taverna - old and authentic in every sense. The elderly Cretan lady running the place seemed to be having a nap in one of the chairs in front of the tavern while her husband had retired himself to one of the chambers of the house to enjoy the afternoon siesta undisturbed. We got a cup of a well-brewed Greek coffee with the spoon sweets and learned that full meals are cooked mostly on weekends or holidays when the chances of visitors are higher. Indeed, during two hours we spent in the village (drinking coffee and walking around), we did not see any other villager (probably because of the siesta peak-hour), not to mention any visitor.
This is the only taverna of mountainous Thripti village. Likewise the whole village it closes down during winter time because of too much snow. It opens again in summer season with plenty of visitors during weekends and on special holidays. Indeed, the difference is dramatic - on 1st of May (which is a special holiday) it was swarming with people having come from Heraklion and even as fas as Athens but wen visiting it again on a regular working day of another week we found the place quiet and empty. It has lots of interesting wall decors and evan a small collection of empty bottles local wine.
In Kato Karusanous, a village nestled in the rolling, olive tree-dotted hills of Crete, right there in one of the two narrow village pathways you will find a taverna called 'Lagadia'. It has a terrace that provides a beautiful view over the green lush hills. The taverna is run by hospitable and kind lady - the manager of the place and chef in one person. Food has to be preordered as the taverna is off-the-beaten path and not frequented by occasional visitors.
Seated in the corner building of the main mini-square of Krassi village, it is place you'd always get the unmistaken quality and fair price - your share of raki accompanied with some koukia (broad beens), few slices of cucumber and rusk would cost eur 1. For the sake of convenience and simplicity most of the drinks cost the same - eur 1.
Having traveled for over 30 years, since 6 years now, I have found the whole world in one of the most fascinating and unique places on earth – Crete. It is a diverse, rich and inspiring island which even after so many years does not stop surprising me - its rich history and unique traditions, its people, the delicacies of Cretan cuisine, its landspace and its stunning nature. Here I reveal some of its secrets.
I see Crete through turquoise - pink glasses.
Skip the group tours, leave your rental car at your hotel and ask Joseph to accompany you on a private tour to these great spots on Crete. We did "Mystic & Rustic Crete" and "Birth of Europe". If you are a first-time visitor he will suggest an itinerary and if you have special requests he will include those. Without Joseph we would not have known about the local culture or the history of the area nor would we have met and chatted with the local people... Read more
"A great tour and experience"We spent a full day with Joseph visiting Chania, Rethymnon and an olive oil farm and we had a great time. Crete is huge so you have to make choices unless you spend a week there. We arranged this tour with Joseph discussing our options and time. Joseph was very flexible with the itinerary allowing us to customize our tour and experience the highlights of some very nice towns. Joseph was very knowledgeable and answered every question. We would definitely use Joseph again to visit the other parts of Crete that we could not get to in this visit.
"Crete showed by Joseph is unique"The experience with Joseph showing us around Crete was absolutely unique. He is Greek and speak very good Hebrew. I don't think we would had seen and experienced half of what we did with him if we'd be on our own. He told us a lot of interesting stories about the Lassithi plateau and the area. His effortless ability to chat up with locals and involve us into conversation (with some translation, of course) was amazing. Funny enough these encounters led to further invitations (for a coffee and local drink - raki). Later on, he took us to an absolutely authentic tavern in a mountain village...
"The secrets never die" Das erste Mal haben wir Joseph Batis mit einer kleinen Gruppe in Chania in einer Fischtaverne kennengelernt. Er sprach Deutsch, Hebräisch, Englisch, Griechisch und soweit ich es richtig vernommen habe auch Spanisch. Ich habe die Gelegenheit genutzt ihn über unsere Ausflugsziele zu befragen. Seine Hinweise und seine Kenntnis haben uns in die Welt von Kreta innerhalb kurzer Zeit eingewiesen. Wir haben Joseph für einen Tag engagieren können um uns zu begleiten. Joseph hat über 30 Jahre in Deutschland gelebt. Seit Jahren führt er private Reisetouren auf Kreta...
יוסי מסיורים בכרתים ויוון, הוא מדריך.... מקצוען, בעל יידע נרחב איש לבבי וסימפטי, טיילנו בשנה שעברה... היה פשוט מדהים כיף... כיף... כיף... ממליץ בחום למי שמגיע לכרתים ויוון להשתמש בשרותיו המעולים. תודה יוסי על הסיורים ,האוכל, הטברנות, היה תענוג גדול ! ! ! מאתנו: אורי אילש, אלי גנט, יגאל גרינשטיין, נטלי גרינשטיין, אור גרינשטיין
כל מי שעתיד לנסוע לכרתים או ליוון, אני חייב להמליץ על חבר יקר, מדריך מעולה, אדם חביב ונעים הליכות שידריך אתכם בכרתים בעברית, אנגלית וגרמנית, מה שתבחרו.... ל- Joseph Batis אתר בו תוכלו להציץ במה שיש לו להציע לכם כולל תכנון הטיול ומלונות וכו' הציון שנתנו לו 10+ שווה מאוד... ביקרנו במקומות שבחיים לא הגענו אליהם בכרתים ! לחצו על השם וכנסו לאתר ! בהצלחה.