Our honeymoon hotel is on the north coast of Crete, between Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos, about a 25 minute drive from each. Crete is a large island so these two recommendations might not be as relevant if you’re staying on the west or south of the island, but if you are anywhere in the vicinity, or have a car, then I guarantee you’ll love the authentic Cretan village of Margarites and the Metaxakis Winery as much as we did. Please take a look at this short video I made because it really brings everything to life. These photographs don’t do it justice.
Margarites is a small village located in Rethymno, famous for its pottery. It has 17 workshops and shops many of which operate as exhibitions, giving visitors the chance to watch the artisans at work.
Ian and I did some research before we went to Crete. Margarites came up when we did an online search for authentic Cretan villages within a 90-minute drive of where we were staying. It didn’t disappoint. It has beautiful original buildings, a very quaint aesthetic and a laid-back feeling.
The shop below was a treasure trove of ceramics. The whimsical hot air balloon display is almost mesmerising- it drew me in and the whole shop had the most wonderful feeling of calm.
I treated Ian to a few pieces of tableware. We both love cooking and entertaining and the seafood theme fits perfectly with our own seaside home and kitchen in Tynemouth.
I could have watched the potter all day.
As well as ceramics there are other crafts. I cannot pass a jewellery shop and I’m so pleased we went in. The jewellery is exquisite so we bought gifts for our daughters and I bought two pairs of earrings for myself.
This lovely lady explained that she uses silk to make the jewellery, the same way in which lace is made. She was an absolute beauty and she gave me a friendship bracelet as we were leaving. Her shop is called Bizoudaki Handmade Creations. Do take a look because she ships worldwide. (See my earrings in this honeymoon outfit).
From what we could see, there are only two places to eat in Margarites. We had a simple and utterly delicious lunch at Taverna Mantalos. It has panoramic views and a beautiful terrace in dappled shade. (See more here). I wish we could have stayed longer, or eaten there one evening too.
We drove past the entrance to Metaxakis Winery on our way to Margarites. We planned to visit a winery but hadn’t quite pinpointed which one. So on our way back, we decided to call in on spec to see if there were any tours and/or tastings. It looked deserted but we cautiously entered and shouted hello. A young man replied and appeared a minute or to later. We apologised for just calling in and asked if there were any tours. He told us that they were closing up for the day, but that he would give us a tour if we wanted. It turned out that it was the day of the first harvest of the new season.
Just look at the view.
Metaxakis Winery is a very new family business and everything, from picking the grapes to bottling the wine is done by hand. The young man, Manolos, explained that he his parents run the winery and that he and his brother help.
Manolos’s mum appeared with cheese, olives and bread and Manolos gave us tasting notes and information on a red, a white and a rose wine.
They were all truly delicious so we bought six bottles to bring home. Manolos and his mum were so hospitable, especially because we only called in on the off chance. It was so lovely to see this small, fledgling family business and to learn more about their wine. Their pride was a joy to behold.
If we are ever in this part of Crete again, we will go back to the village of Margarites and to Metaxakis Winery. Our day out was one of the highlights of our honeymoon.
Notes and more information.
Another authentic Cretan village I would recommend visiting is Mochlos, a small fishing village to the east of Agios Nikolaos. We went there last year and again, it was one of the highlights of the holiday. There’s a lot more info in this post that I wrote about our trip to Crete last year which also includes Spinalonga and Agios Nikolaos.
Remember to take a look at this short video I made about our day in Margarites because it really does bring everything to life.