The sunshine of the mind

Time is still. The clouds of daily routine have faded away. The sun is shining in your mind. Holidays. It is not just a break for you; it is a reward, a generous gift to yourself and your family. You have been waiting a whole year for these days, you have worked for them, you have earned them. But when they arrive, they always seem so few. Well then, let’s make them unforgettable.

If you are just looking for any hotel in Crete, then you are going to have to deal with a whole lot of choices, good and bad. But if you are looking for a beautiful, quiet, authentic and hospitable family hotel in Crete, combining comfortable and quality accommodation with a fascinating journey in Cretan tradition, history and nature, then the decision becomes much easier. It is not by chance that over 90% of our guests say that they would choose Alianthos Garden Hotel for their holidays again. And it is not by chance that over 30% of them do so, for many consecutive years. This is our reward, our gift.

Alianthos Garden Hotel is located in the peaceful and beautiful Plakias, in Southern Crete, in front of the immense and mystical Libyan Sea. Everything here is made for holidays, even the “architecture” of the natural scenery. It is like God has specifically designed this place for the clearing of the mind and the relaxation of the soul. But it is not just its location in the heart of Plakias that makes Alianthos Garden Hotel one of the most beautiful hotels in Crete. Above all, it is the kindness, the hospitality and the open heart of our people. After all, this is Crete: an open heart.

All of us at Alianthos Garden Hotel welcome you, with the promise that we will do our best to take the past year “off your shoulders” and give you strength and beautiful memories for the next one.

The awards and distinctions of the Alianthos Garden:

Health and safety

Your and your family’s health and safety is beyond negotiation. We are fully aware of that and we have taken all the relative measures. The only thing you have to do is enjoy your holiday, without thinking about what might go wrong.
  • Advanced, centrally monitored fire safety system, which includes smoke/fire detectors and automatic sprinklers
  • Safety exits, security lights, fire alarms and fire extinguishers in every hall and communal area
  • Automatic emergency power generator and autonomous 20 hour water supply On-call doctor available 24/7
  • On-call doctor available 24/7
  • Water filtering, softening, chlorinating and monthly microbiologic and chemical check
  • Quality control system ISO 22000

Accessibility

Alianthos Garden Hotel is designed to provide full access to people with disabilities. Four gradients ensure smooth access to all communal areas (restaurant, bar, reception), whereas a special ramp and handrail provides access to the swimming pool. In addition, there is a specially designed communal WC, plus two elevators big enough to fit a wheelchair.

What’s more, the hotel offers one room for people with disabilities, with plenty of space around the bed and less furniture for easier mobility, as well as a specially designed bathroom with a plastic foldaway chair in the shower and lower height washstand and mirror. All this room’s doors open outwardly.

Travellers with disabilities should also know that Plakias is a practically flat village, ensuring effortless mobility.

Environmental consciousness

Alianthos Garden Family Hotel lies within a beautiful natural environment with authentic Mediterranean characteristics. Protecting this environment is more than an eco-tourism marketing approach for us. It is a duty and a commitment to ourselves.

For many years, Alianthos Garden Hotel has been implementing a variety of ecological measures which include:
  • Usage of COCO-MAT mattresses and pillows, which are made of 100% natural materials (natural rubber, lavender, goose feathers and organic cotton)
  • Water saving, energy saving and solid waste reduction programs
  • Low consumption bulbs
  • Water heating through solar energy
  • Reinforced pipe insulation for both cold and hot water
  • Controlled change of bedding
  • Recycling of batteries and electric and electronic appliances
  • Recycling Bins in distinct spots
  • Pool water filtering and quality check
  • Double windowpanes
  • Usage of energy class A devices and appliances

You should also know that the beach of Plakias has been awarded with the Blue Flag.

Your experience in the South of Crete

should start from your room.

Swimming Pool

Alianthos Garden’s swimming pool is more than just a swimming pool. It is the hotel’s central attraction, a meeting point, an entertainment “stage” and a relaxation spot. Around it, you can enjoy your meal, your cocktail or your coffee, read your book or just close your eyes and rest in one of the sun-beds. In the meantime, just a few meters away, our little friends enjoy endless dips in their very own swimming pool.

Restaurant

Extra virgin olive oil, wild herbs, legumes, traditional cheese, high quality meat, thyme honey, plenty of vegetables, fruit and many other treasurable goods combined with knowledge and audacity. This is the famous Cretan Cuisine. Whether you choose half-board accommodation or accommodation with breakfast, Alianthos Garden’s chef, Michalis Panagiotakis, and his experienced team, will take you on the most memorable journey in Cretan gastronomy. Enjoy your breakfast and dinner in the restaurant or on the terrace next to the swimming pool, along with a glass of wine from our well-sorted cellar.

Bar

Even on vacation, there are times when we need a break to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves, relax or enjoy a quick meal. At Alianthos Garden’s bar - right next to the swimming pool -, you can do all of that and more. Enjoy fresh juices, refreshing smoothies, local soda drinks and lovely snacks. And for those moments when you want something more special, there is a large variety of exotic cocktails waiting to be discovered.

Activities for kids

Who said that relaxation and entertainment is an adult prerogative? At Alianthos Garden Hotel, children have their very own swimming pool, a playground in the garden, lots of table games, outdoor chess and much more, for endless fun. Kids’ facilities are located in the heart of the hotel, so that parents may have full supervision without interrupting their own relaxation or activity.

Experience the highest quality services

provided by our hotel.

This is your chance to do all those

things you would never do back home.

Enjoy a photographic journey looking at

the Alianthos Garden gallery.

Plakias

Starting point: Rethymno City. Travel south into the wild but beautiful inland. After about 36 km you will reach Plakias. This is where you stop; a new journey now begins. You are in one of the most popular resorts in Crete but also one of the most beloved resorts all over Greece.

In Plakias you will find everything you need. Shops, super markets, car rental companies and travel agencies. However, Plakias was not always that popular. Almost 40 years ago, there were no more than 10 residences in the village. Perhaps, this is why the natural environment has managed to keep its original characteristics and biodiversity.

Yet, it’s not just its natural environment that makes Plakias one of the most popular resorts in Crete. In the land of the beautiful alianthos flower, grows the most authentic form of Cretan hospitality as well. The people of Plakias have not changed with time. They keep the Cretan tradition and moral alive. They also keep their doors open, for anyone who truly wants to get to know them.

Plakias beach

The Blue Flag awarded beach of Plakias is one of the most famous and at the same time one of the longest beaches in Crete (1.3 km length). Every year thousands of visitors enjoy its turquoise, crystal-clear, cool waters and sandy coastline. It is a well-organized beach with many comforts (sunbeds, umbrellas), while, at the same time, it is perfect for scuba diving activities (scuba diving tours, scuba diving lessons), windsurfing and much more. The road along the beach is ideal for walking or cycling. Every September, the famous alianthos flower spreads a beautiful white “blanket” all over the beach.

The eastern part of the beach is called Paligremnos. It is actually a group of huge vertical cliffs that rise to a great height above the sea. These cliffs are suitable for climbing. As such, they attract many enthusiasts of the sport, from all over Crete, not only in the summer but during the winter as well.

On every full moon, from September to January, a strange phenomenon occurs at Paligremnos: the moon light is reflected on the mirror-like towering cliffs, enticing many squids to come out on the coast. Of course, the locals seize the chance to collect them.

Damnoni Beach

Damnoni beach is located about 5 km east of Plakias. It has turquoise waters and crude white sand and it is surrounded by high mountains. At the west end of the beach, there is a small stream with water all year long. Damnoni is the best organized beach around Plakias, offering a wide range of water sports, such as sailing, windsurfing, banana and ringo inflatable, water skiing, wakeboarding, water polo, canoeing, rowing and pedalo. Those who prefer quieter spots can move either to the east end of the beach, which connects to Ammoudaki beach via a short dirt road or to the west end of the beach featuring small coves with sand and pebbles.

Ammoudi, Kleisidi & Ammoudaki beaches

Ammoudi is located 7 km east of Plakias, 10 minutes on foot from Damnoni beach. The beach has crude white sand, rockbound seabed and deep green waters. It is great for scuba diving or snorkeling. West of Ammoudi, between two long rocks, there is an amazing tiny little sandy beach with turquoise waters. This beach is called Kleisidi. The landmark of the beach is a large rock emerging from the sea. Kleisidi is probably the most “well hidden”, wind-free place in Southern Crete. West of Kleisidi, there is Mikro Ammoudi or Ammoudaki beach, with turquoise waters and thick white sand. These two beaches are interconnected through an underwater hole that gets you from the one to the other with just a plunge! Be careful though. Do not try it unless you are highly confident.

Souda beach

Souda is located at the west end of Plakias seafront. It is an organized beach, which lies into a verdurous vale crossed by the Foinikas river. Souda beach has thick sand and very clear, cold waters. On both ends there are rocks ideal for fishing or scuba diving.

Shoinaria beach

The beach of Shoinaria is located almost 3 km west of Lefkogia Village. It is the only place in South Crete, with such impressive natural characteristics both above and under the sea. On the beach, you can see little lakes formed by the surrounding mountain streams. The first thing you will notice is the light blue colour of the sea and the sculpture-like marble rocks. The beach has thin grey-beige sand and pebble, with deep and clear waters, while its seabed is very rocky. Nowhere in Crete will you encounter such rich marine life. The water clarity here is really impressive out to 40m. This is why Shoinaria beach is considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in Crete. An international scuba diving school is located here, accepting students from all over the world.

Preveli beach

It is definitely the most popular beach in South Crete, but also one of the most popular beaches all over Greece. It welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The beach is formed at the exit of Megas Potamos (Great River), which crosses Kourtaliotis Gorge. The majestic rocks along with Theofrastos Palm Trees create an amazing landscape. On the eastern side, there is a beautiful rock that resembles a mast. The beach is sandy with pebble seabed and very cool waters because of the river. It is not organized - no umbrellas -, so as to protect and preserve the beauty of the natural environment. Years ago, it used to be hippies’ favorite destination.

There are three different ways to get to the beach;

1. By car until the parking lot of the lake (note: there is a second parking lot in the Abbey) then on foot walking downwards for 15 minutes (stairway and path)
2. By car until the beach of Drimmiskiano Ammoudi (west of Preveli beach) and then on foot through the short path (5 minutes)
3. By ship/boat from Plakias (departure at 10.00 am – return 15.00 pm)

Fragokastelo

The historical Fragokastelo is located approximately 29 km west of Plakias. The village’s landmark is the castle of Droussolites. It is actually a defense tower built by Venetians between 1371-1374 A.C.. Its purpose was to protect them from the attacks of the local rebels from Sfakia. Some local legends say that every year, on the day of the Battle of Fragokastelo (18th of May, 1828), entire hordes of warriors appear in the form of shadows parading in front of the castle. The shadows are only visible in the dewiness of the early morning hours (= drossoula in Greek). Perhaps this is what the castle was named after.

Preveli

Preveli is located about 35 km south of Rethymno and 10 km east of Plakias, where Kourtaliotis Gorge ends. It is famous all over Crete - but also outside the island -, not just because of the history of Preveli Abbey, which led all of Crete’s revolutionary battles over the centuries, but also for the beauty of its natural environment. Megas Potamos (Great River) debouches into the southern sea shaping beautiful lakes (this is why Preveli is also called Preveli Lake). On the riverbank there is a native colony of Theofrastos Palm Trees, which creates an exotic scenery. Unfortunately, a huge fire burned part of the colony on the 22nd of August, 2010. However, in just a few months the palm trees showed signs of life again, without any realistic explanation.

Chora Sfakion

Chora Sfakion Village is located about 42 km west of Plakias and 15 km from Fragokastelo. If the distance is troubling you, we would like to assure you that the route as well as the village itself will definitely make it up to you. Sfakia is probably the most famous village in Crete! And this is a fame well deserved, since it is one of the very few places in Greece that were never captured, during both the Turkish and the Venetian Domination. Sfakia is considered a symbol of Cretan bravery. Even today, its people hold on to their beliefs, their lands and their tradition like no other village. Here, you will taste the notorious Sfakiani pita, a pie with homemade pastry and traditional cheese.

The village is especially scenic. In recent years it has seen significant touristic growth, mainly because of its strategic location; it is one of the main “hubs” in southwestern Crete, with sea connections to Gavdos, Loutro, Agia Roumeli etc.

Loutro and surrounding beaches

Loutro is a small fishing village, located about 65 km west of Plakias, at the end of cape Mouri. It is a natural port that was mainly used by the residents of Sfakia. What makes Loutro really special is the fact that it has remained untouched by the effects of mass tourism. You will not see large hotels with swimming pools here. No busy roads, no fancy restaurants or famous beaches. Not even cars, since Loutro is accessible only by boat (you can reach it on foot but you should know that the route from Chora Sfakion or Anopoli is really long and difficult). There are daily boat routes to Loutro and from Chora sfakion, Sougia, Gavdos, Palaiochora and Agia Roumeli.

If you enjoy doing nothing, Loutro is the place for you. Here, you can truly rest and breath. Loutro is also the ideal “base” for a daytrip to Glyka Nera, Marmara, Lykos and Foinikas beaches. You can go there by taxi-boat, canoe or on foot.

Agia Galini

Agia Galini is one the most beautiful and popular (especially during the summer) villages in South Crete. It is located about 48 km east of Plakias. It is built amphitheatrically, on the base of Asiderotos, Kedros and Psiloritis mountains. Its numerous paved alleys are perfect for summer walks, while the small traditional stores and taverns will put you well in the spirit of Cretan hospitality and gastronomy.

In the summer months, Agia Galini’s port is full of yachts and sailboats. Sea lovers gather here to have some fresh fish and refuel, but also because of the village’s symbolism (galini means peacefulness).

Spili

Spili is the largest village and central hub of Rethymno’s inland. It is located 22 km north of Plakias. In the previous years, it was the capital of Agios Vassilios region – where Plakias belongs nowadays. Spili is famous for its waters, a privilege and heritage from Psiloritis Mountain. The village’s main square features huge age-old Plane-tree and a fountain with 25 lion-head founts, which stream spring water all year long.

The village’s name comes from the numerous cavities (Spili = cave) located in the mountain of Vorizi. Traces of ancient paths have been found there. Before you leave, you can visit the village’s old churches, decorated with beautiful wall paintings. There are several mansions as well. Thanassis Skordalos, one of the greatest masters of Cretan music, was born in one of them.

Rethymno

The most friendly and inviting city in Crete. In Rethymno every day feels like a holiday.

Visit Fortezza Fortress and hear its old war stories. Walk in the alleys of the Old Town and see how Turkish and Renaissance architectural elements blend to create a mythical atmosphere. Taste the authentic Cretan food, talk to the locals, live like a Rethymnian, just for a while.

Rethymno is located 36 km north of Plakias. Just follow the country road from Plakias to Rethymno. It is a beautiful route through several gorges and beautiful scenery.

Chania

Take a walk in the Old Port of Chania or in the market and you will not be able to forget this experience. Chania is Crete’s crown jewel!

Chania could be imaginably split in three parts; the modern city, the Old Town and the port. The Old Town is a museum in itself, with a lot of Venetian buildings but also strong elements from the Saracens culture. Chania’s landmark is the Old Lighthouse predominating the Old Port.

You should definitely visit one of the traditional taverns and restaurants located in the Old Port. Some of them are built of stone and decorated with pediments. In the street, you will see many craftsmen exhibiting their work.

It takes about 1 hour to drive from Rethymno to Chania. We suggest comfortable shoes and clothes.

Heraklion - Knossos

Heraklion is the capital of Crete, the biggest harbour and the economic and scientific center of the island. Its strategic position, among three continents and many different civilizations, makes it one of the largest hubs in southeastern Mediterranean.

It was exactly this position that brought many consecutive raids from various civilizations that wanted to capture the city near the end of the first millennium. Heraklion was built by Saracen pirates in 824 A.D. under conqueror Abu Hafez. The city’s initial name was Handax and it was surrounded by a large fortress and a deep trench. The Byzantine Empire never accepted this fact and, after several attempts, it recaptured the city under the Emperor Nikiforos II Fokas.

About 5 km southeast of Heraklion lies the legendary Palace of Knossos; home to the glorious Minoan Civilization, which flourished earlier than the Civilization of Athens, only to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 B.C.. Many legends, such as Labyrinth’s, Minotaur’s and Icarus’, were born here.

Nowadays, the city of Heraklion offers many options to visitors. Apart from its huge marketplace and the numerous beautiful small shops, cafés and stores, one can enjoy various cultural events, such as theaters, concerts etc.

It’s worth spending a whole day in Heraklion. Do not leave without visiting the Archaelogical Museum, with exhibits from the Minoan and the following eras.

Arkadi Abbey

Arkadi Abbey is a bright chapter and an integral part of Cretan history. The Turkish Domination found the Abbey in days of great prosperity. Ever since, the struggles against conquerors but most importantly the sacrifices of the people who lived and died there have inspired the entire world.

Arkadi Abbey is located in Rethymno inland, almost 25 km south of Rethymno City. It stands idyllic and proud at a height of 500 m above sea level on the foot of Psiloritis.

It is a large still inhabited monastery, which accepts approximately 100 visitors per day. There is also a small museum and a gift shop in the building. Right across the entrance there is a statue in honor the heroes who died in the fight.

The monastery remains open all year round, Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 to 19:00.

Cret@quarium

Dive in the Mediterranean Sea!

Cretaquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the Mediterranean and belongs to the Hellenic Center of Marine Research. More than 25.000 kinds of fish and invertebrates (among which about 200 Mediterranean species) live there today, promising to offer you a fascinating experience.

Come face to face with thousands of organisms. Observe their behavior and let them captivate you with their shapes and colours.

Cretaquarium is located at Gournes of Heraklion, which is connected directly to the North Road Axis of Crete. It is open from May to September, from 09:00 to 21:00, and from October to April, from 9:30 to 17:00.

Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) Museum

Dominikos Theotokopoulos or El Greco as he is widely known is considered one of the greatest painters of Spanish Renaissance. He was born in the village of Adele in Crete and began studying Post-Byzantine Art early in his life. At the age of 26 he traveled to Italy (Venice and Rome) where his art was enriched with elements of Manierism as well as Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he stayed for the rest of his life and created his most popular work. EL Greco shined for his dramatic expressionistic style, evident all over his work, which still touches and inspires many people and artists worldwide.

The Museum of Dominikos Theotokopoulos is one of the most popular museums in Crete and is located in Fodele, a small village in Malevisi Province a few km west of Heraklion. You can reach it easily by turning left at the 53rd km of the National Road from Rethymno to Heraklion (you will see signs). Close to Fodele there are also some beautiful beaches (Bali, Agia Pelagia).

The museum is open from the 1st of April to the end of October, daily, from 09:00 to 19:00.

Faistos

Faistos or the Minoan Palace of Faistos is located in the valley of Messara, 55 km south of Heraklion City and very close to Agia Triada, Gortyna and Matala, all of which are locations with special archaeological interest.

Faistos constitutes a great monument of Cretan Civilization and history, a city that - situated in the fertile Messara Valley - achieved substantial growth from 6.000 BC to 100 BC, according to archaeological findings.

The Palace attracts thousands of visitors every year. You can reach it either through Heraklion City or through the country road “Melampes – Agia Galini”.

It is open on Mondays, from 13.00 to 19.30, and Wednesdays and Fridays, from 08.00 to 19.30.

Oriseum Museum

The Oriseum Museum is not what most people expect from a museum. It is actually the personal collection of an everyday man who loved Crete and its culture, Papa-Michalis Georgoulakis.

Since he was 15 years old, Papa-Michalis started collecting various objects from a really intuitive point of view, knowing that present becomes past very fast. The result is an astonishing collection featuring life in Crete in the 20th century. Such a collection cannot be found anywhere in the world.

Papa-Michalis died in 2008 in the age of 87. Today, the Museum is operated by his son George and his wife, Romi. On site there is an idyllic coffee shop as well as a gift shop with souvenirs. Oriseum Museum is also used for art events. Undoubtedly, the Oriseum Museum constitutes one of the most beautiful and authentic museums in Crete.

It is open from Monday to Friday, from 10:00to 22:00 and from Saturday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00. Ticket: 3.50€/person.

Environment and Climate conditions in Plakias

The climate of Plakias could be described as temperate Mediterranean. During the winter, the soft winds from Africa warm the atmosphere, while the sun bathes Plakias and the villages around it. The sunlight here reaches 92%. In contrast, during the summer, north winds coming from the mountains clean and illuminate the atmosphere, carrying a revitalizing freshness that awakens your body and soul.

Lovers of nature will find Plakias especially interesting. Rare species of flora and fauna but also important migratory species make up a beautiful habitat that has managed to keep its wild features and authentic beauty for thousands of years.

The seabed of the southern seacoast is equally fascinating. Diving in these waters causes awe even to the most experienced divers.
Contact Information
Alianthos Garden Hotel
Address: GR-74060 Plakias Rethimno,
Crete, Greece
ΜΗΤΕ : 1041K013A0117900
Telephone (winter): (+30) 6978 488117
Telephone: (+30) 28320 31280
Fax : (+30) 28320 31282
info@alianthos.gr

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How to get to Plakias

Crete has two airports, one in the City of Heraklion and one in City of Chania (117 and 100 km from Plakias respectively). Rethymno is between these two cities. The faster way to get to Plakias is through Rethymno City.

The hotel can be reached by bus, taxi or rental car. Please check out autopreveli, Alianthos Garden’s car rental subsidiary, offering 20% discount for all hotel customers.

By car

Either from Heraklion or Chania, follow the signs to Rethymno or/and to the National Road. When you reach Rethymno take the second exit (towards “Spili”) following the country road (you are traveling south). After 17 km, you will reach an intersection. Turn right, following the direction to “Plakias” and “Preveli”. This is the Koxares-Preveli road. In about 4 km, you will reach Kourtaliotis Gorge. At end of the gorge, you will see Asomatos Village. At the village exit, there is another intersection. Turn left towards “Plakias” and “Preveli”. Next, you will meet Lefkogia Village. Follow the direction to Plakias.

By Bus (Public Bus Service – KTEL)

Take a taxi to the central bus station of Heraklion or Chania. There is regular service to Rethymno. When you reach the central bus station of Rethymno, take the bus to Plakias.

By Taxi

At every port or airport, there are taxis that can take you directly to Plakias. Indicative cost from Heraklion to Plakias: 110€. Indicative cost from Chania to Plakias: 100€.