We hope you have a fantastic stay in this beautiful part of the world. Here is some practical information you may find useful.
Our tirelessly efficient and ever helpful property manager Kym is the main contact if you need anything. She can be reached on: +30 694 399 3264.
INTERNET AND TV
Wifi is free, choose the network Poppy or Poppy Upstairs and the password is aloni0202. The Internet TV lets you to log on to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime with your own account. There is an Amazon firestick with a separate remote control. The firestick lets you stream video, install apps, play music etc on the tv. There are instructions by the TV. There is also a DVD player.
Kym will come in regularly to clean your infinity pool and make sure it remains in top condition. You can use the net to remove leaves.
Air conditioning units are in the two bedrooms and downstairs. Please close all doors and windows when using it and please turn it off when you go out. In the heat of the day if you keep doors and windows closed, the rooms stay much cooler. During the cooler months there is central heating, turn it on using the switch by the stairs. Please remember to turn it off before you go out. It heats the house quickly.
WASHING, WATER, CLEANING, RUBBISH
There are instruction leaflets for the washing machine, oven, television etc in a box on the shelf above the washing machine. The cold water in summer can get hot and if your clothes need to be rinsed in cold water, it is best to do washing first thing in the morning.
A drying frame, iron, ironing board, washing powder and softener are provided.
Hot water: please don’t be concerned if it takes a while at first for hot water to come out of the taps: in the summer we use a solar-powered rooftop boiler and the water has to travel down from there. Leave the tap on for a minute and it will come. In spring and autumn, if it has been cloudy, the water may not be hot enough for prolonged use and you might need to use the back-up system. Go to the fuse panel by the front door and flick on the switches marked “Hot water backup.”
Cleaning materials are in the cupboard in the washing machine room or under the kitchen sink.
There is a green rubbish bin a few metres up the main road towards Agios – in the lay-by just before the turn-off to the Daios Cove resort.
We provide one pool towel per person which is changed every seven days.
For the bathroom, we provide one large and one small towel per person. These are each changed twice per week.
Bed linen will be changed every seven days.
You are welcome to wash towels or linen in the washing machine.
Please ask Kym if you require extra pillows.
If your stay is longer than 7 nights, we offer a mid-holiday clean. Please coordinate with Kym re the timing.
KEYS, SECURITY & SAFE
The safe is in one of the bedrooms and has a key. If you lose the key, Kym has a spare but there will be a charge for re-cutting a replacement.
We have a barbecue with coal. There is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen to the right of the sink.
The terrace and pool lights come on automatically at night but the pergola light can be switched off via a switch on the wooden pillar by the barbecue. The terrace also has solar-powered fairy lights.
There are small supermarkets and a bakery at Istron 5 minutes’ drive away. Most are open 7 days a week 0900-2100. Istron also has restaurants including Lukia’s, which we like.
In and close to Agios Nikolaos (less than 10 minutes’ drive along the coast road) there is Lidl, Carrefour and Marinopoulous (English name Spar) plus many small supermarkets and convenience stores.
Lidl is open 0800-2100 (2000 on Saturday), closed on Sunday.
Carrefour is open 0900-2100, closed on Sunday.
Spar is open 0800-2100, closed on Sunday.
The street market in Agios Nikolaos takes place on Wednesdays next to the hospital. It has fresh fish, vegetables, fruit, cheese and clothes.
Please vacate the villa by 1100 and leave the keys in the key box by the front door. If you have a late flight and would like to stay a few hours longer, please coordinate with Kym. It may well be possible if no new guests are arriving that day.
LIST OF CONTENTS:
Bed linen, towels.
Coat hangers in wardrobes, hairdryers, mosquito plugs, TV, DVD, safe.
Toaster, kettle, blender/juicer, oven and hob, coffee machines (percolator and Nespresso capsule machine with some complimentary capsules to get you started), microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, iron and ironing board, washing machine and washing powder, cutlery, sharp knives, pizza cutter, scissors, matches, candles, tea towels, dishcloths, washing up liquid. BBQ, tools, charcoal and lighting blocks, sun loungers and small tables, clothes drying frame, pegs.
USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS
Greece International dialing code is +30
Emergency service: 112
Hospital: 28413 43000. There is a walk-in emergency department for children. Go to the main reception and they will tell you where to go.
Tourist Police: 28410 91418
Dentist: 28410 25600
Pharmacy: 28410 61180. On the left as you enter Istron. Very friendly. Open 0900-1400, 1700-2100. Closes at 1400 on Saturday and all day Sunday. Plus many in Agios Nikolaos, of course.
Doctor: Dr Artur in Agios Nikolaos.
Office 28410 21674, Mobile: 6938 282712.
Also: 28410 23392 - general practitioner on tourist information leaflet
Tourist Information Office: 28410 22357, next to bridge by lake in Agios Nikolaos
Taxi: Costas and Yannis: 6944 536987 and 6947 433766
SOME NEARBY PLACES TO VISIT
There are superb sandy beaches for swimming within minutes of the villa. Also nearby are picturesque hillside villages, dramatic mountains, historic sites and monasteries in spectacularly scenic settings.
We have left a folder with maps and leaflets on places of interest but here are a few tips.
The charming town, the biggest in the area, is just 7 km away. There is free parking at the port, or you can leave your car at the marina for 3.50 euros a day.
The town has a relaxed feel and is a great place to shop and enjoy views of the lake, sea and mountains in cafes, bars and tavernas.
A great, airy cafe/bar for morning coffee or evening drinks is Peripou Coffee House/Bar overlooking Lake Voulismeni.
On the hill on the other side of the lake is Chez Georges with tables outside.
We also like the Du Lac hotel bar and the Migomis Piano Restaurant and Café for drinks and food overlooking the lake.
This uninhabited island which was a Venetian fort before becoming a leper colony is a fascinating step back into history. Full of atmosphere, it is the inspiration for Victoria Hislop’s book The Island. It is worth spending a few hours exploring this unique spot which has fantastic views. It is a short ferry ride from Plaka or Elounda and boats sail regularly through the day.
A traditional Cretan hillside village with whitewashed houses, pretty flowers and friendly cats roaming the streets. There are tourist shops, cafes and restaurants. It is also a relaxing - and cool - place to spend an evening.
Also worth a stop is Panagia Kera, a charming Byzantine Church with impressive frescoes and a shady cafe and shop metres away. This is signposted on the main road shortly before you get to Kritsa. The village is about 20 minutes’ drive from the villa.
Perched high up on a hill, this beautiful monastery with sweeping views of Mirabello Bay has two welcoming monks and a tiny church built into a cave. The scenic drive up a winding road is about 30 minutes from the villa.
On this high plain surrounded by mountains, you can see traditional windmills, some of which are still in use. The fertile land is rich in flowers, fruit and vegetables. You can drive all round the plateau, stopping at various villages, churches, tavernas and beauty spots.
You can also visit the birthplace of Zeus at Dikteon Cave.
The plateau is reached on mountain roads offering stupendous views. Keep an eye out for eagles gliding across the sky. You need just over an hour to drive there, unless you stop to take in the irresistible views along the way.
Some of the best beaches in Crete are within a few minutes’ drive of the villa. Many are sandy with beautiful, clear water and when there is a wind, big waves add to the fun. Here is a taster of some of the nearest ones to the villa.
Almyros Beach is a lovely sandy beach in a bay on the road to Agios Nikolaos. It has a freshwater stream running into it so the water is not very salty and it is very shallow for a long way out. There are beds, umbrellas, a kantina and water sports.
Ammoudara is great sandy beach on the road to Agios Nikolaos in a small bay with parking and eating places, umbrellas and beds.
Voulisma is a fantastic beach to swim just beyond Istron. It has a longer stretch of sand and is well set up with beds, umbrellas and a good kantina that overlooks the beach from halfway up the hill between it and the road.
Istron/Kalo Horio is the nearest beach to swim, it is sandy/shingly with beds and umbrellas. There is a kantina and Wifi. It is signposted off the main road through Istron.
Elounda, beyond Agios Nikolaos, is a resort with a long, sandy beach and great swimming. There are some super-luxury hotels nearby used by the mega rich. There is a large car park in the centre of town, right by the sea and a range of tavernas and cafes along the front. There are also lots of shops.
Plaka, just beyond Elounda, is great for swimming but the beach is stony. The beautiful, clear water gets deep quickly. Views of Spinalonga and the sweep of Mirabello Bay are stunning.
From here you can get the boat across to Spinalonga and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes. Many specialise in fish, and some are pricey.
The Carob Tree restaurant, under a canopy by the road through the town, has a good atmosphere, tasty food and daily specials.
Agios Nikolaos also has several smaller beaches. The Kimzu Sea Lounge has a small section of beach with sunbeds on a well-kept grass area and a good, spacious cafe/restaurant. Good for children.
TRIPS FURTHER AFIELD
Vai - the only palm beach on Crete is very popular. At least two hours by car.
Touplou - a beautiful hilltop monastery which you can wander around and get spectacular views. It is just beyond the resort of Sitia and has a cafe. About 1-1/2 hours by car.
Knossos - Home of the legendary minotaur, this is Crete’s most famous archaeological site. About 45 minutes’ drive towards Heraklion.
RESTAURANTS & TAVERNAS
There are plenty of tavernas and cafes in Istron and many options for beach snacks or lunches.
Agios Nikolaos has the biggest range with restaurants and tavernas.
The pretty Kitro Platia bay in Agios Nikolaos is lined with a variety of eateries and is probably better value than by the lake.
One good option there is OfoToLo at the far end of the bay.
In town, Pelagos is a widely-recommended restaurant mainly serving seafood.
La Strada has Italian options, including good pizza, and a beautiful view of the lake.
Chez Georges (there is a restaurant as well as cafe) above the lake.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Please do not move chairs, tables, garden furniture etc to the pool side as it can cause accidents. Please check the depth of the pool and supervise children closely at all times. It is not deep enough to dive in. There is a lifebuoy on the wall beside the pool.
Please report any problems or breakages to Kym.
BALCONIES AND RAILINGS
Please ensure children are not left unsupervised on balconies and keep all balcony furniture away from the railing. Do not climb, sit on or lean over the balcony rail and do not climb from one balcony to another.
Please take care when walking through the glass doors onto the patio or upstairs balconies as in bright sunlight or at night it can be hard to spot if they are open or closed.
Please do not leave the BBQ unattended and make sure it is fully extinguished after use. Please remember not to put hot ashes in interior bins or plastic rubbish bags.
Please exercise caution when handling electrical appliances and supervise children who are using them. If you have brought electrical devices with you, please make sure you use the required adaptor suitable for local voltage.
Please report any electrical problems or broken appliances to Kym - do not try to fix them yourself.
We sometimes experience power cuts but they usually only last a couple of hours at the most. You can see whether the power cut is external by checking whether a fuse has tripped in the electrical box next to the front door. If the power loss is due to a problem in the villa, contact Kym.
Candles, matches and a torch are in the washing machine room.
FIRST AID KIT
Is in the cupboard over the broom cupboard in the utility room.
If you use any items from the first aid box, please let Kym know so we can replenish stocks.
It is best not to drink water from the tap and to buy bottled water. However, tap water is fine for the kettle, cleaning teeth, washing vegetables, salad etc. Note that at times in mid-summer the water can get very hot. In the unlikely event of the water supply being cut off, please contact Kym.
Please do not smoke in the villa. Take care when discarding matches, cigarettes etc. Never throw a cigarette end carelessly within the grounds or outside, especially near trees and plants.
PERSONAL SAFETY & SECURITY
The area is very safe but please take care of your valuables at all times, especially when you are out. We recommend you leave any valuables or surplus cash safely in the villa. Securely fasten all doors, windows and shutters when you leave the villa and never leave personal items around the pool.
Most doors and windows have nets but to avoid unwanted mosquitoes, keep doors and windows without nets closed, especially at night. There are mosquito plugs in every room. Plug them in in the evening and take them out in the morning.
Please try not to leave food out as it can attract ants.