Casa dei Mezzo

Makrigialos, Crete, Greece Book from Book from £583 per night

Stylish villa combining classical Greek lines, Moorish water features and cool Scandinavian interiors (sleeps up to 8)
The wooden roof casts slatted shadows across the pool, while marble columns bisect the backdrop of silver-green olive trees and blue-blue sea. Water trickles from a carved conch down a tiled flume into the pool. Behind, dry mountains rear up; below lie the fishing town and beaches of Makriyialos.

This casa, built on a Venetian olive estate (there are still 10,000m² of trees), stands out from the island’s many identikit villas and restored farmhouses like the Acropolis above the hoi polloi. It was designed by two architects in tandem with the Norwegian owner, and they have been bold and original in their vision. Stone-clad wings enclose green lawns and a raised patio-cum-pool. Interiors are clean and cool, with white walls, varnished floorboards and sliding picture-windows. The 4 double bedrooms have air-con and ensuite showers, while the kitchen fittings put other villas to shame. Team up with some friends for an indulgent week of swimming, boating, hiking, sunbathing, lazy lunches and fish dinners.


  • Stunning setting among olive groves above Makriyialos
  • Stylish contemporary interiors - a rarity in Greece
  • Blissful pool and patio with sea views
  • Picturesque Makriyialos is a 10-minute walk downhill
  • Sandy beaches, limestone gorges, Minoan sites, Orthodox monasteries, even an uninhabited island are all within easy reach


  • It ain’t cheap (but it sure is pretty)
  • Some of the coast nearby is swathed in polytunnels
  • Bedrooms are all double-bedded (no twins)
  • Because of unprotected drops around the pool, the villa is not suitable for children under 9 (if you're travelling with kids, try their sister property The White Houses)

Best time to go

The best periods are April-May (spring flowers, snowy peaks, cool seas) and September-October (slanting sunshine, warm seas). If it's too cool inside, you can switch the wall-mounted air-con units to heating mode. July and August can be extremely hot, but you have the benefit of additional boat trips and water sports. In August, most of Greece is on holiday so expect crowded beaches and bustling tavernas.

Our top tips

Hire a car and explore the stark and stunning far east of Crete (old maps may not show the new road): start at the sleepy town of Sitia, continue past Toplou monastery (forbidding exterior, welcoming monks), to the tropical palm beaches at Vai (crowded in summer) or Palekastro (less crowded, but less palmy); and don’t miss the breathtaking ‘Valley of the Dead’ and Minoan ruins at Zakros.

Great for...

  • Luxury Villa
  • 4
  • Self-catering (+ restaurants nearby)
  • Over 9s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Gardener and pool cleaning


Step inside the main entrance, past the specially commissioned icon of St. John who blesses new arrivals, and you’ll find yourself in a funky glass corridor which connects the 2 parts of the building. On one side, in a separate wing from the main house, are 2 double or twin bedrooms; on the other, leading towards to the sitting room, are the other 2 (both double-bedded). All have ensuite bathrooms with power showers and heated tiles for the cooler months.

Décor is clean, white and modern, with a minimum of furniture: wide sprung beds, ample pillows, a cushioned chest at its foot, bedside tables and generous built-in wardrobes. Full-length cream curtains keep the sun out by day; ceiling downlighters give halogen brightness after dark (there’s nothing dingy about these rooms). One room has sliding French windows to lordly views over the coast of Makriyialos and its shimmering olive branches; the other 3 are side-facing, but still have good views and plenty of sun.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Grand Piano
  • Internet access
  • Iron
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine


Cooking here is a pleasure. The open-plan kitchen-diner is well thought-out and properly equipped: split-level oven, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, kettle (still quite rare in Greek villas), coffee percolator, and a decent array of utensils, chopping boards, cutlery and crockery stacked in wall mounted units. You’ll find a well-stocked larder, including a bottle of the green oil from the estate’s own olives (organically farmed, no less). If cooking still doesn’t tempt you, ask Nikos, the resident manager, to book a cook, who will do all the shopping, serve up fantastic Greek dinners and even share his recipes.

There’s a table for 6 inside (or you can perch on moulded plastic bar-stools for breakfast); but most of your dining will take place on the outside patio, looking down on sparkling seas or up at sparkling stars. You can choose to sit in the sheltered ‘court’ between house and pool (for shady lunches), or out on the patio’s edge (for sunset dinners).

If you prefer to dine out, Makriyialos harbour is a 10-15 minute walk away, with a string of old-fashioned tavernas serving fresh-grilled fish, home-baked veg dishes and the juiciest of Greek salads, all accompanied by tangy retsina and goats’ cheese.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Welcome hamper


  • Makriyialos (10-15 mins walk) is the prettiest town on this stretch of coast, with a picturesque fishing harbour, traces of Minoan and Roman settlements, a wide choice of waterfront tavernas and a bustling Friday market
  • Take a caique (fishing boat) to the uninhabited island of Koufonisi (daily trips in summer, 45 mins each way), where the ancients farmed murex shellfish for their intense purple dye; today there are scanty ruins of a theatre and temple, and a simple café on the sandy beach
  • Hikers can explore marked, pine-shaded tracks through the Pefki valley, a few miles east of Makriyialos; climb the rocky 1500-metre summit of Afendis Estravromenos; or trek through the breathtaking Thripti gorge that gashes through its flanks (start from Orino, 30 mins drive away)
  • The buzzing north-coast town of Ayios Nikolaos, the swanky resorts and golf courses of Elounda, the leper island of Spinalonga and the mountain plateau of Lasithi are all feasible as day-trips from here
  • Crete is a wonderfully diverse island, with lots more to see and do. For more of our favourites, check out our destination guide

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing


Regrettably, it is not suitable for children under the age of 9, because of unprotected drops around the patio and pool (which is a uniform 2m deep), and because of the expensive, breakable furnishings - including a valuable Bosendorfer grand piano.

Kid Friendly:

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