A place made of stone and wind, a living museum of Cretan architecture and tradition, a trip to the past, where pristine nature prevails. Discover the secret beauties of Mirabello, a serene mountainous region with scattered traditional villages and old windmills just a breath away from the busy resorts of Elounda and Plaka and about a 30min drive from Malia. The region was once upon a time famous for its almond and carob production and its villages still preserve the authentic vibe of traditional Crete. Mirabello also has a number of beautiful temples and monasteries, lovely trails in nature and a pristine coast, “saved” from the invasion of tourism due to the strong winds that make the sea inhospitable, most of the times.
The traditional settlements of Kasteli & Fourni
Driving around the villages Mirabello you will notice a lot of ruined houses made of stone, the dominant natural material of the region. These typical Cretan village houses stand as testimonies of bygone times and it is well worth to explore their interior and imagine how life must have been about a century ago. However, you can still find villages that preserve traditional Cretan architecture and lifestyle in Mirabello, where people still live and thrive. Two of these villages are Kasteli & Fourni, built almost side by side. During your tour of Mirabello, make sure you stop there to explore the scenic village lanes and wonderful temples, and definitely visit the village taverns, serving authentic Cretan food.
The Monastery of Areti
The ascetic landscape of Mirabello inspired the construction of many small monasteries, most of which are abandoned today. One of the Monasteries that are still inhabited today and you must visit is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Areti, located next to the village of Karydi, at a rocky and barren location. Areti is one of the five most important fortified monasteries of Crete and was restored recently to accommodate monks and visitors again. The walls of the Monastery hide a beautiful garden within them, vaulted storage rooms, monk cells, and two Venetian temples at the center of the enclosure. Take your time to explore the spaces of the Monastery and perhaps you will listen to some interesting stories from the monks.
The coast of Kato Selles
Driving towards the coast of Mirabello from Kato Selles, you will cross more traditional villages, picturesque cafes and old windmills, some of which have been renovated. As you descend to the coast, you enjoy a breathtaking view to the Cretan Sea and the surrounding mountains. The coast of Kato Selles is pristine and wild, and hides several small pebbled coves with crystal clear waters, which, however, are rarely calm for swimming. Still, it is worth exploring them to get an idea of how Cretan coasts looked like before the growth of the tourist industry and appreciate nature and simplicity.