Driving Through Koutouloufari / Video

Koutouloufari, a Picturesque Village for Alternative Holidays 

 Responding to the needs and trends of the leisure tourism of recent decades, Crete has become the favorite destination of those who seek rural holidays, away from the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan life and the over-technological world. The island is a treasure of ancient history and culture, with settlements that preserve their genuine beauty, identity, and traditions, with authentic, generous, and warm people, among whom foreign guests feel like home, enjoying the Greek lifestyle. In parallel with the development of resort-based coastal tourism, many villages have been reborn and adapted to the requirements of the hospitality industry, turning into true destination brands for "agro" or "eco" holidays.

 Koutouloufari is a small and chic village with around 600 permanent residents, about two kilometers from the coastal town of Hersonissos, very close to the Heraklion-Agios Nikolaos National Highway. Located in the heart of the most popular tourist and commercial area, the village has quick access to beaches, attractions, and shopping, while its secluded position, and the shape of an amphitheater at an altitude of 100 meters at the foot of Mount Pyrgias, provide a peaceful atmosphere and a beautiful view of the sea or the neighboring olive groves.

 In summer, Koutouloufari is full of tourists from all over the world, and is also one of the favorite places of locals for weekend outings, being only 30 minutes away by car from Heraklion. Eager to know the atmosphere and find the most interesting places, together with our friend Manos, our guide, we made a  tour by car through the village, on a beautiful early summer afternoon.

Greek Traditions in a Romantic Style

 We wandered up and down the narrow cobbled streets, admiring the traditional architectural style of the houses, with entrance arches, blue joinery, multicolored flower pots on the windows, through which cats' noses can be seen, small courtyards with benches, tables, and parterres of flowers, or terraces shaded by vine vaults. Many of these old houses and villas are occupied by tourists, but even the newer buildings - studios or boutique hotels, have a tasteful vintage-style design, fitting harmoniously with the spirit of the village.

 From place to place, at larger crossroads, markets are formed - a crowd of taverns and cafes with terraces functioning as true social venues-, where people sit for a coffee or enjoy savory meals, fresh out of the kitchens. Most taverns have traditional dishes, but for those with more exotic tastes, we even found a Chinese restaurant in the center.

 Although the village apparently has a patriarchal atmosphere, you can still taste a bit of nightlife at the terraces that remain open until late, to offer you a romantic view of the sea in the moonlight, or in the bars that become leisure mini-clubs, inviting you to play darts, mini-golf or board games.

 Koutouloufari is a village full of artists and craftsmen, so there are creative workshops, small art galleries, and souvenir shops everywhere. On the street, there are shelves with paintings, sculptures, pyrogravure, garments, and fabrics, decorative or household objects made of wood, metal, stone, glass, sand or shells, natural cosmetics along with small jars with spices or sweets and bottles with traditional drinks or olive oil, in quantities allowed on the plane.

The New Village With Past Lives

 One of the historic buildings we noticed is the Church of Agios Vassilios (St. Basil), erected in 1840, by incorporating an old chapel from the fourteenth century, which still retains parts from the original Byzantine paintings.

 Like most Cretan settlements, Koutouloufari has an ancient history. As Manos tells us, it seems that the hearth of the village appeared in the Middle Ages, when, for fear of pirates, most of the inhabitants of the northern shore retreated to the mountains, to live their lives in peace. The village is mentioned in Venetian documents and censuses under the name of "Catafari" or "Cutrufari" in the 16th-17th century, counting a population of no more than 350 individuals.

 Nowadays, although the young generation is tempted by the city life, the village continues to exist - on the one hand - due to the development of tourism, and on the other hand, due to the locals in Heraklion, but also foreigners who buy properties and settle permanently in this beautiful area.

 With its wonderful landscapes, its traditional architecture in harmony with nature, its archaic and colorful atmosphere, and simple but heartfelt hospitality, Koutouloufari shows its guests a glimpse of the picturesque rural Crete and promises memorable local experiences.

Welcome to Koutouloufari!

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