On the Scent of Crete


Ready for a sun-kissed holiday in your very own luxury villa? Then look no further than Greece’s hottest sunshine isle – Crete. By Lisa Lincoln

On most Greek Islands, what hits you first is the light bouncing off the blue sea, the scent of mountain herbs, villages cascading over distant hilltops. For Audrey Thomassen –  love at first sight encompassed all of the above and more, distilled down into one single location - Crete. In fact, she was so taken with the island, she decided to set up her very own villa rental company Luxury Villas on Crete, and make this beautiful community her home.

Since 2008, Audrey’s portfolio of properties has expanded in both Eastern Crete, the area of Sisi towards the West and the popular area of Rethymno and the exclusive Chania region. In fact, today, the company has almost 100 hand-picked homes on its books dotted across the island.

She explains: “Each villa is personally chosen and inspected by the LVOC team. We’ve a keen eye for detail, with all aspects of the hosting experience taken care of to ensure the home-from-home ambience is just right for guests.” Island expertise is another forte for Audrey and her team, she adds: “We’re very familiar with the locale, its hot spots and highlights and are always delighted to answer any questions, to make recommendations and assist guests with their holiday planning. We also make a point of meeting with villa owners to ensure an exceptional service is offered to clients. Before guests make their property selection, we take account of their ‘wish list’ priorities and requirements so we can work towards finding them the perfect property match.”

The agency also assists guests with any on-island holiday essentials that may be required - from welcome and orientation upon arrival, to airport transfers, car rental, a private chef or baby-sitter and excursion planning.

“It’s all about making guests’ stay relaxing, flawless and totally stress-free,” adds Audrey, “and to assist you during your stay with any special ‘to dos’: from arranging a romantic al fresco lunch on the beach to securing a table in the finest taverna, or coordinating a private guide tour of the top island sites. Adds Audrey: “Hopefully there will be nothing for you to do other than sit back, relax and soak up the glorious sunshine.”


Closer to North Africa than to Athens, Crete is a world unto itself. Landscape and history have collaborated to make it one of the most evocative and multi-faceted of the Greek islands, with a rich tapestry of canyons, mountains and blissful beaches lapped by crystal-clear waters that bring a gurgle of joy to sun-starved holidaymakers.

Noted as the cradle of Minoan civilisation during the second millennium BC, Crete has since then – in the words of the British writer Saki – “produced more history than it can consume locally”.

Crete is the largest island in Greece and the 5th in size in all of the Mediterranean, offering a paradise on earth that will leave you breathless. Today, it also produces a surplus of edible goods owing to the longest growing season in Greece. And one of the longest beach-lounging seasons as well; north-coast beaches tend to be long and sandy if a bit exposed, while others are apt to be shorter but more secluded.

For those of a non-beachy disposition, there’s plenty of interest inland: exquisitely frescoed country chapels of the 14th and 15th centuries, ruined Minoan palaces and towns, plus top-drawer hiking and botanising opportunities. Iráklio (Heraklion) Archaeological Museum is the world's greatest showcase of Minoan artefacts, even more so in the wake of an eight-year refit. Stop in before visiting nearby Knossos, despite much speculative restoration the most impressive of several Minoan palace complexes. Fast-forward in time, the medieval old towns of Réthymno and Haniá are redolent of the Venetian and Ottoman tenures on Crete. For hikers, the Samarian Gorge is the most spectacular of about a dozen canyons slashing through rugged mountains to arrive at the sea.

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