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The second stop (and first island) on our great vacation through Greece and Istanbul was Rethymnon in Crete.  We flew there from Athens on a short, inexpensive flight.

Tip: It is easy to get around Greece and her islands with planes and ferry trips.  All are reasonably priced (cheaper than flying around Canada!) and pretty painless to book. 

Garden (Avli means garden in Greek) seating

I had arranged a car from the airport (for the hour long ride) with the help of Thanasis the hotel manager at the  Avli – I had found this amazing, welcoming place to stay on Airbnb – that is a whole blog post on its own still to come.

As we got close to the hotel Elias our drive told us Thanasis was the man on the corner and he was waiting for us.  He also mentioned he was funny.  Elias was right.  Thanasis was the one to greet us and as a good host he also saw us off three days later early in the morning. I think the only way to describe the experience at the Avli was like being welcomed in to someone’s home – every member of the staff must truly love what they do as we were always met with smiles and conversation.


The food was wonderful at the restaurant – we had breakfasts and a dinner there.  The wine selection is the best on the island.  Our room (ask for the Cristina when you book) was quaint and comfortable with a balcony overlooking the patio of the street covered in flowers.

Thanasis also arranged a tour for us with Elias on one of our days in Crete as he recommends to everyone who visits to get out and see a bit of the island not just the town of Rethymnon.  Our evenings were happily spent sitting outside under the trellises at the Avli restaurant sipping wine and chatting with others staying at the Avli and the staff.

View from our balcony

I can tell you we were truly sad when we left the Avli on to Santorini by Ferry.  Now the beauty of Santorini helped easy our sadness but I can tell you we didn’t find anyone like Thanasis and his team anywhere else along our travels.

Some day I hope to get back to the Avli to stay again with Thanasis, George, and Zoey.  I recommend you give them a try if you ever plan to visit the island of Crete – I can’t say enough good things about the Avli.