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Getting to Know ‘the Real Crete’ while Staying at an Avra Collection Hotel

Chania, Crete. Photo source: @Visit Greece

Travel is the best way not only to feast your eyes on wonderful views and attractions, but also to connect with others, to connect with real people.

Seeking “the real thing” means experiencing people, customs and life in all its simplicity even while traveling. Mingling with the locals, tasting authentic flavors and getting acquainted with the everyday habits of the locals is the best way for travelers to get away from their own daily routine.

Avra Collection, a family-owned hotel chain in Chania, Crete, gives potential travelers tips on how to get to know “the real Crete” while staying at one of its hotels on the island.

The hotel chain includes the 5-star Avra Imperial Hotel in Kolymbari, the boutique 3-star Avra City Hotel in the center of Chania city, and Avra Apartments that are located in two traditional renovated buildings in Chania’s Old Venetian Harbour and Kolymbari Harbour.

Visiting the village, Meeting the locals

The best way to experience “the real Crete” is to visit the island’s picturesque villages, where you will encounter authentic tastes and habits.

The locals, whether at work or at leisure, will welcome you warmly, always ready to show visitors how to do things the “Greek” way.

All you have to do is find the “Kafeneon”, usually located in the center of the village. The traditional kafeneon is where the locals usually meet to have their morning coffee or a sip of raki while playing backgammon (known as “tavli”), and it is often used as the village’s most accurate information center. Have a sip or traditional locally made raki and ask them anything you want to know… You will be surprised by the stories and the little “secrets” they are always willing to share to give you the long-awaited insider’s guide with their local expertise.

Touring the best of Crete

The hotels of the Avra Collection are located near some of Crete’s hot spots that are just waiting for visitors to explore them.

In under an hour away by car from an Avra Collection hotel, visitors can find themselves at:

– the exotic beach of Elafonnisi, located 52 km southwest of Kolymbari with white-pink sand and crystal clear shallow waters. At a distance of about 2 km east of Elafonisi Beach and Island and also protected by Natura 2000, is the amazing beach of Kedrodasos (means “cedar grove” in Greek). The beautiful centuries-old cedar trees provide the perfect backdrop to this exquisite beach with its crystal clear azure waters and beautiful white sand. If you enjoy hiking and swimming on pristine beaches, the Kedrodasos area could be an experience of a lifetime.

– the lagoon of Balos, located 23 km northwest of Kolymbari. The beach has white sand and turquoise waters. It was voted one of the best beaches in the world in 2011. In addition, the water is very shallow and warm, which makes Balos ideal for small children. Balos is certainly the most photographed beach in Crete, a very popular topic in all travel guides to Greece. It is no coincidence that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos many years ago with their private yacht.

– the small town of Paleochora, located 77 km south of Chania, on the southwest coast of Crete and found on a small peninsula.
The wider area of Paleochora has crystal clear waters, well organized beaches and beautiful isolated small anchorages. It is served by numerous hotels, restaurants, tavernas, cafes, bars and nightclubs.

Chania, one of the oldest cities of Crete, with a rich history. Today it is the second most populous city on the island, a city that has preserved its traditional architecture and most monuments from Venetian and Turkish times. The Venetian port with its lighthouse and the old town in the center have earned Chania the reputation of the most picturesque town in Crete, welcoming thousands of visitors every year. The heart of the city of Chania still beats in the old town with its narrow, labyrinthine streets and listed buildings from different eras, where you can enjoy romantic walks. Do not hesitate to stroll through the alleys of the old town and make up your very own summer story.

– the Venetian Harbor – probably one of the most picturesque harbors in the country. It is lined with a number of cafes and restaurants, often frequented only by tourists, but also by locals who enjoy strolling around the old harbor on summer evenings. As you enter the harbor from Chalidon Street, there are a number of attractions and impressive monuments to visit, including the magnificent Light House, built during the Venetian era in 1595 and considered one of the oldest lighthouses still standing internationally. Extend your walk to Firkas Fortress, located directly across from the lighthouse and home to the Naval Museum, and then straight to Yiali Tzamisi, the Sea Mosque built by an Armenian architect in the late 17th century. Today it is used as a municipal art gallery.

The Avra Collection:
Offering world class services in the finest surroundings

The vision of Avra Collection is to provide its guests with an exceptional and personalized experience by offering remarkable, world-class services in the finest surroundings, with the guest at the center of our core values.

By combining the philosophy and warmth of traditional Greek hospitality with the strong work ethic, ideals and integrity of its staff, Avra Collection aims to offer only experiences of excellence.

Following the principles of innovation, inspiration and motivation, Avra Collection offers sophisticated, stylish and effortlessly luxurious accommodation and environments, always ensuring that its staff delivers only the warmest and most authentic experience that embodies both the local culture and the company’s corporate culture.

Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, as a family, a group of friends or as a couple, Avra Collection knows you are looking for a story worth telling.

“We are here to help you discover and share your personal story with your loved ones as we rediscover our own story through your eyes and experiences.” – Avra Collection

Avra Imperial Hotel: Built on the picturesque bay of Kolymbari, with a blend of traditional Greek hospitality elements, imposing architectural structures, innovation and world-class services, Avra Imperial Hotel has become a landmark for modern luxury accommodation in the wider Chania region.

Avra City Hotel: A private hideaway in the heart of Chania city, this stylish boutique hotel is where old meets new and style meets comfort. Avra City Hotel, with its privileged location, sophisticated ambience and impeccable service, will meet your expectations in every way.

Avra Apartments: Ideally located in the bustling Venetian Harbour of Chania town and the picturesque port of Kolymbari, Avra Apartments combines comfort and effortlessly luxurious surroundings with wonderful views and a sense of independence, offering an accommodation experience with a difference.

“We always strive for excellence and know that together we can always achieve more. Therefore, we focus all our efforts on actively interacting with the world around us and sharing our core values and philosophy not only with our valuable teams behind closed doors, but also with our valued guests to enrich their overall experience.” – Avra Collection

All you want to know about the Avra Collection can be found here:

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