You can hike directly onto the hills from Tholos Villas or from Kavousi which is the starting point for many walks as well as boasting the oldest olive tree in Crete at nearly 2000 years old. Take a short drive to further spectacular areas in eastern crete, such as the Zakros Gorge “the valley of the dead” following a dry river bed, looking at ancient Minoan tombs in the limestone caves.
Mount Kofinas is less than an hour away for a full day hill climbing and fantastic views over the south and the east of the island, as well as other breathtaking walks on the south coast such as the peaks of Mount Idi and Dikti. Lasithi Plateau allows more leisurely walks along olive groves and orchards to Dikian Cave.
There are many areas of outstanding natural beauty in Crete. Close to the villas there is Lasithi, a fertile agricultural plain which contrasts with the mountains above. Vai is famous for having Europe’s only palm forest and a beautiful beach and Aspros Potamos, a frequently dry river bed opening into the sea at Makrygialos beach through pine trees and boulder scenery.
Flora and Fauna
Cretan wildlife includes wild goat (kri kri), geko, the unique Cretan spiny mouse and the almost legendary, illusive Cretan wild cat. Two endangered butterflies make their home here, the Cretan Arus Butterfly and the Swallowtail. Bird lovers come to Crete to see the rare Lammergeier vulture, Dalmatian pelicans, Eleonora’s Falcon and the tiny scops owl.
Wild olives surround the villas and Cretan ebony, crocus and approximately twenty varieties of orchid are everywhere in the spring with the rare yellow orchid, which imitates insects, growing on the mountain slopes. Wild thyme and asparagus grow in abundance on the slopes surrounding Kavousi and you find them incorporated widely in the local cuisine.