Millia Eco Village - Chania

summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism

Silence, spring water, fresh air and organic food.

summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism

About us

Don’t imagine we’re some group of extremists living off spring onions and wearing potato sacks. Our origins are from the area itself, and we happened to have property around Milia. It was our love of the place that prompted us to set about restoring and protecting the old settlement. And in order to dissolve any suspicions about who we are, here are some photographs of ourselves.

summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Jorgos
summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Freddy
summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Tassos & Vassilis
summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Spiros
summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Theodora & Zoran
summerincrete.com - Milia, ecotourism
Manolis

We’re just regular people; we’re even plainer in reality, and our motives are as plain as we are. We’ve just got an appetite for hard work and creating, and, above all, a sound respect for the human being, the environment and our local traditions.

Philosophy

The philosophy of Milia is to preserve the natural life cycle in such a way that is friendly towards both the environment and the human being. We work according to the traditional principles and history of Crete.

We actually throw away very few items. All natural products are recycled, and we try to find alternative uses for everything else. All edible fruit and vegetables end up in the kitchen, while their remnants and other plants feed the animals, who provide us in turn with milk and cheese, meat, leather, wool and manure.

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Our efforts towards an improved natural environment are intensified every year with reforestation and the cultivation of a wider variety of crops and other products. We appreciate and delight in the peculiarities which each season has to offer. In our recognition that every thoughtless act towards the environment has its price, we practice humility in everything we do.

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We try to promote culture in its essential form by keeping tradition alive, all the while keeping up with current methods and ideas. And, we consider it crucial that our elders remind and instruct the younger generations in how their forefathers lived

Site

MiliaMiliaMilia is located in a semi-mountainous region in the province of Kissamos (at about 500 m. altitude), in the Prefecture of Chania, the closest village being Vlatos, about 4.5 kilometers away. It is built on a mountain slope which forms one side of a valley and is situated in an area unique for its expansive variety of plants and trees. The 120 hectares surrounding the settlement provide extraordinary peace and a harmonious setting.

A stream crossing the property during the wintertime serves as a natural boundary between the two slopes, each of which enjoys a different kind of soil and vegetation. It is this which provides Milia with such a great variety of flora.

One of the slopes consists of a schist-like rock, and is graced by chestnut trees, plane trees, acorn trees and cone-bearing trees, while the other slope of limestone hosts aromatic herbs, various flower-bearing bushes, olive trees, pear and wild pear, and carob trees, in addition to impressive rocky masses. You may be fortunate enough to catch sight of the rare vulture Gypaetus Barbatus, the bone-eating vulture or “kokkalas”, as we say on Crete, while strolling around on the rocky masses punctured with mammoth hollows.

Until 1982, when the decision was made for environmental improvements and the restoration of the mediaeval settlement, Milia was a place where irresponsible human activities, especially fires and over-grazing, had resulted in the erosion of earth and a diminished water supply, cultivable earth and abundant water having been two of the most notable and precious attributes of the place at one point.

The initial work at Milia included the systematic cultivation of the land, which included the planting of many thousands of trees, some endemic to the island. The entire property was fenced in and anti-fire zones were created. Reconstruction of the buildings themselves began in 1991 and was completed in 1994

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Guest-houses - Hospitality

MiliaMilia Milia offers 13 guest-houses/rooms. Each “room” is uniquely and originally furnished, and offers a distinct atmosphere from what one is normally accustomed to. The guest-houses have been built from the foundations of the old village houses with local materials – chestnut wood and stone, keeping to the architecture characteristic of the area, and are furnished with old restored furniture collected from the surrounding villages. Huge rocks comprise the walls of some of the houses, which the villagers had used as parts of the buildings when they were initially built. The houses blend so harmoniously with the environment that one can actually imagine them just sprouting up from the earth.

The comforts at Milia are basic. Rooms either have double or single beds, their own WC with shower and hot water, either fireplaces or woodstoves for heat during the summer, and most rooms have some sort of sitting space. They all have either a balcony, small terrace or garden from which one can admire the view, take a deep breath and ask themselves for what strange reason people cram themselves into cities. And as the light of the day recedes from Milia, we light candles. Solar energy provides electric power at Milia.

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If you have a fear of the dark, it’s time to get over it now. Surely the overhead stars will help allay your fears, but don’t worry: the invisible entities of the area prefer not to associate much with people anyway. And because we know that not everyone is satiated by mere romantic settings, our dining room offers year-round home-made gastronomic delicacies made from produce cultivated organically on our farm. Many consider our dining room to be one of the warmest, most hospitable and tastefully-designed spaces on the island.

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And don’t expect a huge menu and waiters in bow ties, as we choose to focus on essentials, which means quality to us! Rabbit with mizithra cheese baked in the oven (mizithra is a soft cheese of western Crete made of goat or sheep’s milk, or goats’ and sheep’s milk combined); potato, chestnut and onion stew; pork with orange cooked in the woodstove; boureki (zucchini and potato with mizithra cheese) and kalitsounia (small cheese pies) are some of the dishes which await tasting.

Activities

If you are an avid hiker or simply love to take walks, you’ve another good reason to come here. Milia has six footpaths ranging from five to 18 kilometres in length, all of which bring you in direct contact with the nature of Crete. There are also some mountain bikes available for your use.

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Lessons in traditional Cretan cooking and wine-tasting sessions take place periodically, as well as seminars on the interesting local flora. You can also spend time playing board games, reading a book or listening to music in our recreation room, which alternatively serves as a conference space or meeting place for up to 80 people. There is also an outdoor amphitheatre seating 60 people which is available for cultural events and small conferences.

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If you desire further interaction with Milia, there are always a number of chores to be done around the settlement’s farm in which you can freely participate. Milia is located in the heart of Western Crete, ideally situated for short excursions to Miliainteresting places like Elafonissi, Palaiochora and Sougia for their superb beaches, or to Kandanos, with its Byzantine churches, or Ballos and Gramvoussa, Falassarna, Polyrrhinia and Ancient Diktynna.

If you just crave a restful environment, however, you are at the right place. Here, time rolls by slowly, and all of your senses understand this. Additionally, we are always eager to share some of Milia’s secrets with you.

Local Celebrations and Production of Local Goods – Traditional Occupations
  • Celebration of the Virgin Mary, Central church of Vlatos - September 8th
  • Celebration of Saint George, Kato Milia - April 23rd
  • Celebration of Saint Constantine, Vlatos - May 21st
  • Chestnut Festival - October 15-30th
  • Grape-pressing - September 10-20th
  • Production of Tsikoudia (Raki) - November 10-20th
  • Gathering of Olives - December-February
  • Cheese-making - April-June

What they’ve said about us

MiliaMilia2nd Skal Ecotourism Award Smaller Enterprises 2003

Ideas and Solutions for the Home (Greece) January 1998: Here, tradition comes alive without the playing of drums or the crashing of cymbals, and the aroma of bread cooling on the table reminds one of the ways we used to enjoy things, before the advent of the microwave oven. Refrigerators operating on natural gas, wood-burning ovens, monastic tables, iron beds, lighting... a candle, organic farming, tranquillity. A mere 55 km from Chania, at the “stone village” of Milia, you think that you’ve altered dimensions.

The Good Life (‘Ευ’) (Greece) February 1998 “An ideal place, summer or summer, for society’s ‘fugitives’, for those who want to leave behind the life of the city for a while and get in touch with themselves.”

Men (Greece) October 2000: “Take note, that the people in charge of the settlement’s operation are unusually sensitive, and that this is everywhere apparent.” Elle (Greece) February 1999 “An ecological paradise.”

Eco (Greece) 2003 Perhaps the most difficult thing is to convey the atmosphere of Milia. To explain why the guests don’t care about closing the doors to their guest-houses, and why they greet each other when they meet on the settlement’s old stone paths; why, while they may not know you, the guests of old are willing to help the uninitiated; why no one speaks loudly, and why all lower the sound on their mobile telephones if not leave them in some corner.

We are also mentioned in the following travel guides: • Le Guide du Routard (Crète) • Lonely Planet (Crete) • Rough Guide (Crete) • Unexplored Crete

Route – Arrival

MiliaTake the National Road from Chania or Souda in the direction of Kissamos (Kastelli). At the end of the National Road there is a sign indicating the direction of Elafonissi. Proceed in this direction and pass through the villages of Kaloudiana, Potamida, Boulgaro. A little after the entrance to the next village, Topolia, there is a crossroads and two options: a) If you turn right (towards Tsourouniana, Ai-Kyr Yiannis, Kalathenes and Syrikari), after about 500 metres turn left towards Tsourouniana and after about eight km turn right towards Milia. The last two km are on a dirt road in decent enough condition for passenger cars. b) If you continue left at the crossroads a little after the entrance to Topolia, you pass through the village itself and the MiliaTopolianos gorge, and then Katsomatados. Approximately three km after Katsomatados is the crossroads for Vlatos and Milia, and here you turn right. This road leads to Milia. This second route (through the village and gorge of Topolia) has lately become a little dangerous during the wintertime due to landslides within the gorge. There is only slight danger during the summer of falling rocks, unless the winds are exceptionally high. The distance to Milia is a bit longer via this second route, around 60 km from the centre of Chania.

Upon your arrival at Milia you will see a sign indicating where you can park and then continue the approximately 150 metres by foot. We ask that only if you have much luggage, physical difficulties, there is exceptionally bad weather or if it has become dark, that you drive SLOWLY down the hill to your right. As soon as you arrive at the settlement, approximately 20 metres ahead and to the left you will find the dining room. The reception area is located in the same building. If for the above reasons you’ve parked right next to the settlement, when circumstances finally allow, we ask that you drive your car to the parking area, or ask us where you can alternatively park. There is a daily bus (except Saturdays and Sundays) at 12.45 from Chania to Vlatos. If you let us know of your arrival beforehand, we can arrange to pick you up from Vlatos. From Chania to Kissamos (Kastelli), there are buses every hour. From Kastelli you can hire a taxi for about 20-25 Euro. During the summertime the bus to Elafonissi, departing Chania at 09.30, passes very close to Vlatos around 11.00, at a place call “Myloi”; from here we can pick you up as well if arranged in advance. A taxi from Chania to Milia costs around 50 Euro. Appointments for us to pick you up at a designated point must be arranged in advance.

Practical Information

You should have a flashlight with you as electricity is not constant at Milia. We also recommend that you have a pair of comfortable shoes with you, and comfortable clothes, some of which should be warm, even in summer. Please do not bring bottles of water on the premises; Milia’s water comes from an excellent source. Milia is open year round.

 

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