Think about rustic stone houses, sea views, olive trees and white linen topped with heartwarming hospitality!
There are the cutting-edge contemporary conceptual new hotels, pushing the boundaries of modern hospitality and creating spaces where a stay is a whole new experience. And then there are the traditional, rustic hotels, giving off vintage vibes and make you feel like you have been invited to a Greek friend’s big country house for the summer. Luckily, Greece’s rich and constantly growing hotel scene offers plenty of both options, but if you’re going for the second kind of vacation, you clicked on the right article.
Both the islands and Peloponnese in southern Greece are home to some of the most iconic traditional-style hotels in the country, blending in with the rugged yet serene surroundings and offering a wholesome hospitality experience, true to the Greek DNA.
Below, you will find the best traditional stays to experience the local hospitality in Greece.
Located within the medieval Castle of Pantoniki in Emporeios and overlooking both the volcano and the big blue of the Aegean sea, Sterna Residences Nisyros is one of the best traditional houses in Greece and offers the most authentic greek-island experience a visitor can have. It is not really a hotel, but a modern minimal house that bears all the characteristics of a traditional residence of the past century. It is no surprise its restoration was based on the research of photographic archives and to the few but significant structural and morphological findings of the excavation. Sterna owes its name to the cistern (sterna, in Greek) situated in the interior of the main residence, and it includes two storeys, a spacious living room, two bedrooms, a 40sq.m. terrace and a 70sq.m. rooftop lounge area. Perfect for a family or group of friends!
Located n the picturesque area of Kardamyli in the Peloponnese, Salvia is a newly opened traditional guest house, surrounded by olive trees and lush gardens. Its name derives from the Latin word for sage, which grows profusely in the region, and it consists of three self-contained holiday homes which can sleep up to four people. All homes combine traditional architecture with rustic elements with modern comforts and amenities, offering stunning views and direct access to the beautiful Ritsa beach. Bonus: there is also a shared swimming pool and guests can visit the nearby iconic Patrick Leigh Fermor House, which is open to the public!
While Patmos is an island of many wonders, most prominent of which is the Cave of the Apocalypse, where the Book of Revelation of the New Testament was written by John the Apostle, Patmos Eye is a true siren, capable to make you fall in love with its beauty. True to the signature architectural style of the island, which for the most part consists of majestic two-storey mansions, Patmos Eye surely belongs to the list of the best traditional houses in Greece, combining local materials and building techniques to create an authentic look. Patmian traditional antique furniture is met with colorful contemporary eye-catching deco touches while the veranda with a stunning panoramic view is definitely a highlight (one of the many!).
Housed in a tall traditional Maniot stoned tower, perched on a steep slope, near Vathia (the famous abandoned village of Mani), Tainaron Blue has both the looks and the interesting backstory. An early 19th-century castle-like building was transformed to an expertly renovated three-room hotel, full of intriguing design details. Thick stone walls, tiny windows, small wooden staircases and hidden trapdoors on the interior combine with view-gazing spots outdoors; patios and terraces with sunbeds, dining and lounging areas, plus an infinity pool. For anyone who seeks time, rest and space in a magical setting, this is a must.
Kyrimai Hotel -Mani
Home to the room which is also known as “the” room with a view or #balconygoals in my personal travel diary, Kyrimai hotel makes you feel that you have traveled back in time and live at a belle epoque mansion. The legendary suite 301 seems literally suspended over water and offers a stunning view of picturesque Mani. It is also one of the most famous and awarded historic hotels of Europe, having been standing for two centuries at the tip of Gerolimenas village. A totally romantic yet rustic setting with thick stoned walls, dark wooden floors and elegant antique furniture with country style touches, it makes every visitor fall instantly in love.
Kinsterna Hotel -Monemvasia
Talking about a traditional Greek stay, what can you say about a secluded, atmospheric, immaculately renovated Byzantine mansion of the 13th century surrounded by vineyards and olive groves? Kinsterna Hotel is located just a few miles away from Monemvasia, the famous medieval castle city with a rich history and strong local identity. The hotel is infused with history, with canon holes and dark catacomb cells maintained and cleverly used in the decoration to the old cistern that gave the name to the hotel, the trademark of the place that sits in the middle of the central yard and feeds the beautiful infinity pool with fresh spring water.
Xinara House -Tinos
Pretty terraced gardens, ancient stone tracery, contemporary art mixed with collectible textiles and sophisticated furniture. Xinara House is a beautiful, recently-converted classic Cyclades stone-built house from the 17th-18th centuries, in a dazzling setting beneath Exomvourgo mountain. There are original carved marble fanlights and plasterwork made from local marble and highly-skilled workers. Traditional island pebble-patterns are laid on terraces while the exterior is re-painted in natural limewash. Outdoor meals with the hotel’s organic vegetables and delicious local produce and wine await visitors of this traditional island stay with a cool twist.
Skinopi Lodge -Milos
Far from the typical whitewashed cycladic houses and built on a slope right above the sea and a tiny fishing village, within the protected archeological area of the Ancient City of Milos, Skinopi Lodge speaks to the heart of nature lovers. The three villas of the retreat are set within nine acres of pristine seafront private land, a heaven adventure seekers who seek a place to retreat in nature, in breezy indoor-outdoor spaces, with a front-row view of the sunset. The design aims to achieve a level of least intervention, simply pointing the way, while at the same time investing in cutting edge technology to create completely green structures. Moreover, the owners are fully committed to preserving the spectacular natural environment of the island and the local culture, creating a hospitality gem that stays natural yet stands out.
Patriarca Boutique Hotel -Sifnos
Housed at a historic building of 1650, Patriarca hotel follows the typical style of houses in the Cyclades and blends beautifully with the island landscape. Its elegant, modern décor combines predominantly bright white with discreet splashes of colour while it bears a heartwarming concept of hospitality with communal spaces such as a shared kitchen and dining room where guests can prepare meals. Strongly connected with the island’s history and architecture but enriched with modern touches and boho vibes, it’s an ideal summer retreat for those who like it simple.