If you are staying in the Chania area of Crete you must make a point of taking the kids to see the ‘stone garden’ – for the want of a better way to describe it. You’ll find it is signposted as you take the road in to Kalives from the exit off the national road at the western end of the village.
Strange, different, incredible, odd, amazing, fascinating, superb, weird, different, bizarre, over-the top, wonderful, charming, and gaudy are just a few adjectives that could be used to describe this unique place and you must visit to make up your own mind.
You could call it an open air museum and kids will certainly love exploring this garden and its constructions and mosaics made of local stone and pebbles. There are small independent buildings which depict some form kind of Cretan life, as well as the odd sculptures dotted around the place.
Just about everything is covered in mosaic from pebbles and stone and some of the things you will find as you wander round the small paths is a shepherd’s roundhouse, a small museum, a chapel, a mock cave, a sentinels post with soldiers made of rock, a stone encrusted olive oil press, a treadmill and a flour mill.
The work is continuous and the owner, Georgos, says he never sleeps properly at night as he is always envisaging and thinking out his next project. The project started in 1990 when his wife suggested he may like to build a stone table in the garden. If only she had known what she started! Talking of stone, yes, the Flintsones will come to mind as you walk around looking at his various objects and constructions.
Rocks and stones were brought down from the White Mountains and ‘siga, siga’ (slowly, slowly) as they say in Greece, he brought his ideas to life. The artwork is quite incredible with mosaics, sculptures and furniture all made of stones, and little walkways and gardens with hanging vines. Look out for the roots of the olive tree suspended above the main entrance gate – very unusual! An olive tree was uprooted and the tree cut off leaving only the roots which were then painstakingly cleaned and varnished, then suspended above the entrance. Quite a spectacle!
All in all it is quite fascinating and there are fantastic views of the White Mountains. There is also a stone constructed taverna offering traditional menu with several outdoor tables and benches all built by hand and crafted out of stone and pebble.
- Tavern - Restaurant
Families should know
- The menu is somewhat limited, but even so it is popular with locals and worth a try as it is such an unusual setting
- Rent high quality baby & toddler equipment such as booster seats and strollers through our partner My Baby in Greece for stress-free and enjoyable family meals in Greece
Kids will love
- Discovering something new at every turn
- The fascinating sculptures
- Playing hide and seek in the buildings
Parents will love
- The discovery of something very unusual and certainly unique
- The mosaics of Minoan times on the giant ‘pithari’ (urns)
- Watching their kids thoroughly enjoy themselves as they explore every corner
- The very unusual church by the parking area
Best season to visit