Koutouloufari, the traditional village Koutouloufari in Crete


Koutouloufari is a village of roughly 600 inhabitants on the slope of Mt Pyrgias at an altitude of 100 metres. It is 29 kilometres east of Heraklion and less than 1,000 metres from coastal Hersonissos.

koutouloufari on crete map

Koutouloufari with its narrow paved streets and old Cretan houses attracts those who want to spend their holidays in the busiest tourist area in Crete – which stretches from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos, offering many beaches, attractions, sights and activities and is near archaeological sites such as Knossos and Malia – but who prefer to stay in a quiet environment with a traditional flavour and a lovely view of the Sea of Crete.

In Koutouloufari you will find old stone houses with arches, arched doorways and inner courtyards roofed with vines offering shade and grapes in summer. You can stroll through the paved streets or take the road down to Hersonissos through the hills covered with olive trees. You can even see Cretans in traditional costume on the Cretan Nights held in the nearby village of Ano Hersonissos every Monday.

This short video was taken in the small square of Koutouloufari. To get a better picture of the village, see the pictures of Koutouloufari.

How to get to Koutouloufari

Take a taxi from Heraklion Airport or the port and you will be at your hotel in 20 minutes.

If you intend to travel round Crete to see the sights of the island, your best bet is to rent a car with free delivery at Heraklion Airport, at the port or at your hotel in Koutouloufari.

Otherwise take the bus from Heraklion to Hersonissos, and a taxi from there to Koutouloufari.

What you will find in Koutouloufari


In Koutouloufari you will find pretty little hotels, rooms for rent and studio apartments. Some of these are in restored old buildings, while most of the new hotels are tasteful and blend in with the tone of the village.

There are many restaurants in Koutouloufari offering Greek and international cooking.
There is even a Chinese restaurant for those with exotic tastes. Stroll through the narrow streets and eat at a different taverna with its traditional vine and lovely decoration each night. If there are bunches of grapes hanging from the vine, or krevvatina as it is known in Crete, ask the owner to cut you some and serve them with an ice-cold raki at the end of your meal.

koutouloufari traditional village in crete

You certainly have a wide variety of choice in restaurants and tavernas in Koutouloufari and it will take you some time to try them all. You are also in the heart of a wide area offering inexhaustible opportunities, so get in your car and discover them.

As for coffee or breakfast in the morning and a drink at night, there are cafés and bars in Koutouloufari.
For seaside cafés, many more bars and nightclubs for dancing and fun, Hersonissos awaits you. You can also walk round Stalis or, if you’re looking for a wilder time, try the bars and clubs of Malia.

In Koutouloufari you can also play mini golf at one of the cafeterias, shop for artworks and souvenirs, or buy supplies and newspapers from the minimarket.

For anything else you need, such as banks, pharmacies, supermarkets or clothes, Hersonissos is right next door.

Koutouloufari – History

The precise origins of the village of Koutouloufari are unknown. It was probably first established in the Middle Ages, when people left the coast and moved to higher ground in an attempt to avoid pirate raids.

Koutouloufari is first mentioned in Venetian archives, as Catafari metochi in 1577 and Cutrufari in 1630. In censuses from 1888 to 1940 its population varied from 263 to 350, dropping to 159 inhabitants by 1981. In the 2001 census, however, there was a great increase in the population to 586.

The same pattern is seen in neighbouring villages. The explanation is that, after the war, people sought a better life in the cities. Twenty years later, the development of tourism on the coast began to bring work to the area and the population grew once more.

Many former inhabitants of Heraklion have bought houses in Koutouloufari, restored them and now live here permanently.

What to do in Koutouloufari

koutouloufar sea view to hersonissos

Relax, wind down, enjoy the lovely view of the sea, stroll around the village streets, take pictures of Koutouloufari to show your friends in winter.

Go swimming off the beaches of Hersonissos. Rent a car or walk down to Hersonissos to catch the bus to other beaches at Kokkini Hani, Gouves, Stalis, Malia, Agios Nikolaos and Elounda.

Go for a walk around the neighbouring villages of Piskopiano and Ano Hersonissos. Even better, on a Monday night you can enjoy Cretan music, singing and dancing at the Cretan Nights held from May to October.

Visit the old church of Agios Vassilios (St Basil) with its lovely icons. The church was built in 1840, while behind the sanctuary is preserved part of a much older church.

Click here for ideas for even more sights and activities in Hersonissos.

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