White River Cottages

Makrigialos, Crete, Greece

The White River Cottages offer a unique holiday experience in the midst of nature, on the east bank of the White River, which flows into the south-east coast of Crete. The traditional, Greek architecture of the complex blends in harmoniously with the surroundings.

Each cottage or studio has been individually and lovingly restored, taking into account the rocks and the relief. Today they shine with white walls, marble bathrooms, wooden furniture and a touch of color through unique works of art created by artisans.

The ruins of a hamlet bought in 1986 have been restored over a period of five years, using only natural materials that are compatible with the architectural tradition of rural Crete.

The White River Cottages opened in 1991, at a time when such slow tourism initiatives were still viewed with reservations. The White River Cottages are the pride and life's work of Vangelis Mavrakis, a pioneer in the field of hospitality of this type, who conceived the project, made it a reality and runs the property with great passion to this day.

We also featured this accommodation in Five places to extend summer.

Rooms + Rates

per night
Cottagefrom80 €


ArchitectureThe White River Cottages have been restored in an authentic architecture typical of the region and combines minimalism with tradition. The original hamlet was built on old river terraces, with large rocks and other elements of the local rocks being included in the construction. These elements were fully respected during the restoration and are part of the identity of the cottages. In addition, all cottages differ from one another from the floor plan to the arrangement of the furniture. All accommodations radiate the cozy, simple yet elegant ambience equally. They all have the traditional wooden doors, window frames and carpentry work in common as well. Original, local and regional materials, techniques and handicrafts were used in the restoration of the destroyed hamlet.

EnvironmentThe preservation, restoration and upcycling of a dilapidated hamlet was done in harmony with the environment. The water in the cottages is heated by solar panels. All accommodations have showers and taps installed with water-saving systems. Organic fertilizer (compost) is used in gardening. A vision for the future is to maintain and improve the high standard of accommodation as well as a more environmentally friendly orientation through the complete coverage of energy needs with renewable energy sources.


  • Unique building complex of former farm and stone houses that fit perfectly into the environment
  • Located in the southeast of Crete, just one kilometer from the turquoise beaches, in the valley of Aspro Potamos
  • Minimalistic and rich in tradition, aesthetics meet functionality
  • Surrounded by the pristine Mediterranean landscape of Crete
  • Green garden with olive groves, pine trees and carob trees
  • Many possibilities for excursions: The gorges in the southeast of Crete, with their magnificent flora and fauna, a day trip to the uninhabited island of Koufonisi, as well as the many small beaches in the area
  • The area is great for hiking, snorkeling and water sports

Cottages13 housesOwn cooking facilitiesChildren welcomeWi-Fino disabled accessPoolno pets


  • 13 cottages of different sizes for 2 to 4 people
  • Fully equipped kitchens for self-catering
  • All houses have their own terrace with pergola
  • 100 m2 pool
  • Cleaning and bed sheet change twice a week
  • Shiatsu massages on request


A perfect haven, White River Cottages lies within olive groves along a bamboo-lined lane close to the laidback resort of Makrigialos. Spacious stone cottages offer antique furnishings alongside modern comforts, including a good-sized oven handy for whipping up something delicious with the fresh local ingredients that you’ll buy at Makrigialos’ weekly farmers’ market.

Heidi Fuller-love, thesun.co.uk, August 2021
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Rooms + Rates

per night
Cottagefrom80 €

Location + Directions

By car

From Heraklion it is just under 2 hours by car to Makrigialis (123 km). From Chania it takes just under 4 hours (262 km). The exact address can be found on the website.