In the last weekend of April, the Family Goes Out team was invited by Travel Bloggers Greece on a team trip to Montanema Handmade Village. Me, Celeste and my friend and colleague Marianne with her partner and 2 year old daughter spent from Friday afternoon until Monday morning in the pine tree forest at the traditional yet luxurious accommodation of Montanema Handmade Village.
The unique Montanema Handmade Village lies deep in the forest and high in the mountains. It is located in the gorge of the Agrafa Mountains, part of the Pindos Mountains in Central Greece. At about 35 km from Karditsa and 58 km from Meteora (if you are planning a Central Greece Trip).
The resort is what it’s name describes: a handmade village. It consists of 33 different types of cottage style traditionally build stone houses. It took almost 10 years to build these because it was done with respect for both tradition and it’s green surroundings. Plans were adjusted in order to avoid cutting trees. The resort is totally ecofriendly. The Family Goes Out team stayed in a family house.
This type of house is comfortably divided in a living room, a master bedroom and a children’s bedroom. The bedrooms are conveniently connected to both the bathroom and the living room. The bathroom of the family home has 2 sinks, 2 showers and is large and very comfortable. The water in the cottages and everywhere else in the resort comes from the mountain spring and is therefore drinkable. No need to carry any bottles of water around. Not to mention what it did to our skin and hair ! The bathrooms are supplied with locally produced natural soap and shampoo. In some hotels in Greece, I have had trouble with hot water later in the day. No such issues here. It was difficult to leave the shower! The large and friendly siting area has a fire place and so does the master bedroom.
No need to be an expert in burning a fire, everything is prepared and all you need to do it light it. The area is extremely quiet and we found that sleep (on wonderful quality matrasses and sheets) is therefore guaranteed. We especially loved the details on children’s bedcovers in the baby cot. All cottages in Montanema Handmade Village have a fully equipped kitchen and are therefore suitable for self catering. There is also a coffee maker with different kids of coffee and tea. Thus although breakfast is served in the Fournia restaurant ( and included in the room price) we were able to drink our coffee in the house. And not to forget; upon arrival the fridge is stored with snacks and drinks! The cottages are build against the mountain and therefore all overlooking the canyon and pine tree forest. Each cottage has a private (but not child safe!) balcony. All balconies are large enough for a family of at least 4 to eat or to relax.
Besides the family houses, we visited the other houses of the resort. The villa in so called ‘maisonette’ style would also be suitable for families, but with older children. They are open plan and they have single beds on the second level (open stairs therefore not suitable for young children). The website of Montenema Handmade Village shows detailed floorplans of all the houses in the resort.
The resort has many in – and outdoor communal areas. All amazingly stylish decorated. The first time I see class combined with nature, history with modern times, in such harmonious way.
There are cozy sitting corners with soft sofa’s and interesting artefacts from the past on display, there are relaxing areas to pass the time with your family. All non smoking. (Smokers can go outside or use the special covered warm smoking area in the winter). There is a spacious salon area with a large fireplace. A trendy bar mixing tradition with modern art.
And a little fitness centre. There is an large outdoor pool with pool bar. We much liked the gardens with many swings and hammocks overlooking the Antohori Canyon and the Pindos Mountains. A spa and conference center is being currently built and a mini shop will be available soon.
Other facilities that are specifically interesting for families are the availability of baby cots, baby highchairs, a great selection of family games, children’s toys and children’s books. The pool has not children’s section therefore more suitable for children that master swimming. There is a small indoor area for baby’s to play in the basement of the hotel overlooking the valley.
Although the houses are suitable for self catering, we doubt that you will ever really cook your own meal. We tried the delivery to the family house and the kitchen staff even brought some warm milk for Salammbô late in the evening. The Fournia restaurant of the resort offers delicious healthy local meals prepared in a traditional way. All products are from the area, for example their local cheeses. The bread and butter are home made. We live in Greece for many years but in Fournia, we have tasted so many new meals and products that we did not know existed. All reminded us of the nature, villages and farms. We loved the in – and outdoor ovens and grills.
The kitchen has a semi open plan and therefore suitable for children to take a look inside. The prices are very reasonable, not worth cooking your own food for. The restaurant overlooks the valley and it s panoramic view changes all the time. We found the restaurant staff extremely flexible, especially Mr. Panos (a father of a 6-year old son). Meals for kids can be arranged to your wishes. The healthy meal choices, the large space with wooden tables and chairs and baby chairs, the view, the laid-back atmosphere and the friendly staff makes the restaurant extremely family friendly.
How to get to Montanema Handmade village?
If you are traveling by Car :
Athens – Montanema Handmade Village : 330 kms – 3 hours 30 minutes
Karditsa – Montanema Handmade Village : 35 kms – 40 minutes
The last kilometers before the resort are a 20 min drive on a dirt road. This may be a challenge for the unexperienced driver or an adventurous and nature lovers’ excitement. If you are travelling yourself by car, this should be taken in to consideration. There is also a bus leaving from Athens, it takes 4 hours to go to Karditsa. Family Goes Out decided to travel by train from Athens to Karditsa. After Karditsa we drove by car with our fellow bloggers. There are several trains leaving Athens to Karditsa, some are express trains, others, the one that we used, are slower trains and not direct. The train ride took us about 6 hours in total, we needed to switch trains once. The good thing was that the train had a little children’s playground (More train in Greece Article coming soon!). The bad thing was it’s terrible toilet facilities and it’s overall absence of cleanliness. After arriving in Karditsa it still took us some time to get to the resort. This because the road from Karditsa is full of turns and at some point changes into the before mention dirt road. Our fellow bloggers came from Athens and it took them an average of about 4 hours to reach Karditsa. If you are coming from abroad by plane, other starting points besides Athens could be Thessaloniki airport or Volos airport. If you do not want to drive yourself, a pick up can be arranged by the hotel.
We found that Montanema Handmade Village is suitable for families with babies that cannot yet walk. The paths in the resort are stroller accessible and inside the communal areas is an elevator to move between floors. Staying here with toddlers would be a bit more challenging but for children starting from around 5-6 years old it is great. If you are visiting with a very young child than it must be noted that the nearest medical care is at a 30 min distance (and remember the dirt road). We feel that Montanema is for families that are looking for fresh air, true food, beautiful nature, quiet surroundings and spending quality time together. It is also for slightly adventures families (our next article will describe activities nearby Montanema Handmade Village!) that like to explore the nature and the area around them. And all this in an ecologically and traditional setting but with 5 * luxuries. The resort is suitable for holidays in summer and winter, for longer and shorter stays.
Take a look at Montanema’s website, the site truly represents what we saw and experienced during our trip. No ‘Photoshop’ here : Montanema Website Link
We would also like to share the experiences from our fellow travel bloggers from TBG on the trip. They all have their different fields of expertise and experience. Have a look and see what they found!