What do you see when you think about a holiday in Greece? Clear blue sea, sandy beaches, waves crushing on rocky cliffs, islands with white & blue houses… or maybe you are on the cultural side and picture ancient ruins and spiritual monasteries… or just the party spirit that sees noisy taverns where you eat olives and feta listening to Zorba. What about the picture above, does it look like Greece?
Well, it is right in the heart of the Olympus mountains and it is one of the few places where we would happily go back anytime.
We were looking just for an intermediate place to sleep on our way to Volos, where we took the ferry for the sailing adventure. Luckily, I managed to convince Andrei to also spend a few nights on land. You know, I was very nervous by the “one-week-on-a-boat-with-a-toddler” plan, so I was trying to find an escape from my fears, a place where I could relax a bit.
Ktima Bellou was exactly what I needed and much more than that. I never actually dreamed to find this amazing place, with such a disconnecting atmosphere.
Small family business, Ktima Bellou integrates agrotourism and respect to nature in a stylish, yet traditional boutique hotel. Everything here is designed to make the guest feel special and appreciated, to the smallest details. The whole property is built in a traditional Macedonian architecture with natural materials and feature hand-made decorations. Usually I’m not impressed by the eco-friendly advertising, due to the greenwashing that is more and more frequent in hospitality industry. Luckily it is not at all the case here! From the materials used, to the food served and the way the whole business is ran, everything is designed with the environment in mind. You can feel the concern regarding the impact we all have to the nature and to the life of others!
We spent three days at Ktima Bellou, just enjoying the nature and the incredible hospitality from our hosts, making us feel like visiting dear friends.
Eric was thrilled to spend the whole day outdoors. He still remembers playing with the cats and running them throughout the terrace. I’m not sure, though, which of them was more scared of the perspective of a closer encounter! He was fascinated to see the small farm with sheeps and chickens. We had to pay them a visit each evening before dinner, to wish them good night, and another one in the morning, to see how they woke up.
I am always concerned about the food for Eric when visiting a new place. I’m trying to offer him natural, healthy options, but it wasn’t at all an issue here. What could I desire more than a hotel in the middle of a vegetable garden, growing its own tomatoes, eggplants, beans and many more. It’s a great feeling to see the girls from the kitchen picking green leaves for the salad that will be on your plate within minutes. But the best of all was the strawberry field! Eric could just eat the delicious fruits directly, with no concerns about potential chemicals or fertilisers. The joy in his eyes and his smiling face full of red strawberry juice was enough for our hosts to encourage him to eat as much as he wants.
In the morning, the restaurant smelt like fresh baked pastries, making it difficult to decide what to eat. Everything looked so delicious that of course we had at least to taste a bit of everything… cheese-pie, marinated olives, freshly baked cake, strawberry tart, omelette with vegetables, home-made jams… I’ve been staying at many high-class business hotels in my corporate life, but I rarely had such an amazing breakfast!
For lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers delicious options, traditional Greek dishes with a twist, in a 5-star plating with the same attention to all the small details. The menu is not very extensive, as everything is freshly cooked, from homegrown or locally sourced ingredients. We had here the best moussaka we ever tasted! Since Eric was quite young to try all kind of new food combinations, especially for dinner, there was no problem to get some simple pasta or vegetables custom-made just for him.
Ever since we left Ktima Bellou I’m thinking of options to visit Greece again, just to spend another few days in this special paradise.
So, next time you are planning a Greek beach holiday, thing about other options this great country has to offer. Or, if you are in the area, take at least a visit to Ktima Bellou for lunch or dinner, you will return again, for sure!