Agritourism is a rather new way of spending your holiday in Greece. Discovering the rural life in Greece, while taking part in the farm life with all the farming activities turns a simple travel experience into the unique discovery of culture, tradition, and personal friendships beyond nationalities in gorgeous Greek settings.
What is agritourism / agrotourism?
Agritourism (or agrotourism) is bringing visitors to a farm or ranch, involving them in any agricultural activities. In different parts of the world agritourism has different definitions and might be referred to as farm stays, like in Italy. In the US agritourism may include a broad variety of activities, like buying produce direct from the farm, picking fruit, feeding animals, navigating tractors, or staying at a ‘bed and breakfast’ on a farm.
Different types of agritourism
There are five categories of agritourism:
- Direct-to-consumer sales (e.g. farmstands, u-pick)
- Agricultural education (e.g. school visits to a farm)
- Hospitality (overnight stays at a farm)
- Recreation (e.g. hunting, horseback riding)
- Entertainment (e.g. hayrides, harvest dinners)
Where did agritourism start?
Agritourism is seen as a kind of niche tourism and a growth industry in many parts of the world, like Australia, the United States, Canada, the Philippines, and in Greece.
Agritourism took its first baby steps in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, where farmers found a new way to diversity in their revenue. In Italy, they named this new business “Agriturismo” and in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand it has become known as “farm stay holidays.”
Why is agritourism popular?
The last decades, along with urbanism growth and huge import of various foods people have become more interested in where and how their food is produced. Not only in their own country but around the world as well. They want to meet the farmers and the processors and talk with them about how the food is produced.
To many people, especially children, a farm visit marks the first time they see the source of their food, be it an apple on a tree, a dairy cow, or corn growing in a field. Farmers use this interest to develop traffic to their farm and awareness about the quality of their products.
Agritourism and ecotourism
Ecotourism is part of agritourism. Depending on where exactly in Greece you stay, there will be many choices for you. Greece has with national parks, stunning landscapes, and wetlands one of the richest floras and faunas in Europe. If you love action in nature, do not miss out on your favorite sport in the incredible Greek nature, like swimming, mountaineering, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. Wake up every morning hearing the birds singing, enjoy breakfast in the shade of old trees and prepare yourself for the adventures of a new day under the Greek sun.
Farm stays in Greece
Farm stays or agritourism in Greece may involve you in picking olives using a variety of age-old harvesting techniques, and with transferring them to a traditional olive press, where you will learn how to extract the precious olive oil.
You can also take part in the grape harvest and see firsthand how they are transformed into wine or tsipouro, or pick fruits, mushrooms and herbs in nature and learn about bee-keeping.
For you who love animals, getting to know how to take care of cattle or sheep may be quite a surprising experience with daily milking and caretaking. If you are interested in the more gastronomic side of the production, you can participate in the yoghurt and cheese productions.
Agritourism – an educational holiday
While taking part in any agritourism cooperative in Greece, you can take part in cooking classes learning how to prepare pastry and old-school jams, spoon sweets, stewed fruits, home-made bread, pies, fresh pasta as well as liqueurs and other delicacies of the local Greek cuisine.
In some rural areas of Greece you can take part in pottery workshops and develop your handcraft skills. In wineries you will learn all about the secrets of varieties, aromas, colors, and taste, while sipping exquisite wine. Whatever your choice, you will carry valuable knowledge back home from Greece.
Why is agritourism important?
It is a kind of tourism that offers the opportunity to try multi-activity in the agricultural sector and to live the life of the local inhabitants, getting in touch with the authentic characteristics of the chosen region, while showing respect for the environment and tradition. Agrotourism brings the visitor really close to nature and the daily activities, while also getting to know the traditional cuisine and the local products.
This simultaneously mobilizes the productive, cultural and developmental forces of an area – and is thus contributing to the sustainability of the rural environment, both economically and socially.
Agritourism and rural tourism in Greece
Many businesses – throughout Greece – offer you the satisfaction of getting to know the Greek countryside through special agrotourism programs. These businesses are classified in the following categories:
- Outlets / exhibitions of agritourism products
- Agritourist catering and recreation centers
- Travel agencies organizing and implementing programs offering outdoor activities and excursions of ecotourism and cultural interests
- Staying overnight at B&B’s on farms
- Business producing traditional products
- Popular art workshops
Agrotourism in Crete
- Vamos Traditional Village
Between Chania and Rethymnon, at the foothills of the White Mountains and only a short distance from the northern Cretan sea, is the traditional village of Vamos, with a rich cultural heritage.
- Milia Mountain Retreat
Milia is an authentic 17th century mountain settlement which has been transformed into and eco-friendly tourist complex; it seems to have sprouted from the lands of Crete. A glorious location boasting exceptional rugged beauty around Kissamos, Chania.
- Eleonas – traditional cottages
Guesthouses built at the foot of Mount Psiloritis. Guests will have the chance to interact with nature by participating in alternative tourism activities. There are areas suitable for hiking (the gorge, the lake as well as hiking paths on the mountain slopes). Nearby archaeological sites and beautiful beaches.
- Stratos Villas
Stratos Villas overlook a landscape with hills, which resemble an endless natural rock garden. Trees, bushes, and herbs grow among the rocky slopes. The small river, just 100m away from the villas, is inhabited by frogs, turtles, and crabs. This peaceful scenery makes our villas the perfect place to relax and revive your mind, body, and soul.
- Enagron Ecotourism Houses
On Mount Psiloritis in Rethymno, Enagron Ecotourism Houses grow olive trees, grapevine, all kinds of fruit trees, greens, vegetables and many herbs and aromatic plants with mild, natural, and organic methods, without fertilizers and chemicals. The farm has also many animals and poultry for eggs, milk, and meat.
- Melidoni X Villas
This exquisite holiday village development in Melidoni, is offering you 3 Villas at 70sqm and 2 Villas at 90sqm. Each Villa has its own pool furnished with beautiful sun terrace and surrounded by a colorful garden.
- Lasinthos Eco Park
“Lasinthos” is a pure proposal and a unique opportunity for all those who are interested in getting to experience and to know closely the beauty of life in the Cretan countryside in St. George, Lasithi Plateau, Crete
Agrotourism in the Cyclades Islands
- Red Tractor Farm is a family owned guesthouse on the island of Kea in Greece. It is open all year round.
- Pagali Hotel is situated in the mountain village of Lagada, on the northeastern side of the island of Amorgos, Greece, above charming Aegiali Port and Town.
Agrotourism in the North Aegean Islands
- Spilia Studios
‘Spilia Studios’ is a complex of four traditional houses in Kardamyla, in the island of Chios, which can accommodate at least twelve people. In addition to a magnificent view, their location, at the highest point of the settlement, offers excellent conditions for concentration and relaxation…
- Arhodico agricultural pension
Right in the heart of Kampos you will find an ideal residence for your holidays called ‘Arhodico’. It is a luxurious agrotouristic pension which was first run in 1993 but built in 1890 by the ancestors of the recent owners. It is a two –storey building with comfortable rooms.
- Ikarian Winery & Organic Farm
Ikarian winery is in Pigy, a hill village 8 kilometers to the west of the port of Evdilos, in the region of what used to be the ancient Ikarian kingdom of Enoi. The winery, the organic farm and the agrotourist unit were set up by George Karimalis and his wife Eleni when they returned to their native home to dedicate themselves to environmental work on their own land.
Agrotourism in the Ionian Islands
- Logothetis Organic Farm
Set within the bounds of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Zante) in Vasilikos region and close to Gerakas beach, Logothetis Organic Farm offers holiday houses, villas, and eco-activities for responsible and relaxing holidays.
- Lithies Houses
Lithies Organic Farm on Zakynthos island is ideally placed for hiking and pleasant walks in the stunning surroundings with maps available outlining suggested walking routes. Lithies houses are in the centre of Vassilikos which boasts the best beaches on Zakynthos.
- Melivaro – ecological, traditional villa
Melivaro is a large house of traditional architecture and construction, located in the mountain above the village of Tsoukalades on the west coast of Lefkada island. It is 700m from the village for essential groceries (very well-appointed minimarket) and taverns, less than 5 minutes’ drive from the beautiful Pefkoulia beach, and 10 minutes from the fishing village of Aghios Nikitas and from the living Lefkada town.