I am pleased to tell you about a couple of new ventures on Crete that should appeal to those who are into ecotourism. One is Milia (www.milia.gr), a long-abandoned village in the mountains of western Crete that has been converted into a retreat for those willing to stay in old stone houses, do without modern hotel facilities (although there is electricity), and eat a limited but delicious natural diet. It is operated by native Cretans, and you are left pretty much on your own to enjoy the natural setting. I want to avoid guidebook superlatives, but I feel confident in predicting that if you are looking for a truly natural stay in Greece, no place beats this. The second is the Dalabelos Estates (www.dalabelos.gr), with 10 houses (new and with all amenities), and is in the countryside outside Rethymnon; here you are on a working farm and, depending on the season, can participate in such activities as grape or olive picking or even sheep shearing. Both places require a vehicle to reach even though the proprietors would pick you up at a nearby bus station. Milia is a solid 2-hour drive from Chania and requires a willingness to travel the last miles up a rather scary dirt road; once there, you would probably want to take all your meals at the simple dining room. Dalabelos Estates is about a half-hour's drive from Rethymnon but not served by public transportation; in any case you would want a car to have the freedom to move about the island. For those wavering about which to take on, note that at Milia you have no view, but you step out of your cabin into a wooded area bursting with wildlife. The Dalabelos Estates is a bit more like a resort in that it offers both handsome accommodations and a selection of diversions.

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