White River: A Traditional, Eco-Friendly Alternative Settlement for Relaxation
White River is the oldest settlement in the area of Pefki, southeastern Crete, 1000 meters north the beach at Makrigialos. The natural beauty of the region with its pristine beaches, traditional villages, and four local gorges attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The American Indian Pueblo-looking square brown stone structures of the guesthouses (10 in total) have been restored in harmony with the landscape, transporting visitors to another, long-gone era. They were built about 300 years ago. The last renovation was in 2011. The decor is simple and uncluttered. Antique furniture, old chests, old textiles and copper utensils decorate the interiors. Stone bed frames, windows, beamed ceilings, with reeds and earth for insulation complete the picture. Cobbled paths connects the houses together. The thick, stone walls keep the houses cool in summer and warm in winter.
With a effort to respect nature and the environment, the operation of the hostel is based exclusively on alternative energy. The photovoltaic system of the hostel has won the first European Prize for Greece. This system powers the garden lights, reading lights over the double beds, lights in bathrooms, fridges in the kitchens, and hot water in the bathrooms. The main lighting of homes, comes from paraffin lamps and candles. In the reception area guests can charge any electrical device. In the same area there is a library, internet and wi-fi. Their use is free. White River is an excellent choice for eco-tourists.
Historically, in late summer the villagers descended from the safety of their elevated settlements into the valley to harvest, and during winter months lead their livestock down to spend the colder months in the warmer climate.
So they built small dependencies to spend nights with relative ease as they lived long periods in the valley. They were, in effect, seasonal summer homes.
These houses were built from natural local stone and usually consisted of only two rooms - one for the family and one for animals.