The Lakkos artists residency is a flexible space and works best with a variety of creative activities. We try to introduce musicians to local musicians, writers to writer, painters to painters.... Heraklion has a growing conceptual art scene which we mix with often. We also welcome archaeologists who just want to come and do research on the never ending local history. The cities creative scene is surprisingly big for a Greek island. To see what some previous guests have done check out our blog.
Little yellow guesthouse.
The guesthouse is a little old traditional house. It has a lovely private courtyard. It is one up, one down. The bedroom is of a good size and has a writing desk. Also it is a nice spot to paint. There is a spare bed off the outside kitchen. Downstairs is a living room. The bathroom and kitchen are accessed via the courtyard. The renovation is finished and the house is back to what it was in about the 1960s. It receives a good wireless internet signal.
The main house and artists studios
The main house has two double and two single bedrooms. The single bedrooms have access to their own terrace. All rooms in the main house have access to a shared bathroom and fully stocked communal kitchen. The bedrooms have all been restored and happily the kitchen and bathroom have just been finished as well. .There is a central courtyard and large roof terrace which now has a large shady pergola.
There is also a single bed in one of the studios. This comes in handy if artists wants to stay on a bit longer and the house is full.
The artists residency is located right in the middle of Heraklion's old towns creative centre. The house is actually three houses owned by one family. All houses stood abandoned for between 10 and 18 years before becoming an artists residency. Much restoration has taken place but there is still some work to be done! The area is very quiet except for the older locals and their sometimes barking dogs. The residency is run by Australian visual artist Mathew Halpin. Mathew lives at the residency.
The houses were once one big Turkish house built many years ago. In the 1920's with the Asia Minor/ Greek population exchange Greeks bought the house and changed it to three. Now two of the houses are used for various artistic purposes with four studio spaces.
When is best to come?
Spring (April to June) is the best time to come. The island is covered in wild flowers and the weather is perfect! The sea is starting to warm up if you are brave. Tourists are few.
Summer July to September) in Heraklion gets pretty hot. There is not air conditioning to keep costs down. All rooms have fans. If you dont like heat please do not book summer. There is a beach to walk to in half an hour. This is best after 17.00 as there is no shade. For beaches with shade you need to take a local bus. There are endless choices of beaches. Many tourists in the centre of town.
Autumn (October to December) like spring is perfect! The sea is still nice to take a swim. The temperature is perfect and the tourists have gone.
Winter (January to March) can get cold and wet depending on the year. There are gas heaters in the main rooms. The bedrooms are not heated but if you leave the doors open the warmth from the downstairs heaters will move upstairs.
Suggested donations will go towards future restoration, art projects and maintenance costs. If avoidable restoration work will not take place when there are people staying. So suggested donations are on application according to the needs of the projects. To keep costs down food is not included. The kitchens are fully stocked with all you need to make your own food. There are supermarkets and a huge fresh fruit and veg market close by.
After you agree to an amount of time to stay, and a cost this must be followed. If artists decide to do trips inside of the agreements you must still pay for the time booked. Many day trips are possible. If you want to do big trips please do them in your own time.
The residency does not offer free stays in return for work. Because Greece is going through a hard time right now, it is better to pay locals to do work around the houses.
Minimum of two weeks stay. (Shorter can be possible if there are gaps). Long stays are possible but you must have a very solid project to keep you busy. Maximum number of residence in the main house is 5 which is normally only in the summer. Partners on application. No pets or children. (This can be discussed but not likely in the busy period). It is a working residency. A project/ research must be planned in advance. If you do not really know what you will do here please just book a short stay. Expectations of residence on application. Gallery space can be found for free, or for more major exhibitions fees may apply. Normally if artists just make a one night presentation, these are best done on location. Working language is English. The main house also has a cat and two small dogs who are very friendly! For visual artists who would like to leave a mural, large or small on a streets of Lakkos this is encouraged but optional. Many artists who stay have never done one so find the opportunity fun. The residency provides the paint. Crete is a place that gets mosquitoes in summer. The residency provides nets for windows and over beds. If you are somebody who gets bitten you must look after your own protection.
Things to do while in Crete and Heraklion.
We have many different types of artists who come to stay. We always do what we can to introduce our artists to locals practicing similar disciplines. The underground arts scene is growing quickly in Heraklion. There are also local courses in painting and drawing, ceramics, yoga, dance. It is a small city but it does have a bit of pretty much anything you might want.
Generally most guests want to avoid the regular tourist traps. This is not always possible especially with the archaeological museum and Knossos palace. But as we also like the more obscure things to see on Crete we can give many good tips. The residency is about a half hour walk from the closest (there is now a free city circle but to this beach). Supermarkets and the fresh food market are also very close. There are a few places to buy art materials and hardware shops are also a short walk away.
Easy day trips.
Knossos palace really is a must see. If you combine your ticket with the Archaeological museum you get a much better price. The palace is a 20 minute bus trip from the residency. The museum is a 10 minute walk. www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/antiquities-crete.html Archanes village is possibly the oldest continually inhabited village in Europe. Its history goes back 5000 years and is build above a Minoas village/ palace. It is a 25 minute local bus drive away from Heraklion. The village is very beautiful and the bus trip there travels through Europes oldest grape growing region. On Sunday nights the local kafeneon always has live local music for free. www.we-love-crete.com/arhanes.html
Walking in the remote areas. Walking tours are normally a big turn off as group tourism is pretty vile. But there are local walking groups that charge very little and take groups to remote locations. You wont hear any languages apart from Greek on these tour. Our experiences with them are always fun and it is not hard to find somebody who talks in English. Going south is a must. It can be done on local buses without a tour as well. Here are some photos of a walking trip we did to South Rethymnon. It was mid Autumn (October) but still hot and great for swimming. It was a 6 hour hike which ended at a fabulous beach tavena where the beer was very needed! www.eos-her.gr/en/program/ http://www.pezoporikos.gr/en/ Samaria george is one of the big highlights of coming to Crete. It is a long drive to the the gorge but if you are willing to get up early it is possible. A taxi to the collection point is the best way. www.tripsomnia.com/en/p/511-crete-samaria-gorge www.getyourguide.com/crete-l404/crete-hiking-tour-in-samaria-gorge-t56068/
The Ancient city of Gortyna is in our minds much more fulfilling than Knossos. Knossos is a must see but it is overrun with tourists. Gortyna has one paid part but most of it is lying in olive fields. Apart for goats and the occasional Sheppard you wont see anybody. You can catch a local bus which is about 45 minutes from Heraklion. You can also go via Matala beach and do two stops in one day. www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/gortys.html
As Heraklion is in the middle of the island nothing is too far to travel to. We have done much adventuring so tips are plentiful!
Stuff to do around the residency
The Lakkos kafeneon is one minutes walk away from the residency, on a lovely square. During the day it is good for breakfast and coffee. In the evening it is one of the best places for some drinks and small Greek dishes called Mezes. As it is so close to the house we often have drinks there. www.facebook.com/lakkos.gr/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf