I counted 400 steps from my bed to the sea shore, but Chara Houses is not just another vacation house by the beach. And we’ve been to many! But none had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with showers, which is for me what makes Chara stand out. Together of course with the lush green garden, the toys and the nice surprise that by the first night, we made friends with the owners and the other residents!
But let’s see more, shall we?
Location Location Location
In my experience after having stayed in over 50 properties with the kids, is that location is everthing. Chara Houses are situated right on Kalamakia beach, one of the very few sandy beaches of the whole peninsula – and a very idyllic one, I may add. It’s at Skoutari, a seaside village with shops and taverns. The bay is proud to host 3 taverns, all 3 being some of the best we’ve been at. It’s also close to and easy to get to Gytheio city, which has doctors and pharmacies and a hospital.
Kalamakia beach at Skoutari Bay
So Kalamakia beach is 400 steps away from your bed. It’s a sandy beach with tiny little shells and even tinier crabs, which the kids will explore for hours. The azure water is crystal clear and the surrounding area is breathtaking, typical Maniot, with mountains, rocks, wild flowers and medieval stone chapels. The beach right in front of Chara Houses is kind of private due to its close circle shape and there you’ll find an umbrella with sunbeds with your room number on, just for you.
You can kayak here, run on the beach, swim or just walk on the sand to Kalamakia tavern close by for seafood that you’ll only taste here. Walk a little further and you’ll find two white-washed taverns with tables on the sand and equally amazing food.
Well the Houses are huge. 90 square metres each, to be accurate. The ground floor is connected to the garden and it features a lovely patio with dining table, an inside living area, a fully equipped kitchen, a shower and the washing machine. On the first floor, you’ll find two bedrooms with one double or two single beds each, as well as the bathroom. On the attic, there’s another bedroom ideal for two people. Meaning that each Chara House is ideal for a family of 6-7! You can stay here with grandma and grandpa or if you have 4 kids, well this place is for you!
I really enjoyed one especially important detail, the fact that all rooms, including the attic have abundant closet space. And that the bathroom’s sink has a counter – I usually find just a faucet there and I have to carry my toiletries on my shoulder…
Also, each house has its own private parking space.
In your Chara House, you’ll also find a basket full of local organic products hand picked by the owners. That’s a great way to taste the best of Mani as a snack or for lunch. You’ll also find refreshments, juice and water at the BBQ area, and if that’s not enough, you can always have groceries delivered from Skoutari.
How family friendly are Chara Houses
1. Since each house can easily sleep 6-7 people, Chara Houses are perfect even for a family with 5 kids!
2. There are travel cots, high chairs, baby tubs and baby cutlery available free of charge.
3. The lust garden is connected to each House – actually 3 from the 5 houses don’t even have a single step to get to the garden. It’s easy and safe to play here, even for 2-3 year olds! Babies can crawl around and explore, too.
4. The football table kept the twins busy for hours, while the several board games are ideal for every time of the day.
5. I’ll mention the beach again, as it’s family friendly as well. There are no currents, the water is not deep and you won’t have to help your kids in and out of the car if you don’t have to: you have the best beach at your back yard, literally.
6. We really like the Saturday BBQ ritual, as it’s a great opportunity for both our kids and us to make friends with the other residents. Don’t skip it! And if it’s too late for your kids, make sure to bring a baby monitor with you, so that you can enjoy it after they’ve fallen asleep.
7. There’s also activities for the kids with a local teacher who will keep them entertained creatively and athletically.
8. There are kayaks for rent, perfect to explore the whole bay with kids on board!
9. Skoutari is easily accessible by car from Athens and close to Kalamata International Airport. It’s also close to Gytheio town for everything you might need.
10. The owner loves flowers and grows herbs and vegetables that will be very educative for the kids to discover and learn from.
11. The property is safe and fenced. The door closes automatically, there are no strays, not a single person you won’t know roaming around. And the tots won’t get out either 😉
Explore from here
Chara Houses is located just 20 minutes from Gytheio town, where you’ll find everything you need, while within 5 minutes drive, you’ll find grocery stores in Skoutari village. The cobblestone alleys of beautiful Areopoli town are just 25 minutes from here, and we recommend you pay a visit to its amazing taverns and gelaterias. In 30 minutes, you’ll find yourselves in Instagram’s favorite Limeni bay, where the sunset is sublime and you’ll get to see sea turtles. Three amazing beaches are even closer, Kotronas, Skopa and Chalikia Vatta, with Alypa’s gorgeous green waters being a bit further away.
However, you’ll soon see that Kalamakia beach right in front of Chara Houses, as well as all of the sandy stretches of Skoutari are pretty magical to swim at and spend the whole day – and night, with cozy little taverns along the coast serving amazing seafood right on the shore.
See more about Mani with kids
* Important information for runners/triathletes etc., the sea is ideal for your 1000 metres open water swim, you can run on the beach and can ride your bicycle to Alypa and back on a very demanding 50K route. Enjoy!