The Mediterranean Insider

Search
Close this search box.

Crete, Greece

My Mediterranean, as told by Alexandra Manousakis

An insider’s guide to the Mediterranean with Alexandra Manousakis

Meet Alexandra Manousakis, an artist, winemaker, ceramic designer and entrepreneur extraordinaire, who runs Maiami, a combined brasserie and artist studio in Chania, Crete. Born in Washington, DC, and now immersing herself in the Greek landscape, Manousakis’s intriguing fusion of cultures, her keen exploration of identity and her unwavering passion for artistic expression make her a compelling voice in Greece. Manousakis’s journey – from managing her family’s winery and fostering Maiami to developing a successful ceramics line and engaging with themes of ‘otherness’ and connection in her art – embodies a unique Mediterranean narrative. Here, she shares her experiences and favourite places around the Mediterranean, offering a fresh perspective on the region that has shaped her multifaceted career.

Portrait photography courtesy of Vicky Tsatsampa

Alexandra Manousakis Chania Crete Greece
Alexandra Manousakis Athens Attica Greece

“Apart from the undeniable beauty of this country, it’s the simplicity of life here that truly captures my heart.”

In the Med, my favourite country is …

Greece, where I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life. My childhood summers were spent riding my bike in my father’s village, Vatolakkos, in the Chania region of Crete. Apart from the undeniable beauty of this country, it’s the simplicity of life here that truly captures my heart. Everyday life, food and routines are stripped down to their essence. There’s a uniquely human pace to life here, where the quality of life takes precedence. In a world increasingly cluttered by social media and overscheduling, Greece offers a chance to relish in simplicity, taking the time necessary to truly enjoy the simpler things.

For a dose of urban pulse, I head to …

Athens, a city undergoing its own unique renaissance. The art scene is buzzing, with numerous exciting concepts being realised all over town, particularly within the food and wine scene. The city offers a wealth of vibrant activities, from museums and bars to theatres, and is conveniently just a 25-minute flight from Chania, enabling quick getaways.

Alexandra Manousakis Manousakis Winery Chania Crete Greece

“There’s an inexplicable magic about this part of Crete in the summer – it’s incredibly calming.”

For the perfect close-to-nature experience, I visit …

… the Manousakis Winery and its vineyards. My winery is located in a small village outside of town, with our vineyards perched about 650 meters above sea level up the mountain. Living on an island blessed with both mountains and incredible beaches ensures I always have easy access to nature.

For a memorable getaway, I check myself into …

… Marmara beach in southern Crete. There’s an inexplicable magic about this part of Crete in the summer – it’s incredibly calming. The stunning views and sea are truly unforgettable. The journey by boat from the village of Sfakia and the tranquillity experienced after the last boat leaves make for a significant wow factor, especially if you’re lucky enough to secure one of the three rooms at this beach.
Alexandra Manousakis Salis Chania Crete Greece restaurant
Maiami Chania Crete Greece restaurant artist studio

“I might be biased, but I sincerely believe in his culinary vision.”

For a great meal, I go to …

… my husband’s restaurant, Salis, where I usually order the tuna belly dish. I might be biased, but I sincerely believe in his culinary vision. The restaurant, located on the calmer part of the main harbour in downtown Chania, is perfect for people-watching while sipping on good wine and sharing mezze with friends.

For a fun night out, I head out to …

… my art studio and restaurant Maiami, which has a laid-back brasserie vibe and where I spend most nights. However, for those times when I crave a change of scenery, I visit my friend Kleopatra’s place, The Five, nestled on Nea Chora beach in Chania. As a committed wine lover, the unexpected thrill of Kleopatra, with her expert sommelier skills, surprising me with an intriguing glass of wine is something I truly relish.

Alexandra Manousakis Justbrazil Crete Greece fashion store
Alexandra Manousakis Knossos Palace Crete Greece

“The archaeological site never ceases to fascinate me … ”

For a dose of retail therapy, I shop at …

… Justbrazil. It is my go-to, with a few locations boasting an excellent selection of clothes. My good friend Renata, the owner, has her own brand, Galeria, featured there, offering beautiful clothes and accessories. Another shop I frequent is August, conveniently located next to one of the Justbrazil locations.

For a dose of culture, I head to …

… the palace of Knossos in Heraklio, which I’ve been visiting quite often recently. The archaeological site never ceases to fascinate me, bridging the past and present, as it does, by illuminating aspects of Ancient versus modern Greece that I’m currently exploring in my art.

Alexandra Manousakis Ammos Hotel Chania Crete Greece
Alexandra Manousakis Ammos Hotel Chania Crete Greece

“These are the moments when time seems to stand still, allowing you to be fully present and let your daily worries wash away with the waves.”

For a hidden gem, I recommend …

… Ammos Hotel in Chania. It’s just a 10-minute drive from the city. The hotel is design-focused and offers some of the best food on the island, making it a truly special spot.

For me, a quintessential Mediterranean experience is …

… a day-long beach trip that starts in the morning and goes on till the evening. There’s nothing quite like enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner at a beautiful seaside taverna while spending time with your children on the beach. These are the moments when time seems to stand still, allowing you to be fully present and let your daily worries wash away with the waves. This, for me, is the ultimate Mediterranean experience.

Share this

Book your stay

Stay in the know

Sign up for the latest hotspot news from the Mediterranean.

Advertisement
Mediterranean tastemakers

My Mediterranean, as told by Daniela Franceschini

My Mediterranean, as told by Nikos Karaflos

My Mediterranean, as told by Alexandra Manousakis

Freebie!

Get our free Mediterranean hotspot map!