There is nothing joyous about being woken up by a screeching cockerel at the crack of dawn. But in rural Crete you come to accept it, like the sea of bleating goats which block the mountain tracks every morning. The rustic charm of the island is epitomised in the village of Megala Chorafia near the Venetian port of Chania. With its cinematic backdrop of the White Mountains, the hamlet has a thriving community who farm the olive groves and vineyards. We stayed above a farmhouse, complete with donkey and goats, owned by the local Botonakis family; its balcony overlooking the deep blue bay of Souda was a haven of calm – despite the cockerel. The holiday was organised by Pure Crete.