From heart-stopping adventures to the perfect Mediterranean dish, Greece has a variety of destinations to discover. In 2018, we handpicked five island destinations which already enjoy some of the limelight and will attract some international discerning travelers looking for crystal clear waters, authentic cuisine and the well-known Greek philoxenia (φιλοξενία).
Located close to Mykonos, Paros island has recently become a traveler’s dream with its golden sandy beaches, rejuvenated local cuisine, its Cycladic architecture with the whitewashed houses with the flat roofs and blue windows, the windmills and the narrow alleys. The destination is ideal for soaking in the sun, windsurfing in the breeze, drinking cocktails at sunset and hopping on a fishing boat with the locals. The island is also perfect for surfing or kite surfing, trekking or cycling, and there is always a view or sunset to pass by, walk through, cycle by or fly over.
Among the most picturesque fishing villages in the Aegean Sea, the village of Naoussa is a “must visit”. The scenic harbor is like a theatrical set, full of colors and aromas. Other villages to visit are Aliki with the new marina for boats and Parikia, the main port of the island, as well as the villages of Lefkes and Marpisa.
Located between the islands of Mykonos and Andros, the island of Tinos features sandy, blonde beaches and well-preserved villages full of chapels, fountains and sculptures signed by well-known marble artists such as Gyzis, Lytras, Chalepas, Filippotis and Sohos.
Originally a place of pilgrimage, Tinos owes its unique purpose to the Church of Panayia Meyalohari, imposing upon the Chora, the island’s capital. It is a spiritual location, catering for sophisticated escapes and body and soul transformative wonders. Light a candle, enjoy sunset or sunrise yoga, taste the local organic produce, hike through ancient paths connecting the inner villages or swim in a secluded cove.
In the afternoons stroll in one of the many villages, through whitewashed alleys, neat houses and churches, where fuchsia-colored bougainvilleas overflow through walls and balconies, adding a dose of intensity.
Amidst the countryside, there are hundreds of dovecotes, all resembling small fortresses that are worthy of a photographic exploration.
Kea is part of the Cyclades complex whereas its close proximity to Athens along with the announcement for the opening of the first One&Only resort in Greece, has made it a popular destination and a yachting escape. The island is ideal for those looking for unspoiled and semi-secluded beaches, remote coves and blue-turquoise crystal clear waters. The island is also known as a hiker’s dream as it features a few routes that take you through a variety of landscapes to coves, ruins of ancient cites, archaeological sites, windmills and ancient footpaths.
The capital of the island, called Ioulis, is built forming an impressive natural amphitheater, offering superb views of the island and the sunset. The main square is a get-together point while the stone paved streets not allowing cars to pass, create an ambience of serenity and tranquillity. The unique architecture of mix tiled roofs and whitewashed houses, along with the aromas of the orchards and gardens, surround the neighborhoods. The local summer cinema is a treat after a day of exploring the island with the scent of summer jasmine swirling all around.
Located right next to Paros Island and a heartbeat from the little island gems of Koufonisia, Naxos Island exhibits astounding charm and unique customs. The diverse beach options, the renowned Naxian gastronomy – as well as the rich cultural presence – are just a few good reasons to visit the largest island of the Cyclades.
Naxos offers a variety of fun experiences for everyone! It has ideal beaches for windsurfers to tackle the waves and the most beautiful exotic horses on which you can ride into the sunset, and it is perfect for divers who wish to discover the underwater world.
Naxos offers a hospitable home for families on holiday, a cozy haven for lovers and a thrilling experience for the bold.
Serifos Island, a lesser-known Cycladic island, will impress you with its variety of scenic bays and impressive hillsides. The island has retained its authentic charm, while its main village called Chora, encompasses the Cycladic aesthetic with its small whitewashed houses, restored windmills and narrow, cobbled paths.
Chora is built amphitheatrically on a relatively steep hill and every step reveals a new delight; be it the neoclassical town hall, the ruins of a 15th century Venetian castle or, once the summit is reached, the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea at the main square at the top. The Cycladic buildings blend in harmoniously with the rocky landscape creating an overall ambience of tranquillity and peace.
The island’s coastline boasts some of the more dramatic bays and blonde sandy beaches on this side of the Aegean. Combine sand and pebbles and you will get the beaches of Livadi and Livadakia, two of the most popular spots. The popular tamarisk-lined Koutalas Beach and its neighbours Vagia and Ganema are worth a visit. At the end of a long day under the sun, there is always a restaurant right on the waterfront serving local food, ‘loutza’ – sun baked pork, ‘revithada’ – baked chickpeas, ‘marathotiganites’ – fried fennel cakes, and dried tomatoes.
Serifos by all means encapsulates the Greek summer. Dance in a festival, swim in one of the quaint coves; enjoy the light breeze on your face.
Maria Nikolakaki is Managing Partner at Beyond Spaces Villas.
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