Brittany Hoekstra - December 21, 2021
Six little pieces of Greek heaven!
If you fancy stretching out on a golden sandy beach and relaxing to the gentle sound of waves on the shore, why not pack your bikini and head to a Greek island this year? There are several thousand islands scattered like pearls across the eastern Mediterranean and 227 of them are inhabited. Some of the islands including Corfu, Crete and Santorini are incredibly well known and very popular. If you don’t mind a longer journey to get well off the beaten track, you can find some equally beautiful islands, hardly touched by tourism.
Promise yourself a very special holiday where you can stay in a small guest house or an apartment. You can immerse yourself in stunning countryside and the unique culture of the island, where food is linked to the passing seasons and the warm hospitality of the people is amazing -
Kalosorisate – welcome and share with us...
This pretty green island is situated just south of Corfu and is said to have been broken off the southernmost tip by Poseidon, god of the sea, with his trident. There are just three villages; Gaios, Lakka and Logos. The villages are charming with traditional houses and tubs of flowers plus sea promenades and family-run seaside tavernas.
Paxoi remains relatively untouched by tourism, but the harbour of Gaios is popular with glamorous yachts in the summer months. The island boasts amazing beaches. Its coastline is fringed with numerous small bays and 40 sea caves which are great for scuba divers. Windsurfing is also popular as there is always a good onshore breeze. There are boat trips to the tiny island of Antipaxoi, well-known for its Caribbean- style beaches. Paxoi is the perfect place to relax as there are no organised activities. If you visit in spring or autumn, hiking around the island is fun.
● There is no direct flight to Paxoi, so the nearest international airport is in Corfu. The hydrofoil takes 30 minutes to reach Paxoi and the car ferry about 90 minutes.
Lying just 22 kilometres across the Aegean from Santorini at the furthest point of the Cyclades is Anafi. This beautiful island with its warm friendly people is amazingly tranquil and unspoilt as it has avoided mass-tourism. It is fun to relax and wander along the narrow paved passageways of Chora (its main village) discovering small chapels and the ruins of the Venetian fort.
There are numerous secluded beaches, particularly on the south-east coast and these are easily accessible by bus. Beaches on the north coast are rocky and isolated but have crystal clear waters.
For hiking enthusiasts there are several trails to the ancient city of Kastelli and the monastery of Panayia Kalomiatissa where there are the remains of a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo.
The island cuisine showcases locally caught fish. The saffron-flavoured bread is excellent and many dishes feature the island’s honey and walnuts.
● To reach Anafi, there is a twice-weekly ferry from Santorini (currently Tuesday and Saturday). If you fly to Athens, there is also a twice weekly ferry to Anafi from Piraeus. These ferry services operate June-September.
This tiny beautiful island is situated just two kilometres from the Turkish mainland and the coastal town of Kas. The island measures just nine square kilometres and is enchanting and totally Greek with blue and white painted houses, numerous churches and chapels and the clearest blue waters. The main village has impressive Venetian mansions once owned by ship owners. In the small harbour, it is possible to pay a fisherman €30 to take you in their boat to see the absolutely stunning Blue Grotto – beware though you have to lie flat in the boat to enter this hidden wonderland! There is the chance to take a boat trip to the tiny islet of Ro with its appealing sandy beach.
Kastellorizo is the smallest of the inhabited Greek islands but is totally enchanting with small tavernas and guest houses strung along the harbour front and all serving amazing fresh fish and seafood including lobster.
● The easiest way to get to Kastellorizo is to fly to Rhodes and then get the ferry to the island that takes 2-3 hours (depending on the currents).
The dramatic volcanic island of Milos is the most south-western island in the Cyclades group and is famous as the place where the Venus de Milo was discovered in 1820 and which can now be seen in the Lovre. The island has a lunar-like landscape and no less than 65 lovely beaches, with the most spectacular being Sarakiniko with its sparkling white rock formations, crescent of powdery sand and clear blue waters. In comparison, Tsigrado Beach is a tiny sandy beach, accessible only by ladders. Firiplaka is a stunning beach with deep red coloured rocks.
Milos has pretty fishing villages, amazing food and the most spectacular sunsets. The main towns are Plaka and Pollonta and they have places to stay and good restaurants. In the fishing villages of Klima (known for its catacombs) and Firopotamos you will see numerous pretty white-washed houses with gaily-painted shutters.
● The best way to travel to Milos is to fly to Athens International Airport and take an internal flight or helicopter to Milos or a direct ferry from Piraeus to Milos.
This unspoilt island in the western Cyclades has one of the prettiest main towns with cube-shaped white-washed houses tumbling down a hillside. Serifos is situated amongst a number of islands so is ideal if you fancy ‘island hopping’. There are numerous gorgeous beaches including the blue-flagged Psili Ammos with its powdery fine sand. There are chapels to visit and the mining trail to follow, where everything like the railway tracks are just as they were when mining ended. A boat trip to the nearby ‘foodie’ island of Sifnos is great fun as the island is just 50 minutes away.
The Chrysoloras winery is open to visitors and produces some good organic and sustainable wines. The island’s cuisine is tasty and includes lounza – the local sausage – and marathotiganites, which are large fried fennel cakes. The almond sweets amigdalota are tantalisingly good too!
● The way to travel to Serifos is by ferry from Piraeus. These are daily during the summer and take between 2- 4 hours. There are also regular boats from Sifnos, Milos, Paros and Naxos too.
Amorgos is a wonderful mixture of stunning scenery, pretty Cycladic architecture, hidden caves and gorgeous palm-fringed beaches. It is the perfect choice for those seeking peace and tranquillity. Trekking is the popular way to get around in the cooler springtime months. The main town – Chora Amorgos- nestles in the centre of the island surrounded by rocky hills and is a maze of winding alleyways with cascading bougainvillea and little coffee shops. As the sun sets, everyone heads to their favourite taverna to enjoy the island cuisine accompanied by psimni raki – which can certainly be powerful!
For those who enjoy exploring there are traces of the Minoan civilisation to be seen and the 11th century monastery of Hozoviotissa which clings to a cliffside 300 metres above sea level. There is a long and tiring staircase to climb – but the view is the perfect reward!
● Amorgos can be reached by ferry from Piraeus and several other islands including Santorini and Naxos
So what better way to beat the January blues than to start planning your holiday to sample a little piece of Greek heaven?