Island hopping revisited

As my work has it, I’m currently preparing a travel guide for a few of Greece’s best and lesser known islands. Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Antiparos, Amorgos, Skiathos, Ios and Aegina. Yes, it’s not a bad project to be involved in, considering alternative options would involve stories related to the current recession. While doing the research and writing, I looked up some pictures I’d taken on holidays which inevitably and brought back memories and  led to some realizations. First, I’ve really been around. I saw pictures of a younger me standing under a whitewashed archway, smiling and holding my dress so that the wind would not reveal too much. Others of friends seated around a table, feasting on seafood, faces slightly burned from spending the day at the beach, eyes revealing a generous consumption of wine.  I even found pictures of a tiny me attempting to feed a donkey somewhere in Paros, taken at a time when you had to develop the film before you could see if the exposure was any good. 

The project has been keeping me busy for weeks and will continue to do so for a few more. It is by no means a complete guide, it will just feature what I consider to be the highlights, a first acquaintance to allow one to discover even more. More importantly, I’m hoping to convey, even to a smallest degree, a sense of their uniqueness, a feeling of the atmosphere and the reason why people keep coming back. 

Last year's holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Last year’s holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Second, people make their preferences crystal clear. I haven’t yet met a person who didn’t include Santorini in their bucket list. I see it all the time in Pinterest’s boards. Especially those who consider tying the knot and want to find the perfect romantic getaway. Cheesy, but true. Party animals want to know about Mykonos and Ios and so on. If you ask me, I crave peace, quiet, clear waters and a good meal, so I go for the more obscure islands, the ones where you’re least likely to come across the package-holidaymakers. Avoid travelling during peak season also improves dramatically my travel experience. Don’t be fooled by my eclecticism though. I’ve done the mainstream island tour in my twenties and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Last year, I went to Paxi and Antipaxi, a small cluster of islands in the Ionian sea, right below Corfu, in western Greece. These islands are not exactly obscure. They are very popular with new skippers who want to take their sail boats for a spin, but they have managed to escape mass tourism. If you visit early in the season you will be rewarded with low winds, emerald waters, countless little coves and beaches, captivating scenery and truly amazing food, especially in Logos village. I highly recommend it. 

Do you have a favorite Greek island? Interested in visiting one?


13 responses to “Island hopping revisited

  1. I am afraid I am part of the cliché majority on that matter. My favourite island destination is Santorini. Actually it is my favourite destination in general. This place is from another planet. An island I would love to visit and haven’ t done so yet is Samothrace and its waterfalls.

    • Santorini? I didn’t see that coming! I thought you, of all people, would say something like “Leros”! Not that I’m not a victim of Santorini’s lure, but I find your choice surprising. I also want to visit Samothrace, they say the scenery is amazing.

  2. planning to visit santorini and mykonos in september 🙂 🙂 but after reading ur post could be glad to explore other islands too …thanks for the info.

    • Well Njoy, if you’re a food lover, stick to Mykonos and Santorini this year. I hear Santorini is hosting a culinary fest all year round and Mykonos offers everything from Greek to Japanese cuisine. Have fun and thanks for commenting!

      • oh wow dat sounds great ….but do let me know if september is the right time to visit the greek islands??

        • September (and June) is the ideal month to visit the islands. The onslaught of the high season is over so you will enjoy better service and lower prices wherever you go – and the weather will still be perfect. You made the best choice!

  3. I would love to sail a yacht with my husband around the islands 🙂

    • The perfect way to visit Tandy. There are many Greek companies renting sailing yachts for leisurely trips around the islands. All you have to do is choose your company – if any – and the islands you wish to visit. Its best though to avoid sailing around the Cyclades in August, because the winds (called meltemi over here) are quite strong – unless sailing is the objective.

  4. Folegandros. I visited it back in 1997 and completely fell in love with it. It seems to be more ‘in’ nowadays but I just loved the flair of the unexploited back then. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a visit!

    • my mum chose the same island. I haven’t been yet but everyone says the main village is so pretty it looks like a movie setting!

  5. Surprise surprise…I would propose Chios. I adore Chios, you have to spend minimum a week there to see around the island because it’s a big one. Best time to visit…June, begging of July and September. You can enjoy excellent food and extremely nice beaches for swimming, clear and cold sea!! Avoid everything that is touristic (i.e. carfas beach)….find the hidden beauty of the island by exploring it from side to side. You can also visit very old monasteries and villages with peculiar architecture. I am willing for extra info if someone asks for. xxxxx

    • I agree Elpida, Chios is a revelation, with picturesque villages and cheap, good food. It’s an island still off the mainstream tourist’s radar.

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