NEW YORK – Five less well-known islands of Greece “to discover” on your next visit were featured in Condé Nast Traveler (CNT). The list includes Antipaxos and Meganissi in the Ionian Islands, and Kimolos, Thirasia, and Antiparos in the Cyclades.
Antipaxos, Ionian Islands
Antipaxos is an islet one mile off the coast of Paxos with a population of “less than 30 people,” CNT reported, adding that “every summer day hundreds of visitors to Paxos make the 15-minute boat trip to spend a few hours swimming in the turquoise seas off of Antipaxos’ three main beaches, pebbly Mesovrika and Voutoumi or white-sand Vrika.”
“You can swim or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters— or head to the nearby, even smaller islet of Daskalia to scuba dive, hike the hills, and eat in one of the island's four simple, delicious tavernas: Spiros Taverna or Vrika Taverna on Vrika beach, Voutoumi Beach Bar and Restaurant on Voutoumi beach, or Bella Vista, on the hill above Voutoumi beach,” CNT reported, noting that “the tavernas only serve lunch (which, this being Greece, can go as late as sunset)— as there isn't much of a dinner crowd given the lack of hotels on the island.”
Some villa retreats are available for those who would “like to feel like you have the island to yourself after the beachcombers head home,” CNT reported, adding that “you can find posh options on U.K.-based sites such as Condé Nast Traveler specialist The Thinking Traveller, Ionian Villas, and simpler homes on Airbnb and Vrbo. Just remember, if you book one, you’ll have to bring groceries from Paxos.”
Meganissi, Ionian Islands
The “Big Island” is “just the largest of the 10 islets dotted along the coast of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea,” CNT reported, noting that “it’s a half-hour ferry ride (five nautical miles) from the rowdy port town of Nidri on Lefkada, but it’s also billionaire adjacent; Meganissi’s neighboring island is Skorpios, once owned by Aristotle Onassis, now the property of a Russian heiress.”
“On Meganissi, you can sun on white stone beaches (not, one hopes, being snapped topless by paparazzi on a boat as Jacqueline Onassis once was), scuba dive, explore the three main villages (Spartochori, Vathi, and Katomeri) or rent a boat and sail to secluded coves or sea caves so large they’re said to have provided shelter for Greek submarines during World War II,” CNT reported, adding that “there are a few small hotels but this is largely villa (or yacht) country. Find one through Five Star Greece or British outfits such as CV Villas, or more basic accommodation through Vrbo.”
The island of Kimolos is the home of CineKalisperitis, the outdoor cinema, presented by Fotis Marinakis and the Kimolistes team. Photo: Courtesy of Fotis Marinakis
Kimolos “is less than a mile from its big sister island, Milos, and the distance between them can be bridged with an hour-long ferry ride or half-hour hydrofoil,” CNT reported, adding that “the seas around it are every bit as stunning, boasting the same— and arguably, even bolder— cobalt-glass and emerald-green hues.”
“There’s also a whitewashed Cycladic village at its peak (called Chorio, which means ‘village’ in Greek), and a top-notch taverna— To Kyma— [The Wave] on the sandy beach next to its port,” CNT reported, noting that “royals of the noble and Hollywood kind have been known to dock their yachts in the natural harbor at Poliegos, the neighboring deserted islet. Should you find yourself without a boat of your own, you can book options from a windmill to a beach house through Aria Hotels.”
“This islet was part of Santorini until a volcanic eruption violently split them apart in the second millennium BC, creating the famed caldera Santorini’s clifftop hotels overlook,” CNT reported, adding that “today, the three and a half mile islet has 150 or so locals and, in summer, its fair share of day-trippers taking the 10-20 minute passenger ferries from Santorini (several leave each day from Ammoudi bay in Oia or the port in Thira).” “It’s quiet, starkly gorgeous, and a window into what Santorini might have been like 50 years ago,” CNT reported, pointing out that “there are five small villages with interesting architecture— Potamos, in particular, is known for its traditional cave houses— hiking trails, black-sand beaches, classic Greek tavernas, a few small hotels, a cave house or two, and rooms to rent on Booking.com and Airbnb, and one fabulous villa: Perivolas Hideaway, an offshoot of Santorini’s famed Perivolas hotel, is an 1850s pumice mine renovated into a four-bedroom dreamscape with a pool, private beach and marina, and views of Santorini sparkling across the sea.”
“Less than one nautical mile— and a 15-minute ferry ride— from Paros,” Antiparos a “Cycladic gem is 27 miles long and full-time home to about 1000 locals,” CNT reported, noting that “it’s the summer getaway of choice for celebrities, with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson being the pioneering boldfaced names.”
“Design enthusiasts are drawn by the islands' incredible beaches, charming pedestrianized main town (called Chora or ‘town’), dramatic cave, and collection of architecturally significant villas, most created by Oliaros properties,” CNT reported, adding that “while the neighborhoods near town can function as a place to see and be seen, it’s also possible to hide away, listening to the cicadas and counting actual sheep grazing in the hills above the sea.”
“As a home base, you’ll have your choice of villas, like Emeria, which are also available through White Key and Five Star Greece, barefoot-chic boutique hotels like Beach House, and, as of this year, The Rooster, plus renovated historic properties like windmills and miners' cottages,” CNT reported.