Greece Travel Planner—The Islands!
Another you asked, we answered special! The quiet side of the Cyclades, best island combos in the Dodecanese, and deep intel from Hydra to Corfu to Crete
Most of you know that this country is near and dear to my heart. I went for the first time in 1985, as a high school junior tagging along with my friend’s family who brought me to Mykonos–and it blew my Bay Area mind. I returned the following year, renting an apartment in Mykonos for the month of August, and basically doing what high school graduates do when they have their first taste of freedom. But I’d signed up for a 4 month long college program on the sleepy island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese that was to start as soon as the partying stopped, and that was what really changed my life. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time in Greece, visiting lots of different places–but never enough. It’s always the same problem, I fall in love with a place, and the people, and then I want to go back and see them again–which means not exploring as much as I want to. Putting together this Planner has been so great for me—I’ve learned so much from so many of the very generous friends and experts who have shared their favorites, and it’s forced me to pull my notes and lists out of all of their many places and put them all down here. Because the majority of your questions focused on the islands—which ones make sense to visit together, the quietest or the most fun for a multi-gen family, the best authentic tavernas and where to find sandy vs. rocky beaches–we decided, once again, to break our Planner into two: this week the islands, next week the mainland and Peloponnese, plus a few more of your general questions around renting boats, houses, and more. Πάμε! (Pame=let’s go!)
THE CYCLADES (incl. Santorini, Paros/Antiparos, Naxos, Mykonos, Milos, Syros, Tinos, Serifos, Andros, Kimolos)
This island group in the Aegean is known for its classic whitewashed hilltop towns and turquoise seas. We answered many of the questions we received, but if you want more intel, see our Cyclades list from last year here (which we also lightly cribbed from below).
Would love to hear about Milos, Sifnos and any other islands that are less busy, please!
Any tips for a 10-day holiday between Milos and Folegandros with an 18-month-old baby in June? Accommodation, car or boat rentals, things not to miss, restaurants etc?
I love Milos and its relaxed, down-to-earth vibe. Because it is so rich in minerals, it hasn’t had to rely on tourism the way so many others have; locals aren’t jaded and there are more stores that cater to people who actually live there, rather than loads of expensive boutiques. It has so many beautiful beaches and doesn’t have one main town that everyone gravitates to, so even at the height of summer it doesn’t heave the way some of the over-touristed islands do. Skinopi Lodge, a modernist-style property overlooking the sea, is our spot. It was pretty much love at first sight with its owner, Nausika Georgiadou—smart, strong, opinionated, charming, great taste, captains her own boat! Everything is so intelligently and thoughtfully done—plus outdoor kitchen and shower, and the best sunset views. Every day Nausika told us what beach to go to—looking at the wind charts to see where would be the best for that day, and then she’d come up with the lunch suggestion based on that. My favorites are Medousa (in Mandrakia)–one of the most photographed restaurants on the island, with its seafront location and octopus hanging on the line. While it often has a wait, there are the most charming syrmata (colorful cave boathouses) to wander around. Taverna Embourious, (simple and fresh with tables right on the water), O Hamos (in Adamas, lovely for a late lunch–dinner is too crowded), and the souvlaki spot O Gyros in Adamas is great for a simple fast lunch. If you take a boat to neighboring island Kimolos, To Kyma is excellent–a feet in the sand kind of place that makes delicious imam (baked eggplant). For dinner my favorite is Ergina in Tripiti, which makes the best “grandma” food. And Palaios bakery in Plaka is a nice place to get coffee and orange cake in the morning. —Y.E.
Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas, co-founders of the Australia-based, Mediterranean-obsessed lifestyle brand Alex and Trahanas, know the island well. “Milos has some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Kleftiko Beach on the