Off the beaten path Greece
Greece has always been among the most popular holiday destinations worldwide. Especially its numerous amazing islands, filled with an abundance of visitors each year, who enjoy the crystal-clear beaches, sunny mornings, wandering around the island, and of course, the delicious local cuisine and delicacies.
The following islands are ideal for those who don’t like tourist-packed places and noise, wishing to enjoy a quiet holiday with their family or their other half, or for those who are feeling adventurous and want to discover destinations off the beaten path.
Paxoi is the smallest of the Ionian Islands, located south of Corfu. It features small, picturesque villages, white pebble beaches in the eastern coast, and rare rock formations and caves in the western part. Paxoi is an ideal destination for those who love sailing, swimming and walking. Adventurous visitors can hire a motor boat to visit the island’s isolated beaches. Gaios, the capital and harbor, has plenty of bars, restaurants and cafeterias, while Lakka is a small village with a few traditional houses and narrow streets, perfect for walking. Those wishing to be even more isolated can visit Antipaxoi, a tiny, quiet island, south of Paxoi, with stunning beaches.
Located in the eastern Aegean Sea, near Samos, Ikaria is a unique Greek island renowned for its relatively high longevity rate and its relaxed, peaceful lifestyle which seems absurd to many foreigners. The shops aren’t open till midday and the locals are extremely friendly and hospitable to visitors. The island is also famous for its traditional festivals called panygiria, where locals and visitors gather at the village square and celebrate all night long, eating traditional food, drinking plenty of wine and, of course, dancing to various Greek folk music.
Anafi is a small Cycladic island near Santorini. Despite the roughly 12-hour ferry trip required to reach it, Anafi is a top destination for those in need of a serene holiday. The center of the island, called Chora, is full of white, cubic houses and chapels, and is built on top of a mountain, offering visitors a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. The local roads aren’t in very good condition and visitors are suggested to walk around the island or hire boats to visit the few beaches, the most famous being Roukounas. There are also some nice restaurants and cafeterias where visitors can relax, have a drink and admire the idyllic view.
Located in the Ionian Sea, next to Cephalonia, Ithaca, the home town of Odysseus, is a peaceful island, unaffected by mass tourism, with secluded, beaches with crystal-clear waters, picturesque villages and ancient monasteries. Its capital, Vathy, one of the largest natural harbors worldwide, has many traditional taverns, bars, local shops and archaeological sites. For sea lovers, Ithaca has both sandy and pebble beaches, along with great water sports facilities. Additionally, boat trips to the surrounding islands are an excellent way to relax and discover the island’s beauty.
Koufonisia, located in east Cyclades, consisting of Ano (Upper) Koufonisi and Kato (Lower) Koufonisi, have recently become popular among Greek and foreign tourists but at the same time managed to keep their character and authenticity. Koufonisia are popular due to their calm beaches, golden sand and turquoise waters; the small natural pools and the magnificent sea caves, along with the island’s excellent cuisine — full of fresh fish and seafood — are what make this destination a gem. The Chora of Koufonisi is a typical Cycladic village with picturesque streets, white houses and a white windmill. Koufonisia also offer excellent opportunities for hiking and discovering, since they are quite small and all distances can be covered on foot within two or three hours. Tourists can also visit the small, nearby island of Keros.
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