The 5 paradises on Earth that are found in Greece
The most precious gifts come in small packages, just like the islands that you will get a taste of below. The sophistication they have, the history, the culture and the mesmerizing beauty they are blessed with will lure you in to witness it all for yourself.
You will have stepped away from the mass crowds, from the endless nightlife and you will have entered a new world that is ambrosial and angelic. With more authentic experiences and with courteous locals, you will have your most meaningful vacation on these unique islands.
How can one island be so tiny but in possession of all these elements that make it unforgettable? Find out below!
Paxos & Antipaxos
Only about an hour away from Corfu, there lays the magnetic island Paxos. With just 3 villages and 2,300 permanent residents, Paxos is one of the most picturesque islands one can visit in Greece. The villages of Gaios, Lakka and Loggos can be visited easily in only one day, but we guarantee you that a lifetime won’t be enough to truly appreciate the dazzling scenery. The capital of the island is Gaios and it is protected from rough seas by the two little islets of Panagia and Aghios Nikolas, home to a monastery and three little churches. Sail to the island of Antipaxos that is even smaller, with fewer residents and mostly covered in vineyards. In 15 minutes you will reach an island with clear turquoise waters, virgin beaches and you will find your peace.
Koufonisia is a cluster of 3 islands, Upper Koufonisi, Lower Koufonisi and Keros. They used to be the secret gems of the Cyclades, but now are cramped with tourists, as their charm and heavenly flair wasn’t able to stay hidden for too long. The Upper Koufonisi is the only one that holds permanent residents, with close to 400 people living there all year round. The other two islands are only reachable by boats and are exquisite for daily excursions and camping trips. These islands will fascinate you, as they seem as if they were taken straight out of the Caribbean just to be showcased in the Aegean Sea for a few months.
Kastelorizo is a remote island where the movie Meditarraneo was filmed in 1991. Its bright colors and its amphitheatrically built harbor will spellbind you and once you actually realize what there is to see on this island, you surely will book to stay a few more nights. The Lycian Tomb is one of the must-sees of the island. It is a 5thcentury BC grave built into a rock face, a truly impressive site. The churches of Aghios Konstantinos and Aghia Eleni as well as the 14th-century castle Kastello Rosso (which gave the island its name) are also landmarks that musn’t be missed. However, the true masterpiece on this island is the blue cave. Locals say that the water has taken the deep blue color from the sun’s reflection in the walls of the cave. You cannot capture the precise color of it with your camera, you must experience it and see it for yourself!
Located in the Dodecanese, Symi is a small jewel that has around 2,500 permanent residents. The island mainly lives off of tourism so it is natural that during the summer months, the number of residents increases. Gialos is the port of the town and it is famously known for its bright colored neoclassical mansions built all around it. Walk the 500 steps to get to Ano Symi (the island’s capital) and take in the extraordinary view!
Gavdos is the southernmost Greek Island, located in the Libyan Sea, 45km from Hora Sfakion in Crete. There are only 50 permanent inhabitants on the island of Gavdos all year round, but the digits go up to a few thousands during the summer months, as the island welcomes many tourists who are mainly nature-loving campers. Kastri, is the capital of the island and it’s where the locals live. Although it is a completely off the grid island with not that many accommodations and taverns, the stunning sandy beaches will make up for it!
Maria Nikolakaki is Managing Partner at Beyond Spaces Villas.