Bloomberg: Avoid Mykonos crowds and visit lesser known isles
In a long feature piece, Bloomberg writer Mark Ellwood, urges readers to avoid the popular Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini and choose the less known islands in the Aegean archipelago. An excerpt from Bloomberg:
Come here hungry: This chic little hideout is the original home of Nikos Tselementes, Greece’s answer to Julia Child. He was the first person to write down traditional recipes for Aegean cuisine a hundred years ago, and Nikos’s book remains available today. Most of those signature local dishes lean heavily on the herbs that grow on the rugged landscape of Sifnos–think thyme and sage–as well as the olive trees and goat’s milk cheeses such as manoura and mithizra, which are usually cooked in the type of clay pot used here for centuries. Manolis is the best place to sample that food; the eponymous chef’s son is now in charge of the kitchen. Don’t miss the medieval town of Kastro, a tiny fortified enclave bolted to steep cliffs that
resemble a set from some lost Indiana Jones movie.
Where to stay: Book the private villas that form part of the Verina boutique hotel, with a private lap pool, gym, and hammam.
This roughly circular island probably derived its name (which means rocky) from an ancient myth that claimed that Serifos’s original inhabitants were petrified into boulders by Medusa’s death stare. Today those rocks, erstwhile humans or not, are its key allure. This is a paradise for outdoor types, a peaceful, hike-friendly island whose best beaches are reachable only after strenuous exertion. To bake on the marvelous Kalo Ambeli, you’ll need to drive on rough-hewn roads and then clamber over the landscape for at least 15 minutes. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and a shady hat for the island’s prime hike, though: a four-hour expedition from the old town, via a series of winding paths, to the fortress-like whitewashed hulk that is the centuries-old monastery of Taxiarchis.
Where to stay: Livadi, the southeastern port, is the handiest base because the island’s old town is perched, Santorini-style, high on a hill via a miles-long, twisty road. Make like the chic Greeks who form the bulk of this island’s visitors by booking a villa there.
It isn’t easy to reach this island in the northern Aegean, especially from Athens. Hugging the Dardanelles, Samothrace is a six-hour journey by car and ferry, even from regional hub Thessaloniki. The odyssey is well worth the effort, though: Samothrace’s lush greenery and pristine landscape is punctuated by the peak of Mount Fengari, which reaches more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Spend time here exploring the countryside, and you’ll be rewarded by thermal pools, hot springs, swimming holes, and waterfalls. Soak up history, too. The rubble-strewn Temple of the Winged Victory, or Nike, was the original site of one of the best-known sculptures from antiquity; The Winged Victory of Samothrace is now spectacularly displayed in the Louvre in Paris.
Where to stay: Enjoy views from the terraces from Archondissa, a self-described boutique beach hotel perched perfectly on Therma beach, between the coast and that mountain.
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