Three lesser-known holiday spots in Greece

Foreign holiday bookings are surging– seek the spots the crowds will have missed. Chris Carter reports

Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, Greece
Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa: peace and quiet just off the beaten track
(Image credit: Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, Greece)

“With the end of lockdown in sight, holiday bookings to Greece are surging,” says Mary Valiakas in The Guardian. But for a “really restorative taste of Greek life… it’s worth swapping the limelight locations for places where mass tourism hasn’t obscured the essence of Greek culture: hospitality and a soulful way of life”.

Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, is one such “gem”, within striking distance of Athens. It feels part “Switzerland-on-sea”, part Caribbean. The thermal springs of Edipsos, in the north of the island, were mentioned by Plutarch and Aristotle as the place Hercules visited to restore his powers; Drakospita, in the south, features 23 megalithic structures, known as “dragon houses”, with roofs made of huge slabs of limestone and may have served as sanctuaries to the gods. Another kind of sanctuary is be found in the mountain villages offering respite from the summer heat. Villa Averoff in the hill village of Kirinthos is a “tranquil 19th-century estate in extensive grounds with two grand mansions each accommodating eight” (from €1,850,

“Remote Skyros”, in the Sporades archipelago, is another Greek island that “thrives on tradition rather than tourism: there are more woodcarvers, potters and shepherds than hoteliers”, says The Daily Telegraph. Ammos, situated in the tiny car-free village of Magazia, a stone’s throw from “a great sweep of sandy beach”, is one of the best hotels. “Look over the jumble of whitewashed houses and all you see is the sea.” The hotel has a saltwater pool and a “cute” wine bar with “sofas under the stars” for sundowners in the evening. Every room has a patio overlooking the sea or garden, while two superior sea-view rooms have “elevated verandas with deck chairs for sunbathing and shaded day beds for snoozing” (around £55 a night,

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For families seeking solitude, but not too far off the beaten path, there’s Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, on the island of Crete. It stands on “a private swathe of seafront in the quiet village of Plaka”. The family duplexes are “sleek, shiny and new, with the chances of finding a half-chewed rusk embedded in the TV remote mercifully slim”, says Susan d’Arcy in The Times. “They also have private pools and sweeping views over the Bay of Mirabello, where you can enjoy snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking. These pursuits should help you to work up a healthy appetite for dinner in one of the resort’s four restaurants, which are overseen by the celebrated chef Lefteris Lazarou” (from around £200 a night,

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.