Greece and its multitude of islands have long been a classic holiday destination, and while popular islands such as Crete, Corfu and Kos succumbed to the developers many years ago, other traditionally quieter destinations such as Kefalonia and Skopelos have gained fame, and the fortunes of mass tourism in recent years, featuring on our big screens in such films as Captain’s Correlli’s Mandolin and Mamma Mia. So is there anything left from Greece to surprise us? Well, as you’ll see below, the notion that Greece has nothing new to offer, is a work of pure fiction.
The largest in a circular archipelago in the Cyclades group of islands, Santorini isn’t strictly undiscovered, being as it is a popular stop-off for cruise-ships. However, a walk out to Oia on the tip of the island with its vertical cliffs, natural caves and tiny village communities, is a secluded treat.
Away from the beaches and tavernas, Epirus is the setting for the Pindus mountains and the Unesco-protected Vikos gorge, a hiker’s paradise that shows off a different side to Greece than the popular image of sun-soaked bays and whitewashed villages.
Symi isn’t accessible by plane, making it a truly isolated paradise away from the crowds. The small town of the same name offers plenty of hidden treats winding their way up the hillside that the town sits on, while the harbour is full of tavernas and cafes offering an authentic Greek experience.
Gavdos is the most southerly island in the Mediterranean and is truly off the beaten track. So secluded is this tiny island, inhabited by only 100 residents, that tourist facilities are almost non-existent. The best way to take in the island is to camp, and just soak up the quiet.
Balos Bay, Crete
Crete is the largest and most popular Greek island for holiday-makers, but there are little corners that lie away from the commercialised centres, where you can still find spectacular seclusion. Balos Bay is relatively cut off from the island’s main towns and roads, and boasts one of the world’s great beaches in a truly stunning setting.
Found on the eastern extremity of the Greek Cyclades, life is quiet and slow on this very remote island. With an absence of traditional Greek tourist attractions such as museums and ancient ruins, not to mention bars and clubs, there is little else to do on Amorgos but sit back, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.
If you want unspoilt Greece, but would like to fill your days with more than just sunbathing and quaint tavernas, then Ermoupoli on the island of Syros, is the destination for you. A spectacular historical town on a hill, crowned by an ancient church, this is the epitome of Mediterranean charm.
Bordering Macedonia and Albania, Prespa Lake is a national park and wildlife sanctuary offering seclusion on the Greek mainland. It is a stunningly peaceful setting, and you’ll feel a million miles away from the typical image of Greece as a tourist destination.