With more than 6,000 islands off the coast, Greece has more than enough options to get away from it all. Find here some original options for slow travel in the Aegean and Ionian Seas.
Enjoy a peaceful sunset on Folegandros
Santorini is known for its epic sunsets, which illuminate the white houses, volcanic slopes and brilliant blue sea, but unfortunately also for the large crowds. Fortunately, you will also find the same ingredients (without the crowds) on the nearby Folegandros, a small flint of land on the south side of the Cyclades and a place of exile for political dissenters in Roman times. It is best to risk insulting a tyrant in order to enjoy the sunset from Hora, one of the most beautiful villages of the archipelago. From the cluttered center, you can follow a footpath to Panagia: a church that keeps watch over the island at the top of a hill and catches the last rays of sunshine of the day.
Ampelos Hotel has simple, comfortable rooms overlooking Panagaia (from €116).
Santorini has the nearest airport. Transavia offers direct flights between Amsterdam and Santorini (from €153). From Brussels you fly directly with Ryanair (from €232). It is about 40 minutes by fast boat to Folegandros (€90 return)
Discover the secrets of Simi
If you sail into Gialos, you might think you’ve sailed in the wrong direction: on the quayside are Italian-style villas that remind you of the palazzi of Amalfi and Portofino. Simi fell under Italian rule between the 1920s and 1940s. Holidaymakers come from Rhodes to taste la dolce vita in the Dodecanese. Hardly anyone stays overnight, even less go further up the island. Spend your afternoon in Nimborios, with its stone beach and lively taverna, or continue your odyssey down a zigzag avenue to Moni Taxiarhou Mihail Panormiti: a monastery dating back to the fifth century dedicated to Saint Michael, patron of sailors
Set in Gialos’ old market building, Old Markets has themed rooms inspired by Simi’s Venetian and Ottoman past (€198).
The nearest airport is in Rhodes. Transavia and easyJet fly direct from Amsterdam (from €102). From Brussels you fly directly with Ryanair (from €62). From here Dodekanisos sails to Simi in about 50 minutes (from €37 return).
Visit the beaches on Paros and Antiparos
Paros has many beaches with something for everyone. Snorkelers can see crabs crawling away on the rocky kolymbithres beach in the north and windsurfers can head to the golden Hrysi Akti in the south. Some diaper-installed people might choose Santa Maria, full of beach chairs to finally read that book in. Paros also has a little brother: the island of Antiparos, with coasts that are definitely worth exploring. Blue Island Divers in the village of Antiparos can arrange diving lessons and expeditions. You can dive between schools of silver barracudas or float above a seabed full of millennia-old amphorae (Open Water course from €404).
Beach House Antiparos, on the south coast of the island, has nine suites in green gardens (from €81).
From both Amsterdam and Brussels you travel via Athens. Several airlines offer domestic flights from Athens to Paros.