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For those loving the “dolce far niente” type of holidays meaning spending lazy days by an amazing beach, gazing at milliards of stars in the sky, not having a hard time choosing where to have dinner, not needing to drive hours to visit a popular site or not feeling stressed at crowded places, you are reading the right article!
There are a few islands that are small, remote and remain away from the beaten track. These small “paradises on earth” can only promise you one thing: complete relaxation in its simplest form. A beach, a tavern, and a sunset are the main ingredients of this type of holiday and be sure that you will lose track of time the moment you set foot on the island.
We have compiled a shortlist with some of those islands. They are small (local population less than a few hundred) and remote (the ferry ride is long), while a car is not necessary. Pack a pair of trekking shoes, and a book, and let’s go! Oh! and don’t forget the sunscreen too!
Note: Due to the small number of hotel units, early booking is the only thing you need to worry about on this holiday.
Donoussa is an island of the Cyclades and more precisely it belongs to the Small Cyclades sub-complex, located northeast of Naxos. Like most of the Cyclades, the landscape is arid and wild. There is only one main village called Stavros, which is the port of the island and the center of life on the island, where taverns, hotels, bars, and shops are located. Beaches in Donousa are small in number but really impressive. Kedros, Kalotaritissa, Livadi and the beach of Stavros are where you will have some of the most memorable moments on the island.
Where to stay: Althea studios
If a 10-hours-long ferry trip from Piraeus does not discourage you from finding a place to unwind during your summer holidays, then Lispi is the place for you. Your days here will include sipping ouzo and eating grilled octopus at a traditional “ouzerie”, swimming in turquoise waters, exploring the nearby Arkioi, Aspronisia, Tiganakia and Marathi islets, having a siesta under a tamarisk tree and eating amazing food at Dilaila, one of the most delicious restaurants of the Dodecanese islands.
Where to stay: Studios Angela
Schinoussa is also part of the Small Cyclades islands that are located in the heart of the Aegean sea, east of Naxos and with a local population of less than 200. This small gem has a main village (Chora), a port and 2 small settlements. It is an island small in size, but with many beaches all around its shore: Psili Ammos, Tsiggouri, Livadi to name a few. Although there is a basic road network, walking on foot is the most popular way to move around. During your stay in Schinoussa, you will eat the best fresh fish and seafood, as well as its famous fava beans at its small restaurants. Breakfast or brunch at the traditional cafe “Xara” will soon become an everyday habit, while for those who want to interrupt the hotel-beach-tavern daily ritual, you can book a tour by boat to Iraklia or Koufonisia islands that are located very close.
Where to stay: Ailouros Scenic Guest Houses
The small Cycladic island Anafi of around 300 inhabitants has not been discovered by many travellers either, making it a great getaway for everyone who would rather avoid the hordes of tourists frequenting the neighboring islands. The only settlement on the island is its Town (Chora), which lies on a hill above the port. The picturesque Chora of Anafi represents one of the most typical examples of Cycladic architecture: small, cubic-shaped, whitewashed houses, narrow alleys and breathtaking sea views. There are a few great taverns where you can try the local delicacies, as well as several places to stay. The most popular thing to do in Anafi is probably hiking. Panagia Kalamiotissa chapel is located on the top of the Kalamos hill which is the second-highest monolith after Gibraltar! As locals say, a visit in Anfi will not be complete without witnessing a sunset or dawn at this amazing chapel. The southern side of the island is also full of amazing beaches with crystal clear waters and a golden shore where you relax and live your best island life with no distractions at all.
Where to stay: Ypseli Anafi’s hive
With a population of no more than 800 inhabitants, the small island of Tilos is the perfect remote destination where you can relax and recharge your batteries away from the crowds. Tilos is part of the Dodecanese island group and has 3 settlements in total: Livadia, where the island’s main port is located, Megalo Chorio, the island’s capital town where you will discover the ruins of a Medieval castle and Agios Antonios, the smallest village on Tilos. Tilos has a few truly beautiful beaches that are located just a few kilometers away from Megalo Chorio, where you can swim in turquoise waters and soak up as much sunlight as you wish. If you would like to see something out of the ordinary, don’t skip a visit to Charkadio Cave and the paleontological collection in Megalo Chorio.
Where to stay: Tilos Fantasy