The 10 Best Places to Travel in 2019 / Jake Hamilton / The i-escape blog

By Jake Hamilton, Editor

Over 32 million tourists will visit Greece this summer. Avoid the stampede and discover a hidden Greece

 


 Milos Island

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Milos island

Why go: Beloved by Greeks, this beautiful Cyclades paradise is home to an abundance of treasures and boasts an incredible 72 beaches – including the Instagram-famous Sarakiniko beach.

Where to stay: Stylish Skinopi Lodge has three immaculate sea-facing villas (for 2-4) set on the untrodden shores of Milos Bay. Each villa has stone-and-glass interiors and extraordinary 180-degree views.

What you get:
●  Absolute privacy
●  Unbeatable views
  Immaculate interiors
●  Mesmerising sunsets
●  Over 70 beaches

Fly to Athens or Santorini, then catch a domestic flight or ferry to Milos.

 

 

 Andros Island

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Andros island

Why go: Just a few hours from Athens in the Cyclades islands, little-known Andros resembles the Scottish Highlands (but with Med sunshine) and has some of the best crowd-free beaches in Greece.

Where to stay: Beautiful Onar was voted our Best Beach Escape for 2020. It’s a secluded collection of cottages (for 2-5) with a stunning beach just minutes away.

What you get:
●  Stunning location
●  Lovely cottages with homespun style
  A charismatic owner
●  Total privacy (with communal meals)
●  A true ‘escape the hordes’ getaway

Fly to Athens, then take a taxi to Rafina (30mins) and catch a ferry to Andros (2hrs).

 

 

3  Leivathos, Kefalonia

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Kefalonia

Why go: While Kefalonia gets chokka in summer, you can still find pockets of paradise just a few miles inland, such as pretty Korianna village, the 16th-century hilltop castle of St George, the monastery of Ayios Gerasimos and the nearby Robola winery – all in Leivathos district. Visit in May, June or September.

Where to stay: We think My Little Place on the Hill is the best little hideaway in Kefalonia. It has 17 stylish suites plus a large pool with an alfresco bar.

What you get:
●  Immaculate suites (most with terraces)
●  A great pool with a kids’ area
  Amazing owners Vicky & Alex
●  Fantastic value for money
●  Just 7km to the airport

Fly direct to Kefalonia Argostoli, or fly to Athens then get a connecting flight (1hr).

 

 

4  Lefkas Island

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Lefkas island

Why go: Amazingly, you can drive to Lefkas (or Lefkada), thanks to a small bridge connecting it to the mainland. Even in July and August, this beautiful Ionian island has a peaceful, unhurried vibe.

Where to stay: The Gecko is a romantic adults-only villa (sleeps 2-4) on the unspoiled west coast. It has huge open-plan rooms, a sleek pool and spectacular sea views.

What you get:
●  A generous welcome hamper
●  Large interiors
  An exquisite master bedroom
●  A pool with views
●  Guaranteed privacy (adults only)

Fly to Preveza on the Greek mainland, then drive or take a taxi to Lefkas (40mins).

 

 

 Kallifteri beach, Pelion

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Pelion

Why go: Located next to seaside Afissos village, Kallifteri is one of the quietest beaches on the Pelion peninsula, especially in early June or late September. Or head to the east coast and hike down to cliff-ringed Fakistra Cove for total seclusion.

Where to stay: Stylish Six Keys guesthouse is set right on Kallifteri beach and serves the best food we’ve ever tasted in 20 years of reviewing Greek hotels.

What you get:
●  A near-private beach
●  The best hotel food in Greece
  Delightful exclusivity (only seven suites)
●  Diving and kayaking from the beach
●  Ideal for couples

Fly to Volos, then drive to Afissos (30mins). Or fly to Thessaloniki or Athens (3hr and 4hr drives respectively).

 

 

6  The White Mountains, Crete

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Crete

Why go: Crete, Greece’s largest island, gets rammed in summer, but mostly on the coast. Head west to the glorious White Mountains (Lefka Ori) and enjoy incredible crowd-free landscapes and the deepest gorges in Greece.

Where to stay: Hidden in the mountains, Milia is a beautifully restored traditional settlement with 14 gorgeous stone houses. There are amazing hikes in every direction.

What you get:
●  Total serenity
●  Fabulous value for money
  Delicious home-grown food
●  Incredible hikes in stunning nature
●  A morning’s drive to Crete’s best beaches

Fly to Chania (60km) or Heraklion (190km), then hire a car and drive west along the NR-90.

 

 

7  Evia Island

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Evia island

Why go: Evia is the second-largest island in Greece, yet remains largely unknown to non-Greeks. The beaches are amazing, plus you can drive here (via a bridge).

Where to stay: Eleonas Hotel is an impeccably run guesthouse with 10 light and airy bedrooms (all with sea views) and delicious home cooking. It’s also very eco-savvy.

What you get:
●  Excellent value for money
●  Impressive eco-credentials
  Lovely bedrooms
●  Hiking and biking on your doorstep
●  Lovely hosts Stefanos & Marina

Fly into Athens (165km), then hire a car and drive over the bridge at Chalkida to Evia.

 

 

8  Alonissos Island

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Alonissos island

Why go: Unlike other Sporades islands, Alonissos is a genuine hidden paradise. Even in summer, it’s blissfully free of crowds. Discover sapphire blue seas, dreamy villages and the friendliest locals in the Aegean.

Where to stay: The Infinity 180 Luxury Suites is a showstopping hideaway with just three suites (with wraparound views) and a stylish infinity pool. There’s a safari-style tented spa in the garden.

What you get:
●  Adults-only tranquillity
●  Unbeatable views
  Gourmet meals
●  A cracking infinity pool
●  Exceptional hosts

Fly direct to Skiathos, then take a ferry to Alonissos (2.5 hrs). You can hire a taxi or arrange a transfer to the hotel.

 

 

9  Deep Mani, the Peloponnese

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Peloponnese

Why go: Deep Mani is stark, wild, spectacular and completely untouched by mass tourism. It’s famed for its castles and boasts one of Europe’s finest coastlines.

Where to stay: Citta dei Nicliani is an 18th-century tower house turned hotel in historic Koita village. It has eight romantic rooms and is surrounded by extraordinary landscapes.

What you get:
●  Excellent value for money
●  Delicious food and wine
  Historic rooms with modern comforts
●  Striking surroundings
●  Marvellous hosts (the Sepsas family)

Fly to Kalamata, then rent a car and drive to Koita (2hrs). Alternatively, fly to Athens and then drive to the hotel (3.5hrs).

 

 

10  Peroulades village, Corfu

crowd free hidden greece travel guide iescape Jake Hamilton Corfu

Why go: Large parts of Corfu have been decimated by mass tourism, but the dreamy Corfu of legend can still be glimpsed in places like Peroulades village. For something truly special, drive 25-minutes south to Afionas, then hike down to the wondrous double-beach inlet of Port Timoni (pictured).

Where to stay: The ochre-red Villa de Loulia is a stylish 18th-century manor house with a gorgeous pool and a walled garden. It feels wonderfully private, even in summer.

What you get:
●  9 lovely bedrooms
●  A large pool in a walled garden
  Close to a quiet sandy beach
●  A short drive to Corfu Town
●  The best sunsets on Corfu

Fly to Corfu, then rent a car to Villa de Loulia (35km)

 

Looking for more inspiration? Read our Best Secret Greek Islands Guide

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