2018 will likely be a record year for tourism in Greece, but even if you haven’t booked yet, you can still find places to stay in these great destinations.
Samothraki – nature lover’s delight
Located in the northeastern Aegean, Samothraki (also known as Samothrace) has some truly fairytale landscapes not normally associated with Greek islands – most notably the Fonias Gorge with its waterfalls and plunge pools that you can swim in all summer long. Walk along the gorge under lush trees accompanied by colorful dragonflies flitting about. Higher up the mountain the Springs of Fonias are a bit harder to get to but also offer magical swims under waterfalls surrounded by rocks so smooth they form natural waterslides. Boats take visitors to the more remote (and beautiful) beaches and it is not uncommon to spot dolphins along the way. Devotees to the island (many of whom eschew rooms for the natural delights of camping) say it has a unique energy apparent not only in its unique landscape, but in the incredible food as well (the local goat is said to be unparalleled).
Pilio – where the mountain meets the sea
Roughly a four-hour drive from Athens and located near the city of Volos (which has an international airport), Pilio combines much of the best of Greece has to offer (forested mountains, fantastic beaches, stone-built villages, stories of centaurs). While it is a popular destination among Greeks and foreign visitors, the accommodation options are many in and around the numerous villages, so even in the height of summer you should be able to find a little slice of paradise. Combine nature hikes with visits to the beach easily and effortlessly – and for even more variety a gorgeous train route takes you through forested slopes to a mountain village. Great for couples, groups or families where the sheer variety on offer is sure to keep everyone happy.
Compared to its more famous siblings in the Sporades group – Skiathos and Skopelos, Alonissos is a little harder to get to. But this relative remoteness is perhaps the island’s greatest asset as it has helped keep the crowds at bay. Here you will see aspects of local life from a time before Mamma Mia-generated fame began to draw ever larger numbers to this small group of islands in the Aegean. Densely forested and in the heart of a large marine park that is home to breeding populations of rare seals, Alonissos is proud of its green credentials having banned the use of plastic bags. Popular among divers, nature lovers or just people looking to get away from it all.
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