Somewhere out there in the shimmering expanse of the Aegean, far from the well-trodden path is a little stretch of coast to make your own. Imagine yourself lying on pristine gold sands, then sauntering down to such clear blue waters that you need to pinch yourself to check you’re still awake.

All around you is a canvas of unspoilt nature; rocky headlands and a festival of wild forest and glade, their colours spilling into the sea. And as you watch the sun sink beneath the waves as a great flaming ball of scarlet, you’ll know that nothing on earth could conceivably match this pure, unsullied majesty. Feel that you are the first to walk on a beach or sail just that bit further along the coast to that one cove nobody’s ever set eyes on.

Peerless, life-affirming pleasures are calling you to islands where everything and everyone accedes to nature’s own leisurely timetable. Here are the currents of a world without the usual hurly burly. You only need to immerse yourself in their seductive flow.

Check out nature’s schedule

Recommended Islands


Authentically Aegean, exceptionally quiet, without fanfare and away from dazzling lights, Sikinos is anti-conformist and carefree. It is addressed to people who want to experience the holidays as an actual break from the workload and the hectic pace of the city. Chora, on the edge of the winds and under the roof of Pantanassa, Alopronia with its connections to almost virgin beaches, the mountainous inland from Paleokastro up to the Diocese and Agia Marina … each point on this island smells of insouciance and thyme.

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Until the mid 1980s Folegandros belonged to the so-called barren line. Then it was included in the regular itineraries of Piraeus and started being discovered by West Europeans and Greek holidaymakers. The island is the ideal destination for mild/ alternative forms of tourism, a fact that is closely associated with its long tradition in self-sufficiency. “Land is what you see and home is where you fit in”, according to a popular Cycladic saying. True; neither in the farmhouses of Ano Meria nor in the old residences of Chora can a double bed fit in a room. The same applies in the countryside. No one would build a tall house, as the winds were very strong from November to February, and…

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The first view offered to the visitor of Serifos is the infertile slopes with the “petrified figures” which bring to mind the myth of Perseus. Then, the ship turns to the port and the visitor views Livadi and Chora dominating with its cube-shaped, white-washed houses hooked on the conical rock, looking just like frozen white lava. Serifos has always been concealing treasures. Today, it generously gives its special energy to its faithful “lovers”, the people who got to know it, loved it, built houses here and made it their holiday destination every summer; people who love it for its authenticity and eroticism; for the wonderful beaches with the little taverns on the sand and the tamarix trees; for the unique…

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This island is just a stride, where you can reach each accessible place after a few hours walk. Schinoussa addresses those who dream of peaceful vacations far away from the noise of the major tourist destinations of the Cyclades. Taste fava beans, local goat, string beans and fresh fish. Swim in Psili Ammos, Tsigouri and the rest of its coasts, which were once pirate bases of operations. Walk through the narrow, and often stalemate, alleys of Chora, discover the gorge of Charakas and peer up the ruins of Timios Stavros.

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Venetians and Francs called it ‘Arzantiera’, meaning Silvery, for the gray-white rocks that welcome you emerging from a shiny and crystal clear sea, as you reach the port of Psathi. Some wanderers believed that the name was given after the ancient silver quarries, which have not been found up to the present day. The inhabitants though, for thousands of years, have always called it Kimolos, thus showing unlimited respect to a place that has its own unique character and is able to capture their thought and gain their love in an inexplicable way. With its austere and approachable beauty, the island grabs your attention at first sight. It looks so tranquil! Yet, this is just an impression, since Kimolos has…

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Since the 1990s, Koufonissia have been the ultimate alternative holiday destination of Cyclades. Before that no tourists used to visit these islands, which is the main reason why their natural beauty is unaltered, with their beaches remaining unchanged, their caves unearthed and their mainland remaining virgin. Keros – the bulwark of protocycladic art – as well as Kato Koufonissi have not been influenced by contemporary civilisation. Pano and Kato Koufinissi, along with their beaches, constitute a small exotic paradise that visitors admire while sailing around them. Chora of Pano Koufinisi is characterised by a well-established accommodation infrastructure as well as places of entertainment which render visitors’ holidays pleasant and enjoyable.

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Windswept Donoussa stands in the northeastern extremity of the Cyclades. It is a majestic place for those who seek alternative, or just tranquil holidays away from the urban/consumer morals. Go up the alleys of Stavros. Quench your thirst with the unforgettable water in Mersini. Discover the shipwreck of World War II in Kedros. See the caves that were once pirate hideouts. Eat some stuffed goat, salted from the natural saltiness of the grass it ruminates. Tiny Donoussa vibrates at its own anxiolytic pace and those who choose to spend there a few days of insouciance do not do so just out of bravery: They do so out of wisdom as well.

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The pristine natural landscapes, the very few cars, the idyllic beaches where you can spend hours swimming and the peaceful and hospitable people are only some of Irakleia’s qualities. Take a walk through the alleys of Panagia, swim under the imposing rocks of Merihas, gaze upon the landscape from the top of Mountain Papas, explore the cave of Ai-Giannis and get a taste of all the local kinds of pure meat and of the fresh and cheap fish. If exploring is your thing, then you should walk over the entire island on foot. It won’t take you more than 3 hours!

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Keros is a semi-mountainous, steep island extending over a surface of 15km2 only 1,5NM northeast of Pano Koufonisi. Its highest peak is Mount Papa (at 432m). The coastline of Keros is 27km long and it is not very fragmented. Hence, there are only a few natural harbors and coves on the southern and northeastern side of the island. The huts of the sheep farmers who visit the island from time to time and the two small chapels at Konakia and Panagitsa are the sole evidence of human presence on the island today. Rural dirt roads run through the central mountainside but they are narrow and inaccessible at some points. They were once opened for shepherds, since there are more than…

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Anafi is a well hidden secret in the southernmost edges of the Cyclades, 12 n.m. from renowned Santorini. Its geographical position and its difficult, up to now, coastal access, did not allow the island to develop touristically as other islands of the Aegean did. Thus, from the moment the legendary Argonauts discovered it up until today, it offers almost the same feelings to its courageous visitors who always come back. Most beaches are virgin with smooth sand and clear light blue waters. There are paths that penetrate into a fragrant inland, springs, proud hills like Vigla, monolithic Kalamos and Kastelli with the deserted acropolis, country churches nestled on inaccessible places and Chora being a specimen of Cycladic architecture. All these…

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