SHORT HAUL TRAVEL- 5 alternative Greek island getaways

Picture the scene; you’re sitting outside a taverna, taking a break from the relentless heat of the summer sun. Around you are charming rural homes, in the distance an unspoilt coastline. The pace of life is nothing short of sedate, and you wouldn’t change that for the world.

The Greek islands can be the most relaxing places on the planet, if you know how to escape the madding crowds. Here are five you might not have thought of before, all of which are to die for, and should be priorities next time you’re considering a trip.

Antiparos, Cyclades 

Although Antiparos could never be described as glamorous, it does have a habit of attracting Hollywood A-listers looking for a slice of real island life. The main street leading to charming Kastro- a 15th Century fortified settlement- is teeming with places to sit and drink, meanwhile elsewhere it’s possible to lose yourself completely in remote beauty.

Gavdos, Crete 

Just off the coast of Crete, one of Greece’s biggest hitters, sits the tiny island of Gavdos; population roughly 100. During peak season that increases to around 3,000, and if we tell you most of those visitors are here to camp it should offer an honest image of this gem. Almost untouched, completely unspoilt, it’s a paradise for nature-lovers.

Hydra, Saronic 

A strange combination of the traditional and non-conformist come together to make Hydra truly unique. Its rugged beauty is the thing painters long to have as a muse, the main town is a place of blinding white alleyways and ramshackle 1930s townhouses, and every summer the high school and slaughterhouse play host to ultra-cool art shows.

Ithaca, Ionian 

A lack of sandy beaches and international airport have ensured Ithaca’s preservation- a stark contrast to neighbouring Kephalonia. Most arrive by boat, and once they’re here never want to leave. Postcard-perfect villages, historic sights, and stunning mountainsides come together to create a wonderful idyll where peace and tranquility are standard.

Symi, Dodecanese 

The first thing to say about Symi is that, in real terms, there is just one road. Yep, you heard that right- one road, which should give you an idea of what to expect here. In addition, there are abundant aging mansions to take pictures of, a marvellous harbour to walk around, stunning Byzantine frescos and a Michelin-starred eatery called Muses.