We’re sitting outside a cute little taverna, the small of lavender, thyme, eucalyptus and olive hangs heavy in the air. Impressive, considering the waft of fresh fish cooking in the kitchens at the back.
Papa George’s is a little bit like one of those place you read in a book. A classic Greek taverna, it overlooks a bay so pristine you’d think it had never been discovered, let alone played stage for epic sea battles and civilization-defining moments for millennia.
In comparison to the islands, Greece’s mainland has always existed in the touristic shadows. Hardly unexplored, nevertheless, the number of British visitors heading to the country beyond the sprawl of Athens pales into insignificance against big hitters in the Med like Rhodes, Crete and Corfu. After spending five minutes in the whistlestop of Schinos, roughly one hour or so by highway and then narrow, winding road, you can’t help but consider all that foreigners are missing out on.
Not that this area doesn’t see an increase in population once the summer months hit. For many inhabitants of the capital, this is the ultimate rural retreat- in striking distance of the Parthenon to make even a day trip possible, yet a million miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown life. A place where all there is to do is laze on the stunning beach, take a dip, perhaps even pay one of the local fishermen to take you out for a sail- the best way to explore many of the nearby coves, some of which would be inaccessible if it weren’t for the waves themselves.
It’s not all quiet life here, either. Every Sunday, Cariocas, a beach bar built by hand from Swedish wood by the eldest in the Papaeleftheriou clan, now run by sons Panos and George (owner of the aforementioned Papa George’s), hosts free parties welcoming some of the finest names in DJ culture. Luminaries such as Frankie Knuckles have graced the premises, but those worried about the loudmouthed debauchery many associate with ‘party resorts’ will find none of that here. Run by a family unit, this is about community as much as good music. Hence kids playing next to the dancefloor.
In many ways, then, Schinos is the epitome of a Grecian ideal. A secluded spot where the good times roll as regularly as fish hit the grill; where history is omnipresent; and the surrounding foothills offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, not to mention a plethora of lookout points from which you can truly take in the near-untouched, and definitely un-spoilt, nature of your location. Not a bad way to get lost for a week, the only worry is remembering what day it is to avoid missing your flight home.