Cart is empty
In paid partnership with Five Star Greece.
This article appears in Volume 30: The Health Issue
A wellbeing-inspired mini-guide to the less-trodden Greek Islands
Hippocrates, Asclepius, Aristotle: some of the earliest healers hailed from the Greek islands, where infinite azure horizons, crisp salt air and slanting sunlight still have the power to mend stressed-out city dwellers to this day.
While tourists may flock to the overcrowded enclaves of Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu at the height of summer to frolic and fry on their beaches, those in search of the slow and simple Mediterranean life would do well to head to one of the less frequented isles. Regardless of the season, here you can reclaim balance in the colourful, crumbling villages of Milos, the quiet grandeur of Syros or savouring the artisanal produce of Sifnos.
We’ve teamed up with luxury Greek villa company Five Star Greece to share their insider knowledge of the best islands for a spring reboot, combining each destination’s natural bounty with Five Star Greece’s boutique boltholes, bespoke treatments, private yoga teachers, gyms (if you must) and boats moored nearby, culminating in a healing experience fit for the gods.
Although it may rival Santorini with its geological riches – lunar landscapes of blinding white rocks, fjords, hot springs, and striations of obsidian, manganese and sulphur that evoke Petra rather than the Peloponnese – Milos is a far more spiritual and secluded affair. In the colourful waterfront villages of Klima, Mandrakia and Fyropotamus the residents have carved boatsheds into the rocky shoreline, while the moonscape of Sarakiniko Beach dazzles with its twisted pinnacles.
Utopia Café, up in the unspoilt village of Plaka, offers soul-cleansing sunset views, while chic Pollonia is a hub of restaurants run by young, local chefs – try Gialos for inventive cooking and Armenaki for more traditional food. Make your base the villa Milos AT, where Cycladic architecture meets modern design and floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlook the aquamarine haze of the southern Aegean Sea.
This Cycladic beauty nourishes both body and soul, combining wilderness walks and authentic Greek island cuisine with a chapel for every day of the year. More than 200km of footpaths wind along blissful beaches and past flocks of sheep and donkeys, usually culminating at a small, blue-domed church with panoramas across the sparkling sea. Sifnos’s bohemian residents are thoroughly in tune with the land – reiki and shiatsu practitioners surprisingly easy to find.
Sifniots take great pride in their food and Platis Gialos, a fishing village in the south, hosts a plethora of tavernas along the shore such as Misso Misso, which specialises in meze of locally harvested capers with caramelised onion piled on crusty bread. Once you’ve had your fill, follow in the footsteps of Hollywood A-listers and make for the secluded villa Sifnos 1G, which has views stretching to the infinite horizon.
Nicknamed “the Switzerland of the Eastern Mediterranean”, Syros is a laid-back collection of grand summer homes, modernist masterpieces and 19th-century waterfront mansions, reflecting the island’s legacy as a trading post between the Ottoman and Venetian empires. This cultural clash can be seen in the neoclassical town of Ermoupolis, the traditional medieval hilltop village of Ano Syra, and an opera house that was the prototype for the famous La Scala in Milan.
The island’s culinary offering is equally eclectic – head to Costas Bouyiouris’ restaurant, Iliovasilema, for pearl-grey taramasalata with flying-fish roe, Delfini cantina for a hippy vibe and Vaporia district for cocktails, ending the evening in one of Syros’ late-night “rebetiko” bars. Sated on Greek glamour, retreat to Syros AK, a converted coastal villa with its own wellness and spa suite that feels much like your own boutique hotel.
You May Also Like
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
Embrace the adventurous appetite of the next generation with an annual subscription. SUITCASE Magazine challenges travel perceptions with thought-provoking photo journals, city guides and articles by award-winning international writers.
We'll tell you where you can find the perfect boutique hotel in Paris for under £150, if you tell us about the best dive bar in your city. Deal? Share your stories and photos with #SUITCASEtravels.