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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 September 2016
16 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A seasoned traveller’s guide to Milos the best Greek islands Having travelled to 65 Greek islands (and counting), Billy Cotsis reveals his top 10 favourites, based on personal experiences, beauty, aura and history Mykonos Corfu BILLY COTSIS I can truly vouch for this, as I've been lucky enough to have spent almost two years of my life travelling these islands and collecting their stories. As Greece teeters on the brink of financial oblivion, it's worth evaluating one element that no crisis can undo: the spiritual and cultural wealth of the Greek islands. There's a charm to the experience that T commences with either a ferry, plane or bridge (i.e. Lefkada), and over the years I have learnt a tip or two. For example, if it's not too busy you can easily make friends with the ferry crew, which has led me to access everything from ouzo and cigarettes to funny anecdotes, football stories and tips on what to do once you reach your destination. Based on the criteria above and feedback from people I have encountered along the way, these are my favourites, though it should be noted that each island is brilliant in its own right, whether it be the tiny Gavdos facing Africa, or the rocky island Saria off mesmerising Carpathos. #10 POROS Technically two islands connected by a bridge, known as Spheria and Kalavri in classical times. hey say that Greece has 227 inhabited and 6,000 uninhabited islands, each of which has a story to tell. I first went there in 2004, and almost every second year since. A favourite is Love Bay, as the island is where I met my fiancée in 2005. Poros is perfect to capture the sunset and has an array of hidden shops in the port's back streets. Be sure to visit Monday to Thursday as it is a lot quieter, despite the island's 5,000 residents. On the weekend, Athenians tend to visit and the nightlife comes into play. However, you can give the temple of Poseidon a miss. I remember a German who made his girlfriend walk 40 minutes up the hill, and boy did he hear about it when they reached the site to find there was little to see. Also, for two euros, you can catch the caique (boat) to the Peloponnese just 200 metres away for a delicious feed and laugh with the locals. #9 CORFU My only visit to Korkyra/Corfu came in 2005 on my way to Albania to visit the Greek towns, and what I discovered was an architect's dream - especially if Venetian architecture tickles your fancy. The capital was one of the most fortified in Europe, making it difficult for French, Russian and other invaders to capture. Despite food being expensive and portions smaller compared to other islands, each beach is the epitome of paradise. Swim all day and enjoy the abundance of beach barakia. #8 KALYMNOS If it's old Greece you are looking for, then Kalymnos is the place to be. Nestled in the heart of the Dodecanese, I visited in 2007 and enjoyed every minute, including the taxi driver who refused to let us miss the sunset at pretty Vathi and drove 100km an hour along a narrow cliff. Kalymnos has a winter population of about 17,000, many of whom are expert divers who have found their way across the Mediterranean all the way to Darwin. My tip is to stay on the north side, where the beaches are spectacular, yet quieter. Stay a night on Telendos Island, but do stay away from the nudist beach - it was full of elderly Germans. #7 MILOS While this is truly an island for love birds, I found myself visiting three times on boys-only expeditions. The 42nd island I have been to, on Milos you will find beach after beach, which is surprising given the island's small size. Take a boat tour and you will be captivated by the caves, rock shelters and aqua blue waters, though try to avoid the boat with Pedro the teenage skipper (thank me later). Created from lava and various rock formations, Milos has an ‘outer space' feel to it. For example the beach of Sarakinko has a narrow inlet with a small beach surrounded by moon-like craters. Be sure to visit Tsigrado and climb the rope down to one heck of a secluded beach, then climb back up, walk across the road and follow the rocks around for 200 metres and you will find a beach bar and surprise, surprise, a hidden beach. Also make sure you visit the capital of Plaka with its white-washed buildings. For those into clubbing, there are very few in operation. Cruise boats tend to pull up at Adamas around midnight and depart a few hours later, which sees the clubs rammed for a short period. #6 MYKONOS Unlike Milos, this is the place to be for incredible all-hours partying, and believe it or not, archaeology. Make sure you visit nearby Delos, the former capital of the Delian League and treasury. My 19th island, and six visits later, means I am all partied out. Though a friend, Tekno Manos, one of the famous summer dancers, has been there 24 years straight, so enough said. #5 KEFALONIA You can visit this island by ship from almost anywhere in the Ionian Sea and from the Peloponnese, which will take you to Argostoli or the second port of Sami, where the movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed.
10 September 2016
24 September 2016