Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Idyllic Islands Fulfil Dreams; It's All White Houses, Blue Seas and Great Greek Food

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Idyllic Islands Fulfil Dreams; It's All White Houses, Blue Seas and Great Greek Food

Article excerpt

Byline: ANN RICKARD

IS THERE a traveller who has not dreamt of spending time in the Greek Islands?

Weathered old blokes sipping retsina in rustic tavernas, endless beaches, clear seas, fishermen mending nets - it's all there.

The most popular of the islands, of course, are the most expensive, but worth a brief visit if you have saved and budgeted. In Santorini (the biggie of them all) we managed a budget stay. The famous Santorini windmill featured on thousands of postcards and calendars had been converted to a few villas, ours was on the ground floor.

It was a fantasy come true to wake up each morning and look out over the Caldera, and it was the best spot on the islands to watch the lingering sunsets. Unfortunately, every tourist on the island thought so too and came to sit on our villa wall each night. At the time annoying, on reflection, a small downside.

Mykonos is eye-wateringly expensive but we found a small family-run place on a beach in a little bay that was so affordable we went back every summer for 15 years.

Naxos, Paxos, Samos, Paros - all just as delightful with the same rugged interiors and spectacular coastlines as the more expensive islands.

Our favourite budget islands are Lesbos, Sifnos and Karpathos, none of them known for their party vibe or attracting A-listers.

Unfortunately, Lesbos has become more known for its flood of refugees and all the heartbreak that comes with them. But checks now show the crisis has abated and visitors are slowly returning.

We spent a month on Lesbos, mostly in the port of Molyvos, a pretty harbour so quintessentially Greek it should be a postcard.

Every night we sat on our balcony watching the fishing boats come in, and one fisherman in particular who spent hours picking out flotsam from his nets, a cigarette dangling from his lips.

The tavernas all sat on the water's edge with their octopus catch of the day drying on string in the sun. …

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