Glorious Greece: the Ultimate Cyclades Island-Hopping Itinerary | SUITCASE Magazine

2022-06-10 19:57:25 By : Ms. Tracy Yao

Psst. Have you heard about nemo, aka the experiential travel experts who know how to plan a stellar adventure? Well, we’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate Greek island-hopping itinerary. Gin-clear waters, higgledy-piggledy streets, sun-drenched tavernas and quirky cocktail bars, here we come.

With its clusters of whitewashed villas, secluded coves and welcoming tavernas, Greece has a sunny allure and energy like no other. Comprising 6,000 islands, 227 of which are inhabited, it's a challenge (read borderline impossible) to limit your explorations to just one Hellenic destination. With this in mind, we've teamed up with our friends at nemo, the experiential travel company, to deliver the ultimate Greek island-hopping itinerary. Truth be told, there are not many people we'd trust with planning our getaway, but they're experts at designing bespoke adventures.

So, pack your bags, apply the factor 50 and prepare to skip through Athens' ancient ruins, dance in the colourful squares of Sifnos, prowl between boho beach shacks on Folegandros and recharge at the design-driven boltholes of Milos.

Kick off your trip with a couple of days in the capital, where rooftop plunge pools and artisan boutiques pull in a creative and buzzy crowd. A city best explored on foot, Athens has plenty of hip hangouts and trendy tavernas to slip into, but first swing by the Acropolis and the mythical Temple of Poseidon for an unmissable slice of ancient Greek culture.

Come sunset, head to the breathtaking GB Roof Garden, where spectacular views and a traditional Mediterranean menu await - think grilled fish platters and tomato-packed pasta dishes. Once you've finished taste-testing every dish, make a beeline for The Clumsies, which is acclaimed internationally for its superlative cocktail list - a quirky selection split into three emotions: tenderness, happiness and excitement. If you're just as indecisive as us when it comes to ordering, plump for the award-winning Aegean negroni - a fresh blend laced with dittany flower and bitter orange.

Look to rest your head at the 38-key boutique hotel, Ergon House. Upstairs, bedrooms are somewhat reminiscent of upmarket spa treatment rooms: all exposed concrete ceilings, terrazzo tiles and frosted glass. Downstairs, meanwhile, guests can flit between an on-site deli, roastery and bakery, or go all-in with a five-course meal in the state-of-the-art dining area.

Take a direct flight from Athens to Milos. If you'd prefer to soak up sweeping views of the sparkling Aegean, hop on a three-hour catamaran ride from the port of Piraeus to savour the scenic route. An island that's well known for its 70-plus beaches, the locals are justifiably proud of their ancient castles, catacombs and amphitheatre ruins. Carve out a day to visit the no-frills capital of Plaka, where you'll brush shoulders with crowds of well-heeled holidaying Athenians.

Craving a slower set-up? Make the northeastern town of Pollonia your base. We're checking into the sea-facing Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel. Perched on a hillside overlooking the picture-perfect Pollonia Bay, 23 bright and airy rooms enjoy a contemporary design, embellished with bamboo headboards and sailor-blue linens. Start your day with a stroll through the private, herb-scented gardens, before diving into the enormous saltwater infinity pool.

Sundowners are best spent at the standout Akri, followed by a home-style feast at O! Hamos! taverna. We suggest bagging a table beneath the flower-clad pergola and starting with a basket of warm bread - made even more delicious with a side of freshly made tzatziki - before indulging in a traditional Greek feast.

The dinky island of Folegandros is a two-hour ferry ride from the bustling streets of Milos. What this place lacks in size, it more than makes up for in community spirit. With family-run eateries spilling onto a coastline fringed by emerald-green waters, and 85 charming chapels tucked between cobblestone passageways, we're pegging it as the ultimate Grecian love letter to the world. Become buddies with friendly fisherman returning with their daily catch on the sultry sands of Agkali Beach, explore the quintessential island town of Chora, or head out to sea on a trivia-packed tour revealing the island's hidden secrets. Whatever you choose, the glitzy and glamorous Anemi Hotel should be your home-from-home, while Papalagi restaurant delivers the goods when it comes to all things seafood.

From the tranquil corners of Folegandros, make your way to the culinary hub of the Cyclades - Sifnos. The island's three main villages - Apollonia, Artemonas and Kastro - are wrapped by rugged valleys, terraced olive groves and knotted almond trees. We suggest staying just outside of Apollonia at the Verina Astra hotel, whose 16 rooms sport brushed concrete, rattan pendant lights and bamboo ceilings. Water babies will delight in having their own terrace and private poolside daybeds, while farm-to-fork lovers will relish tucking into dishes crafted from freshly picked produce at the in-house Bostani restaurant.

This article contains affiliate links, which means SUITCASE may earn a small commission if you click through and book.

We've teamed up with nemo - the luxury travel company that brings together insider advice with innovative technology to help make experiences bookable. Catering to the modern traveller, nemo's unique itinerary builder gives you the power to design a bespoke trip. We're thrilled to be partnering with the experts to bring you the best in experiential travel at the click of a button.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get your weekly dose of armchair travelling, straight to your inbox