Staying at an Old Captain’s House on Serifos

Spending a few days on a Greek island, staying at an original 19th Century stone house that once belonged to a great Captain, is definitely a unique experience.

Last September I was lucky enough to visit Serifos again after two years. Only this time I would spend my days and nights in an old Captain’s Mansion, ‘Captain’s House Serifos’, that was lovingly restored by Manos and Emmy, to return to its original form, retaining all those elements that take you to the past, when the Lord of the house was sailing the seas. Manos and Emmy decided to leave their hectic lives in the Greek capital and have a more relaxed and balanced life on the island of Serifos. They made over the house with their own hands, little by little, bringing it back to its original state. 


We had to climb a few steps of Kato Serifos to face the old mansion, -next to the Primary School and the Folklore Museum- with the red vintage door and the red wooden shutters, as tradition dictated. In the Captain’s houses and generally in the houses of affluent people, the frames were usually painted red, in contrast to the blue uniformity of the Cyclades. The house belonged to Captain George Peloponnese (1868-1945), the grandfather of Manos, who built it in the late 19th century. Through this house, Manos and Emmy narrate their family history to people from all over the world, offering a real time travel, and their hospitality is truly special.

After enjoying a glass of iced tea with rosemary on the terrace of the Captain’s House overlooking Livadi, the port of the island, we opened the imposing red door next to the bell. An impressive corridor with vintage concrete tiles stretched out in front of us and our journey back in time began. The house is decorated with antiques and vintage furniture that belonged to Captain George. The hall is dominated by the photo of the Captain who looks at us sternly while his rosaries are spread out on the ornately carved buffet, which he definitely must have brought from a trip to Asia. It is like he is absent on a trip and will soon make his way back home. 


The two bedrooms in the background with iron beds and vintage wooden wardrobes that are real ornaments welcomed us warmly with the sunbeams piercing through the shutters and spreading a golden light on the white sheets. There is another room, the dining room, before entering the kitchen, with embroidery, an impressive caravan, the chandelier dating from 1907 and a chest that challenges you to search, as if you will find a hidden treasure with secrets of the past.


Captain’s House has an equipped kitchen and a lovely bathroom, that are modern but retain elements of the past. In the kitchen, with its impressive black and white floor, for example, features a tiny marble sink that has been preserved, as well as an old wooden oven , which resembles a fireplace. Manos and Emmy would leave fresh eggs from their hens in our fridge, while various herbs and teas from Serifos were waiting in the cupboard to get into the vintage cups.

We loved this house because it made us feel like we were the protagonists of a historical film. 

*Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright) 

Escape to a Secret Greek Island Retreat

A time to reset, eat beautifully, sharpen your senses, and connect to the wild during a retreat at an authentic and under the radar Greek island. This seven day experience at the sea in Koufonisia is dedicated to giving back to your body, mind and soul.

Insights Greece - Escape to a Secret Greek Island Retreat

Having spent three rejuvenating months on Naxos island, where she immersed herself in the soul of the land and the people she encountered, Patricia Garcia Gomez decided it’s the perfect time to lead a retreat in Greece, that’s “about re-setting, connecting to nature and self, making space to be filled up with goodness. No other place is as life-affirming as Greece. I would like to go deeper and farther into Greece, and see the places less visited,” says Patricia.  

With close friends who call Naxos home, Patricia has carefully curated an upcoming experience which will allow those who go along to enjoy plenty of ocean time, daily movement, farm (and sea) to table meals, rest and adventuring. “This is a soul sabbatical, which means you let your lovely soul take the lead. You will be supported with delicious and fortifying elixirs made from local island herbs and flowers, restorative movement and sound, cicada songs, and lots of shared joy.” 

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Patricia about what people can expect from this experience. 

What can people expect from the Rewild & Restore (aka Your best Greek life) experience? 

“Your best Greek life” is an invitation into the senses and ancient dreams. A rewilding of the soul, with lots of glorious space for doing what inspires you. One can expect to eat beautifully, be in good company, be supported with daily movement and inspiration, some secret sensory adventures, and plenty of time for as much soul-nourishing rest as you like. 

How did it all come about and how did you decide on Koufonisia as the place to visit?

Insights Greece - Escape to a Secret Greek Island Retreat

It came about while I was living on the island of Naxos, creating my sensory immersion installation and swimming. Swimming in the Aegean shifted everything for me. I met Anita here and we developed a fabulous friendship. We love many of the same things, beauty, nature, thoughtful experiences, hand-made items, and a good laugh under the stars. When Anita invited me to Eros Keros (which was not yet open), I was smitten. It’s a magical place, that feels ancient, wild, and serene. She has channeled a lifetime of creativity into every detail. From each room, you gaze directly on to the sacred island of Keros. The R&R Best Greek Life experience is our way of sharing the things we love with others and also creating something new together.

What can you reveal about the 7 days by the sea in Koufonisia?

Time feels different in Koufonisi. It moves slower, sensually and not in a straight line but through the senses. The locals say that with each day here, you will do less. This is true in my experience. And there is magic in this. We have six days here, surrounded by the blue of the Aegean, so nothing is rushed. The sea is medicine. And we have some really fun adventures in-store. 

Will the retreat be led by yourself and locals?

Absolutely. The only imported ‘leader’ will be me. All of the other experiences will be hosted by friends, and friends of friends who live and work on the islands. As an example, Anita has known our sea captain for over twenty years, since she first fell in love with Koufonisi.

What kinds of activities do you have planned?

Insights Greece - Escape to a Secret Greek Island Retreat

Rather than the word activities, I would like to use the word experiences. We will experience…

Swims in the Aegean, including private adventures to secret swim spots.

Beautiful shared meals, sourced locally and made with love.

Daily movement and meditation.

An adventure off the island (a surprise).

Foraging and frolicking (another surprise).

Privacy, serenity, and lot of rest and free time

Rewilding is about filling up, not about exhausting. It is a time to be free in the beauty of life and the moment.

Tell us more about the gastronomical experiences people can expect? 

Insights Greece - Escape to a Secret Greek Island Retreat

All meals will be farm and sea to table, and locally sourced as much as possible. We have a local chef who will be preparing all meals, with the brief of making each meal delicious, fresh, simple and full of vibrancy.

How many people are you expecting on the retreat? 

We are keeping it small. The retreat will be limited to 10 people. Just enough for good company, and not too many so you can enjoy your own time.

Where will the group meet? 

We will all meet on the magical island of Koufonisi. I remember the first time I stepped off the ferry there. It has been calling me back ever since.

The Intel

Dates: September 2021

Location: Eros Keros, Koufonisi. Secret location.

More details: Rewild and Restore 2021

More about Patricia Garcia-Gomez and how swimming in the Aegean changed her life.

The next R&R experiences: May and June 2022

Main Image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Cozy Apartment in the Heart of Andros 

In the historic part of Hora, you will find a ground-floor apartment, which is filled with pastel tones and earthy textures; this is one of the most quaint and cozy places to stay on Andros island. 

Insights Greece - Cozy Apartment in the Heart of Andros 

The property occupies the entire floor of an old house and features tiled floors, open shelves, stone walls, simple fittings, and splashes of pretty colours. This rustic and traditional island property is ideal for those seeking easy access and plenty of storage space. 

The kitchen entrance opens up to a large patio with benches and leads to a private enclosed patio where you can sit and have your coffee or late lunch. 

It’s ideal for families with young children, as they are free to run around in the garden and play outdoors. The cozy apartment has a back entrance from the living room too, opening to a pedestrian street with a Byzantine church.

The house is spacious and airy with one large living area that has one bed and two sofas suitable for children, plus a separate bedroom. There are also two baths with showers in each.

In the living room, you will find a well-stocked bookcase with novels relating to Greece and also a variety of books in English, French, and Italian. 
Insights Greece - Cozy Apartment in the Heart of Andros 
The apartment is furnished with dainty handmade cushions, bed covers, and bed quilts; created by owner and host Efi Raptaki, a local quilt-maker, who is always there to greet her guests; Efi makes sure their stay in this citrus grove area is extra special.
Located close to coffee shops and two beaches within walking distance, it really is a great option for those planning on staying on the island for a while and are in search of a well-priced, character-filled apartment that gives you a real sense of island living. 

Top 10 Non Touristy Things to do in Santorini

Let’s admit it. Santorini is a dream destination that you should experience at least once in a lifetime.

The caldera views, the picture-perfect alleyways, the white and blue domes, the cave hotels, the gorgeous sunsets, all form an insanely unique setting that blows your mind away. But if you want to really enjoy the island, avoid visiting during high season; in order to escape the crowds that spoil the romantic (and not only) ambiance. Beaches are not the highlight of the island, so you can easily visit in April, May, or October. 

Once you step foot on this amazing volcanic isle, here is what you should not miss:

1. Stay in a cave hotel 

An unforgettable experience- quite pricey but totally worth it while visiting Santorini. What cave hotels can offer you is magical, a feeling that you are part of the Cyclades, that you are in the heart of the Greek islands. I don’t know if words are capable of describing this greatness, the feeling I had staying in a cave house, where I imagined that time stopped, just enough to enjoy these moments and to embrace my surroundings. Especially in the bedroom, the sensation was completely serene, so I could hang together with Morpheus for hours without a care in the world.

2. Spend a few days in Pyrgos, the most picturesque village of Santorini 

If you are seeking peace and stunning views, then Pyrgos it is. A hilltop village built around a Venetian castle, it features tiny whitewashed alleyways and an off-the-beaten-path charm. Moreover, Selene, one of the most highly-rated restaurants in Greece is located here (enjoy the dining balcony during summer).

3. Go hiking from Fira to Oia

This was also one of the most picturesque parts of my trip and the best way to experience Santorini’s natural beauty. This hike is 6 miles one-way and passes through Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. Along the way, you will find spectacular ocean views. The best time to start this trek is in the morning, or in the afternoon, so as to reach Oia at the moment of the sunset. You can start the trail from central Fira or Oia.

4. Find Skaros Rock 

Well, it’s not difficult to find it since it’s a wonderful destination for hiking and certainly one of the best spots for photography in Imerovigli. It’s a rock formation and collection of ruins, next to a monastery, known as the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti; it remains in use on the cliffs below the rock feature.

5. Wine tasting at Santo Wines 

Did you know that even the flavour of wine in Santorini is influenced by the island’s volcanic ground? It creates a unique flavour difficult to find elsewhere. Additionally, vine trees are often formed into circles and grown on the ground to protect the crop from strong ocean winds. Santo Wines in Pyrgos is the largest winery on the island and considered one of the leading vineyards in Santorini. 

6. Jump off a boat into hot springs

Every day traditional boats leave from old Fira port for a boat tour to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni surrounded by warm dark waters, the volcanic hot springs are known for their therapeutic benefits. Don’t wear your favorite swimsuit in order to enjoy the hot springs, after a hike around the rim of an active volcano.


7. Visit a Monastery that resembles a fortress 

The Prophet Elias Monastery is known for being the highest point from where you can admire an exclusive view of Santorini. The monastery is surrounded by four small chapels, resembling a fortress from the outside. It’s one of the best places to reveal your Insta-famous side.

8. See a movie at an open-air cinema

Open Air Cinema Kamari (or Cinekamari), established in 1987, is actually considered by The Guardian as one of the 10 best open-air cinemas in the world. Surrounded by trees, in a fairytale-like garden with a beautiful bar, you can watch a movie under the stars. Dreamy, right?  

9. Visit a unique bookstore

Inside a quirky architectural wonderland that seems like a hobbit home, you can find a paradise for book lovers. Atlantis is not the average bookstore that you have in mind. Having been included in several lists of the most picturesque bookshops in the world, it has book treasures mostly in English, but also in Greek, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese.

10. Visit Emporio village

Located just 12km from Fira, the largest village of Santorini, overlooking the beaches of Perissa and Perivolos, is a charming traditional settlement with old windmills, blue-domed churches, picturesque little streets, and a 15-century fortress- definitely worth seeing! 

Timeless Villas in the Heart of Tinos

Right in the heart of the traditional mountain village of Triantaros, on the beautiful island of Tinos, you will find a luxury housing complex that overlooks the Aegean Sea.

Consisting of seven timeless villas designed by well-known Greek architectural firm Kordas Architects, Triantaros Villas feature a contemporary twist to the long-lasting traditional Cycladic architecture, with direct reference to the loci of Tinos, both in architecture and interior design.

Insights Greece - Timeless Villas in the Heart of Tinos

The “easy living” spaces of the interiors are simple, timeless, and elegant and consist of living spaces from 125 sqm to 180 sqm; they also include terraces and balconies that feature rustic-chic wooden pergolas and gardens. There is also the option of a pool, available with Villa Estia.

Each villa has been built with high-quality standards using high-end materials- including the latest thermal insulation, premium Italian floor tiles- and they offer exclusive features such as underfloor heating for the cooler months. 

The prime location is home to the south-facing complex that basks in the steep topography on the west entrance of Triantaros, beneath the village road, the church, and the traditional Village Taverna.

Designed and built with the spirit of traditional Cycladic village architecture, each villa has spectacular, unobstructed views of the Aegean Sea and some of the other Cycladic Islands nearby, as well as of the neighbouring village Berdemiaros.

Natural stone walkways enclosed by natural stone walls give access to all villas, terraces, and gardens, where you can sit back and capture the spectacular sunrise and sunset each day.  

A spacious parking and garden area (approximately 850 sqm) is placed directly on the west side  of the villas (accessible via a small bridge). Up to two parking spaces per Villa are available.

The villas also feature luxury fitted modern kitchens, generous living and dining areas, an open fireplace, brick-built sofas, and plenty of storage space. The living areas are entirely laid out with high-quality tiles and with three already sold, there are four currently on the market. 


Tinos is the third largest island in the Cyclades, easily accessible by ferry from the port of Rafina in Athens; it’s also a short boat ride from Mykonos island. With its 40 architecturally traditional villages and countless wonderful beaches, Tinos is an authentic island and known as one of the most spiritual islands in all of Greece. The stunning island is also filled with plenty of traditional taverns and shops that serve local delicacies and dishes. 

First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Antiparos

The stunning island of Antiparos is set to welcome its first luxury hotel. Conceived as a wellness and lifestyle resort, The Rooster is designed with simple aesthetic luxury in mind; also providing a holistic experience for a rejuvenating escape. 


Nestled between the sandy, unspoiled beaches of the Aegean coastline and the dramatic landscape of the Cyclades, The Rooster celebrates privacy in complete harmony with nature. It’s an ideal location for detoxing and being away from crowds; as it’s set on one of the most secluded and exclusive islands in Greece. Endowed with sheer natural beauty, golden sandy beaches, and a verdurous landscape full of cedar trees, this island remains unspoiled.

Insights Greece - First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Antiparos

Style & Character

Boasting an unrivalled combination of splendour with respect to the environment and authenticity of Greek island life, this new hotel is inspired by the raw natural charm and the rustic environment- creating a tranquil atmosphere. Conceived by founder and owner Athanasia Comninos as a wellness resort- with an eye toward sustainability and harmony with the local community- the understated luxury combined with simplicity and comfort are leading values of the design philosophy. The interiors feature spacious and elegant indoor areas, reflecting a casual (yet chic) style with an eclectic feel. Wood, marble, and cotton, all in a variety of a naturally soothing palette prevail, while an inventive combination of textures and patterns create a feeling of spiritual calmness.

Insights Greece - First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Antiparos


The Rooster boasts 17 independent houses, that are warm and inviting. Each one has its own character and they come in four different layouts; all include ample space, private gardens, outdoor showers, and a breathtaking view of the sea and the surrounding landscape. A freestanding farmhouse, located at The Rooster’s organic farm (only a few minutes away from the main property) offers guests three bedrooms and a spacious living area. Here you can dine outdoors on the spacious patio or simply savour the view of the farm while lazing around on the chic outdoor furnishings.

Food & Drink

The Rooster offers guests a variety of bespoke dining options and experiences; including a private chef, a personalised daily fresh breakfast, and a private dinner at the farm’s exclusive restaurant. You can choose from the main eatery which features a variety of Greek and international dishes; freshly made using hand-picked garden produce. For a more casual meal, The Secret Gem is the perfect place to have a light lunch or early dinner. And for some drinks head to The Bar and enjoy your favourite beverage, while admiring unparalleled views of the sea and the magical sunset of the island.

Insights Greece - First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Antiparos


Enjoy the furnished terraces, sun decks, freshwater pools, and outdoor showers, all overlooking landscaped gardens or the Aegean Sea. Personal yoga sessions or wellness coaching is also available and Farmhouse guests have complimentary access to all the hotel’s facilities.

Guests from the houses can also visit the Organic farm and learn about traditional farming techniques; and pick seasonal vegetables and herbs to make their own dishes. Experience outdoor cooking in the open air by a local chef and enjoy the creations with friends and family.

Ideal for… 

With sustainability and mindfulness at the core of all its services, this hotel is ideal for anyone looking for a “slow living” experience. It’s also perfect for anyone looking to really enjoy the island, as The Rooster is ideally placed to explore the region’s rich culture, cuisine, and natural attractions. From families and couples to groups of friends and solo travellers; from here, you can easily visit the ancient sanctuary Despotiko ruins, take a tour to the caves of the island, wander around the enchanting Antiparos castle, enjoy the Sunset at Sifneiko Beach (as you dance the night away) and stay awake for the sunrise (it’s a must).

Authentic Handmade Pasta in the Heart of Mykonos

Located in the heart of ‘the chora’, and open since 1978, this three-storey traditional Italian restaurant in Mykonos serves an authentic range of handmade pasta and pizza.

Being one of the first Italian restaurants to open on this popular Cycladic island, and standing on the main alley of Barkia, the owner’s secret recipes originate from a variety of regions in Italy. During the summer months, Pasta Fresca Barkia is packed with local and international visitors who come to try the variety of pizza options and numerous pasta dishes made with fresh ingredients; some of the most sought-after dishes are the linguini with crab meat, stuffed ravioli, and tortel- lacci.

Opened by Anagiros Griparis in 1978, it was the first Italian restaurant in Mykonos to introduce live demonstrations of fresh handmade pasta and has now become one of the most popular casual spots in town, as it offers a relaxed dining experience for local and foreign guests. 

Insights Greece - Authentic Handmade Pasta in the Heart of Mykonos

Anargiros was influenced by his mother’s cooking flair and her culinary knowledge, which she passed down to him from a young age. Determined to do something with it, Anargiros left his career as an engineer on cruise ships and inspired by his countless trips to Italy, he entered the hospitality industry; bringing authentic Italian cooking techniques and flavours to Mykonos.

Since 1978, Anargiros has maintained the original aesthetics of the restaurant, which used to be a former three-story home; each level has its own unique feel, offering customers a cozy atmosphere as they enjoy a lunch or dinner with friends.

Here you have the opportunity not only to taste fresh, handmade pasta but also to watch the chefs make it from scratch, as every afternoon in front of crowds, the chefs display their insider tricks of the pizzeria on the ground floor; which has become a daily attraction of passers-by; from gnocchi, ravioli, tortellini, and lasagne sheets, to fettuccine, fideo and fusilli, there is a huge range to choose from. 

With tables inside and out, it’s a great spot to enjoy your favourite pasta dish, followed by a traditional Italian dessert. 

Pasta Fresca Barkia

Step Inside an Alluring Luxury Villa in Syros

This luxury villa in Syros gracefully blends modern living with the earthy and timeless characteristics of the Greek islands. Featuring natural handcrafted materials, serene neutral colours, and a simple design concept, the result is a luxurious sense of comfort and style.

Owners Ilektra and Giorgios have added a poolside jacuzzi, a cinema under the stars, a secluded cave, and a vegetable garden to Villa Syros.

“Our house is both a little design project and a very practical and spacious family home,” says Ilektra.  

Insights Greece - Step Inside an Alluring Luxury Villa in Syros

Situated on a secluded hill on this beautiful Cycladic island, this place is the perfect spot for a relaxing holiday with family and friends. The villa boasts five bedrooms and offers a stunning view of the Aegean Sea and the Cycladic islands, with its modern yet welcoming design and an infinity pool with sun terraces- that will tempt you to spend the entire day catching the sun.

Surrounded by olive trees and several herbs including lavender, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, here you can totally relax and take in the natural surroundings. When you step inside the house you immediately feel as though you are entering a home away from home. The modern design, the raw materials, and the stone-washed fabrics offer a sense of style and coziness. 

Insights Greece - Step Inside an Alluring Luxury Villa in Syros

The villa features several common areas including a living room with a chic open kitchen, an infinity pool with an adjacent jacuzzi, a BBQ and lounge areas as well as several sundecks.

Touches of traditional Cycladic architecture are highlighted throughout the entire home and blend perfectly into the landscape. While the airy interior design includes traditional handcraft pieces based on chosen natural materials and high-quality fabrics with minimal design. It is also equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as a central under-floor cooling/heating system in all rooms, automatically controlled humidity regulation, and a geothermal heat pump. 

Insights Greece - Step Inside an Alluring Luxury Villa in Syros

The villa was built using locally sourced natural materials with two main objectives: to provide an extraordinary experience to its guests and to give the feeling of being ecologically in tune with the natural surroundings of the Kokkina mountain.

The earthy and warm wood and stone materials give it a very comfortable and cozy feel – and each piece of furniture has been carefully hand-picked to ensure guests find plenty of spots to unwind and destress. 

It’s the perfect place for couples looking for a romantic getaway, families that wish to spend quality time together, and friends wanting to gather at the same place to celebrate a special occasion. 

Exploring Santorini’s Active Volcano

Greece’s romantic island of Santorini is on top of the list on many bucket lists; seeing the breathtaking Caldera, magical sunsets, charming blue-domed churches, and the village of Oia. But one thing that shouldn’t be missed is getting up close to Santorini’s active volcano. 

One of the greatest attractions of Santorini and of utmost importance to the island is the
 volcano, whose former intense activity gave the island its current shape and morphology. Before the several volcanic eruptions that occurred throughout the years, the size and the shape of Santorini were quite different. It was a much larger, round island, which is why its name used to be Strogili, which means circular.

History of the Volcano

The Minoan eruption that sunk most of Ancient Strogili date back to 1613-1614 BC. The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri was buried under tons of lava, every island within a 60km range was burned to the ground and a massive tsunami swept everything in its path, even reaching the coast of Crete. That is when Caldera was formed, a sea basin with a diameter of 10km. Later, over the centuries, the volcano islands of Aspronisi, Therasia, Palea, and New Palea also emerged. 

Insights Greece - Exploring Santorini's Active Volcano

Santorini’s Active Volcano 

One of the best-known volcanoes in Europe, it is a cluster of five islands in the southern Aegean Sea and lies about 100 kilometres north of Crete. The main islands of Thira and Thirasia trace out the edges of the Caldera, which formed during the major explosive eruptions. This lively volcanic past is spectacularly exposed in the multi-coloured layers of volcanic rocks that form the cliffs that mark the edge of the caldera.

The Five Islands Surrounding the Volcano

Today the result of these eruptions is the creation of five separate islands, Santorini, Therasia; an uninhabited island called Aspronisi, and the volcanic islands of Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. They compose a nice sight across the Aegean Sea, facing Santorini, and the great thing is you can visit all of them. The existence of the volcano is visible all over the island of Santorini, especially on beaches that are covered in black sand and pebbles made of solidified lava; the red volcanic rocks at Red beach are one of the most popular spots for international visitors. 

Insights Greece - Exploring Santorini's Active Volcano

The Caldera

The formation of the volcanic caldera that covers a great part of the island is what makes Santorini such an exceptionally beautiful island today, as the settlements that are built on the caldera cliffs offer a wild beauty and a stunning view. You can enjoy your time gazing at this natural beauty and the volcano that lies in the sea opposite the romantic isle. 

Exploring the Volcano 

At present, it is an underwater active volcano but you can wander on the two residual islands of black lava. There you can explore the volcano, see its crater, touch the lava rocks and feel the steaming volcano underneath your feet.

On the island of Palaia Kammeni there are hot springs known for their beneficial and therapeutic effects. The waters there contain sulfur and here you can enjoy an alternative mud bath. It is essential to swim in these waters if you wish to take your experience to a whole new level. From here you can take in the breathtaking caldera from a different point of view.

Insights Greece - Exploring Santorini's Active Volcano

Daily Boat Tours to Santorini’s Volcano 

There are daily boat tours to the volcano where visitors are able to get out and step on it, swim in the springs, and learn more facts about the volcanic activity. The boats depart either from the port of Athinios or from the old port in Fira. There is a variety of tour packages, from short excursions to more complete full-day boat trips that even transfer you to the nearby island of Therasia,  the second-largest island in the archipelago, and at the hot springs on Palea Kameni, where boats moor at Erinia and you can swim to the springs beneath the tiny church of Agios Nikolaos. Boat trips can get crowded in high season, so opt for a small-group guided tour or catamaran tour if you would prefer a more personal experience.


Wear hiking-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunscreen, and water bottles. Visiting the volcano requires about 30 minutes of uphill hiking, so may not be suitable for young children or those who are not strong walkers.

Mykonos’ Most Sought After Private Chef 

If you want to learn more about the Mykonian food culture and embark on a journey of exquisite tastes, Lifestyle Cooking created by talented chef Teo Iliopoulos is a fascinating concept that introduces guests to authentic and traditional flavours from this famous Cycladic island. 

Born in 1978, on a farm in the southern region of Greece, Teo, the son of a market gardener, was raised to respect working with the soil and its natural produce.

From a very early age, Teo developed his fine tastes and quickly learned to appreciate fresh, organic, ingredients, and was taught how to preserve and of course, cook with them. It came as no surprise that his ambition was to become a chef and credits his early childhood and major influence from his father, for his major culinary success.

Arriving in Mykonos as an ambitious 17-year-old, Teo has now become highly sought-after personal chef by celebrities, socialites and international visitors who are seeking a unique gastronomical experience that will remain with them for years to come. 

Known not only for his unique bohemian style, Teo has created innovative cooking concepts reflecting Mediterranean influences and says some of his favourite ingredients to work with are “thyme, tomatoes, figs, prickly pears, and obviously everything the sea has to offer.” 

Teo is the Head Chef and founder of his company Lifestyle Cookingleading his team of dedicated food specialists, who also enjoy catering to every aspect of their guest’s culinary journey in Mykonos. Personalized menus, seafood/oyster events, BBQ parties, private cooking lessons, or even live cooking demonstrations on a private beach; there is no gastronomic experience Teo and his staff won’t do.

One of the most popular services that Teo provides is an unforgettable, live and authentic Greek cooking experience at Rhenia, an inhabitant island next to Delos, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Insights Greece - Mykonos’ Most Sought After Private Chef 

Rhenia is famous for its crystal clear waters, ancient temple ruins and high energy levels. It is a unique natural paradise, worth seeing while you visit Mykonos. Teo and his team of professional chefs take guests by boat from Mykonos to the famous Rhenia island and allow you to explore the beach, swim, sunbathe and enjoy the delicious live-cooked recipes. You will be able to savour the fresh sea urchin, shrimps, sea bass, fresh fish on the grill, or lobster. 

It is an unforgettable and unique experience that can be enjoyed by groups of friends, or enjoyed by the entire family. Otherwise, you can also hire Teo and his team as your personal chef during your stay in  Mykonos, where they will prepare you breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner at your villa, or if you are staying at a hotel without a kitchen, they also offer delivery straight to your room. 

Insights Greece - Mykonos’ Most Sought After Private Chef 

Using ingredients picked from a private farm, Teo’s customised healthy breakfast includes fresh juices, yoghurt with homemade (strawberry, orange, blueberry, peach) jam, or honey with cinnamon and granola.

They also create homemade pasta ( tagliatelle, ravioli, macaroni) and you can watch Teo and his team prepare the pasta and cook it right in front of you. 

High on the list of guests’ favourites are the seafood recipes reflecting the Mediterranean Sea, including all fish, oysters, shrimps and lobsters, which are caught in the morning by local fishermen. And Teo also has a range of Kocher vegan, traditional Greek recipes and of course, is more than happy to create a personal menu to suit all tastes and preferences.  

7 Hottest New Hotels in Mykonos 

When you’ve finished swimming and partying at one of the lavish beach clubs, kick back at one of the island’s sensational new arrivals – as these are the seven newest and hottest hotels in Mykonos for Summer 2021!

Destino Pacha Mykonos

Destino Pacha Mykonos is a glamorous new 5-star resort set to open this summer. This Spanish-based brand is planning on bringing the Ibiza lifestyle to one of Greece’s most popular islands. Overlooking the white sands and turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the resort will open its doors on the first day of summer, June 1. Featuring 34 rooms with six spacious sea-view suites, it also has a lounge and bar, as well as an all-day Mediterranean restaurant and a wellness centre, which includes rooftop yoga.

Kalesma Mykonos 

The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming, exclusive Mykonian village, just a short walk from Ornos beach. Opened in June 2020, Kalesma’s location provides 360 vistas, providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy both sunrise and sunsets from the same spot. The 5- star boutique hotel offers 25 luxury suites and two larger villas. Inspired by Cycladic architecture and combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma offers sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials. Guests can also book in-room spa treatments, while a luxurious spa is set to open in mid- 2021.


This bohemian property offering 14 suites, is a private sanctuary designed for discerning travellers looking for a rustic yet stylish space to stay. Located just 200 metres from Kalo Livadi, one of the most beautiful beaches of Mykonos, NOMAD opened in January 2020. The luxury suites come with private pools and jacuzzis and offer an earthy yet luxurious feel with a private courtyard. Natural materials and organic cotton set the tone for the interior spaces, and the hotel’s restaurant is a celebration of fresh, seasonal flavours. You can also spend plenty of time relaxing by the pool with a handcrafted cocktail from the ‘mixology’ bar.

Once in Mykonos Luxury Resort

Located above Ornos Beach, Once in Mykonos features a blend of classic Cycladic style with chic décor. Having only opened in October 2020, the deluxe suites provide a place of endless comfort and ultimate summertime serenity. Guests can relax on the sun loungers surrounding the hotel’s private pool and don’t need to go far to enjoy delicious meals as the hotel’s restaurant serves a range of great dishes all day long. Massage and beauty treatments are also available.

Habitat Mykonos All Suites 

Located just steps away from the village of Agios Stefanos, this bohemian-chic, all-suite hotel is the perfect hideaway for immersing yourself in the laid-back rhythm of Mykonian life. Opening its doors in September 2020, Habitat is only 300 metres from Agios Stefanos beach and features a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, a private garden, and a terrace. Comprising of 17 suites, the hotel is a mix of simple, rustic details with modern amenities and contemporary comforts. All come adorned with bohemian artisan elements, understated furnishings, plush linens, and unique decor.

Epic Blue 

Nestled above the beautiful Houlakia Bay, the brand new (opened May 2020) Epic Blue overlooks the alluring waves of the Mediterranean Sea. The suites and villas range from Junior Suites through to three-bedroom villas, providing guests with a glimpse of the Aegean Sea and all come complete with contemporary furnishings. The deluxe spa is set to open for the first time in May 2021. 

Koukoumi Vegan Hotel 

The first and only vegan hotel in Greece opened its doors in March 2020. Situated in the heart of the island, in the traditional village of Ano Mera, Koukoumi is a modern and sleek boutique hotel featuring a swimming pool and fitness centre. There is also a spa for those who wish to detox and destress, plus a restaurant serving dishes using premium quality ingredients and minimal or no processing; only plant-based food is handled in the kitchen area.


Located at Kalo Livadi, close to popular Agia Anna Beach, Euphoria Suites is a brand-new 5-star property with Cycladic charm and luxurious touches. Elegance and style blend in harmoniously with the breathtaking 180 degrees sea view that inspires relaxation, romance, and adventure. Savor the flavors of Mykonos at the hotel’s restaurant and bar with tasty cuisine made from fresh local produce or lounge by the pool, swim under the sun, and recharge at the fitness centre and spa. Each of the 31 suites has been designed to include refined finishes and elegant Cycladic touches, while all feature their very own outdoor jacuzzi or private swimming pool.

Guide to Iraklia, an Unspoiled Paradise in the Cyclades

Iraklia is a tiny island with only 115 residents. But don’t let that fool you. What it lacks in size it makes up for in unspoiled beauty, rich history, scenic beaches, and authenticity; allowing visitors to discover what Greek island life is all about. 

If you are looking to escape the city over summer and searching for a destination that is especially quiet, even during the peak tourist season, Iraklia is an ideal spot that offers peace and tranquility. One of Greece’s best-kept secrets, it’s the largest island of the Small Cyclades and here you can switch off, relax and allow yourself to be captured by its  simple beauty. 

Insights Greece - Guide to Iraklia, an Unspoiled Paradise in the Cyclades


Set between two popular Greek islands, Naxos and Ios, this secluded isle keeps its traditional feel even in high season. Iraklia is a perfect base for island hopping, thanks to its proximity to the rest of the Small Cyclades including Ano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Schoinoussa, Donousa, and Keros. 

Getting there

Just 1.5 hours by local ferry, you can reach Iraklia from Naxos via Express Skopelitis (Monday – Saturday), or via Blue Star Ferries from Naxos or from Athens (3x per week). Iraklia is connected by ferry with Naxos and all the islands of the Small Cyclades group. 

What you should know before you arrive

– There are no banks and there is only one ATM.

– A couple of mini-markets and one supermarket are located in the main area.

– There is no petrol station or car hire, there are only scooters for rent. 

– No camping facilities available.

– There aren’t any buses or taxis, only a minibus that goes from Agios Georgios to the village of Panagia and to Tourkopigado beach.

– There’s no pharmacy on the island but there are two clinics and a doctor on call 24/7.

– Water and electricity are available for yachts at the port.

Things to do

Insights Greece - Guide to Iraklia, an Unspoiled Paradise in the Cyclades

Hiking: Iraklia is a mountainous destination and you can enjoy the view from different points of

the island. Iraklia has eight distinct hiking trails that are popular with nature lovers. Some of the best hikes are the trails leading to Profitis Ilias and to Merichas, where you can reach one of the most picturesque points of the island.

Snorkeling: Enjoy the fabulous underwater world as the island’s coasts are home to the Mediterranean seal Monachus monachus and the marine turtle Caretta caretta.

Diving: Blessed with a rich marine life, Iraklia offers great opportunities for diving.  Here you can spot the Mediterranean monk seals (mentioned above) and dolphins that frequent the island.

Bird watching: Bird lovers will be in paradise as this is where some rare species make their nest. Mericha Bay is the ideal spot as it’s surrounded by rocks 100m in height and between the cliffs you can see wild pigeons and vultures. Many people come to witness the rare and endangered species and birds.

Walking: This is the best way to get around and when the weather is right, strolling from one beach to the other or from the port to the main village is a wonderful thing to do, especially in the evening.

Things to see 

Insights Greece - Guide to Iraklia, an Unspoiled Paradise in the Cyclades
Panagia Iraklia Village

-The village’s landmark is the 1919 stone-built Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary). The other big attraction is Pigi, a natural spring about 1km away that supplies water to the village. This refreshing spot also offers visitors great views of the northern part of Iraklia and all nearby Cycladic islands.

-A visit to Agios Athanassios is also a must. It’s an old village featuring stone houses built

according to traditional Cycladic architectural style and it offers a breathtaking view. The chapel of Agios Athanassios is at the entry point to the village.

-Located close to Iraklia, to the west of the island, near the bay of Vourkaria is the Cave of Saint John, which consists of a series of chambers with colourful decoration of massive stalagmites and columns in magical clusters of stalactites. The area covering the chambers is 2000 sq.m. and is considered one of the most impressive caves of the Aegean.

The castle is located near Livadi beach, here you can find extensive information about the ancient settlement used as an offensive structure during the Hellenic period.

-From the top of Papas Hill, you can admire the magnificent view of all the adjacent islands including Ios, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Donousa, Ikaria, Makares, Koufonisia, Shinousa, Keros, Antikeri, Fidou, Agrilou, Amorgos, Anhydros, Anafi, Santorini, Venetiko, Avelonisia. You can also see most of the beautiful nearby beaches from here.


There are two villages on Iraklia: Agios Georgios, which also serves as the main port of the island, and Panagia, which is a mountainous village with fewer residents. Panagia is a small village with a few taverns and cafes. It stands out for its traditional architecture and the lovely churches around it. Agios Georgios is where the locals of Iraklia gather as its the largest settlement. Approaching the island from the sea, the white-washed homes with blue painted doors stand out from a distance. Here you will find a few taverns, a couple of mini-markets, and churches.

Insights Greece - Guide to Iraklia, an Unspoiled Paradise in the Cyclades


As the island is totally untouched by tourism, most beaches are unorganised and remote, meaning most also offer privacy. Some beaches can be reached on foot, while others you can only get to by private boat. Livadi beach and the port beach are the most popular places to swim on the island. You can easily walk here from the harbour and it takes about 20 minutes. Livadi features soft sand, crystal clear water that is shallow, making it ideal for families with young children. Vorini Spilia, is also worth exploring, as it’s a quiet spot, perfect for a long, relaxing day of swimming. Karvounolakos in the south of the island is a small beach between Merichas and Alimia– the colour of the sea here is breathtaking. 

Eat and drink 

There are roughly 15 taverns on the island, most are in the main square and all serve authentic local dishes. Our favourite for a range of freshly made seafood pasta are Akathi, Thalassa, Pera Panta, make sure you also head to Syrma taverna which serves traditional Mediterranean and Greek cuisine and try the homemade rakomelo (raki with honey). To Gialiri taverna is great for a variety of mezzedes (tapas-style dishes), while the ouzeri-café-bar, To Ypovrichio is perfect for an ouzeri style setting. For a coffee or after-dinner drink head to En Lefko or Perasma. For brunch and all-day drinks head to Speires where they serve a rich collection of high-quality wines by small winemakers from all over Greece and Surfin Bird, is an all-day bar-restaurant located on the beautiful Livadi seafront, serving great food using regional produce and homemade sweets. 

Local delicacies

Iraklian honey is famous for its golden coloured texture and unique taste because the bees here feed exclusively from thyme. Also try the wide variety of spoon-sweet preserves and marmalades made from various local fruits, as well as specialty liqueurs such as rakomelo and frangosyko (prickly pear). Cheese lovers will definitely enjoy the different types made from goat’s milk and produced on small scale by local farmers. As for a specific dish, Schinoussa fava (chickpea puree) variety, is a specialty of the island. 

Where to Stay 

Don’t expect 5-star luxury resorts, here it’s all about comfort, coziness, and good old-fashioned Greek hospitality. Most of the rooms are placed on the outskirts of the village towards Livadi (southeast of Agios Georgios). Some of the most popular are Maistrali, Aiolos, Villa Zografos, and for the most modern of them all check out Speires.


Agerino features a tasteful selection of handmade items such as jewellery, wood-carvings, ceramics, and Cycladic figurines.

Bratsera has a range of handmade jewellery and other small souvenirs as well as a small selection of clothes.

Thalassi stocks a unique collection of handmade jewellery selected from local manufacturers, handmade leather sandals, a variety of caftans, scarfs, hats, and various kinds of accessories. Here you can also find ceramics made by artists from Greece. 

Cover Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)