“For every Mykonos, Ibiza or Santorini, there’s someplace lesser known and equally lovely to escape to where you can ditch the crowds and get closer to nature,” writes a recent article on CNN Travel. And while the sun-drenched Greek isles are a popular choice for travelers seeking that much-needed summer holiday to relax and recharge the batteries, the issue of over tourism has become a major factor when choosing a destination.
Among the best European islands for those who want to beat the crowds and get away from almost everyone, the US website lists the Greek island of Skyros, the southernmost island in the largely uninhabited Northern Sporades chain in the northwest Aegean Sea.
“Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos in the Cyclades can get so sardined with tourists during the summer months that you might be left wondering what all the hype is about. For a more isolated experience in the Greek islands, set your sights instead north in the Aegean Sea to the island of Skyros,” CNN Travel urges its readers.
Overshadowed by its more popular neighbors, Skiathos and Skopelos, both famous for being the filming locations of the hit 2008 musical film “Mama Mia!”, Skyros still feels relatively remote. The island is accessible by ferry from mainland (5 hours from Piraeus) or nearby Evia, or by direct flight from Athens and Thessaloniki.
“Once there, there are secluded beaches to explore, a Byzantine castle towering over the main town and sea and even an ancient breed of miniature horse, the Skyrian horse, that lives in the wild only on this island,” the article adds.
Covered by thick forest in the north, and rocky, mountainous terrain in the south, some of Skyros’ more secluded beaches are accessible only by boat. The island is also good for trekking and cycling, with various local groups organizing guided tours. For more information, click here.
“With the exception of the lead up to Lent – when Skyros’ famous carnival puts the island into nonstop party mode with parades and costumed revelry and an inundation of Athenians – it’s a supremely peaceful place,” concludes CNN.
Of the ten islands on CNN’s list, only two are in the Mediterranean, the other being Alicudi, the westernmost and most remote of Sicily’s volcanic Aeolian Islands. The rest are scattered around the more remote coastlines of the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the far north of the Baltic.
The full list:
Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands
Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Flores in the Azores, Portugal
Naustholmen in Norway
Isle of Tiree, Scotland
Berlengas archipelago in Portugal
Alicudi in Sicily, Italy
Rathlin in Northern Ireland
Fasta Åland in Finland
With information in Greek from moneyreview.gr.