Peace and Quiet on Kimolos

Kimolos isn't just another island, it's a genuine retreat offering escape and relaxation.

The three days I had originally planned to stay here became a dozen.

Kimolos isn’t just another island, it’s a genuine retreat, offering escape and relaxation.

It had been awhile since I’d last been separated from my cell phone for so long, but the moment you step ashore in the port of Psathi, you feel the overwhelming appeal of the tranquility surrounding you.

A typical day starts at one of the traditional bakeries in Horio (the island’s main settlement and only town), waiting for the hot baked goods to come out of the oven.

These are either ladenia (a local treat made with tomatoes and onions) or tyrenia (a tart-like cheese pie).

The usual way to enjoy them is to munch away as you wander the cobbled streets – preferably barefoot – exploring the covered walkways and the ruins of the medieval castle, stopping at the open-air lending libraries set up every summer for locals and visitors alike, and peeking into small courtyards filled with flowering bougainvillea.

The quiet that prevails is almost unearthly; the few tourists that come to this island quickly adapt to the relaxed pace, so the loudest sound that reaches your ears is likely to be the song of a canary or the bell of the imposing Church of Panagia Odigitria as it sounds the hour.

If you head out to the beach at Ellinika, make sure to take a mask and snorkel so you can admire the ruins of the island’s ancient town, submerged in the shallows.

My favorite beach, however, is nearby Mavrospilia, where the sunset is simply unmatched.

I also like Prassa for its clean turquoise waters and coarse white sand.

On the way there, you’ll pass the beaches of Rema and Karas, set in an unreal landscape with sparkling white rocks and sea caves.

As you return to Horio in the later afternoon, a stop at Kambos – the island’s main crossroads – is nearly mandatory.

The thing to do here is to sit at Frangouli’s café for a glass of homemade liqueur of prickly pear or pomegranates picked from the courtyard and then go for a scoop of pistachio or goat’s milk ice cream at Stavento.

As night falls, head down to Psathi, where you’ll find To Kyma tis Psathis, the best restaurant on Kimolos, with tables right by the sea; young local chef Manolis Ventouris does marvelous things as he takes traditional recipes to new heights.

There are two spectacular day trips that should not be missed.

The first is a climb up to Skiadi, a rock feature shaped like an enormous mushroom.

It stands near the island’s highest point, and the views from here are wonderful.

If, however, you really want to feel the majesty of nature, take a boat to Polyaigos, officially listed as the largest uninhabited island in the Aegean Sea.

In addition to being a great spot for swimming, the island sometimes plays host to outdoor nighttime film screenings under a canopy of stars.

All over Kimolos, you’ll see makeshift signs with the words: “My Kimolos, my paradise.”

Nothing could be more apt to describe the happy solitude and forgotten calm you find on this island.

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