Think you know the Med? Think again. We asked Maymie White and Victoria Hooberman, owners of luxury villa holiday Scott Williams, for their recommendations of the places to visit…and the lowdown on the places within the places…
As you might imagine, we’re always being asked by friends as well as clients for our secret tips and hidden island secrets. We work with villa owners across Europe and beyond, so we’re lucky enough to hear about the hottest places before they become overcrowded, as well as the hidden gems that only the locals know. So here are our recommendations...
Paxos - for laid-back foodies…
If a holiday for you means local delicacies and sun-kissed treats, then look no further than one of our favourite Greek islands - Paxos.
It does require a little effort to get to, although lying just 11km from Corfu’s southern tip it’s a pretty easy hop by hydrofoil), but that is why it has kept its small island magic and charm.
With a laid-back air and barefoot chic, there’s no need to use your elbows to get a table booking, but instead kick off the day with a typically Paxiot breakfast of local yoghurt, thyme honey and goji berries at local legend, Spyros Taxidi’s bar in Loggos.
If mornings are not for you, why not wander to the island’s hottest spot for lunch at Ben & Eftyxias’ Restaurant at Monodendri Beach (popularly known as Ben’s Bar), where following a relaxing morning swimming or bathing, you can indulge in Efy’s delicious grilled octopus, fresh fish of the day or egg plant salad?
For those with energy to explore as well as eat, Lefteris, a local Lakka fisherman, can take guests out on his boat to collect their catch of the day, or for those who prefer to stay on dry land, we’d recommend a foraging trip through the island’s olive groves and trails.
Wherever you turn on this gorgeous island, there’s olive oil, local honey, delicious wine, seafood a plenty and bars offering cocktails and sunsets to perfection. It’s one of our absolute favourite places on earth…
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Favignana - for something a bit different…
Ibiza? Tick! Corsica? Tick! Then try one of Europe’s lesser-known gems and impress your friends with tales of hidden lands and unknown traditions.
Favignana Island, just five miles off the coast of Sicily, is well-known to Italians, but pretty much a secret to the rest of the world. Surrounded by crystalline waters with excellent swimming and scuba diving, it’s a beautiful off-the-beaten-track destination. And, if you go in September, you can join the whole island to celebrate the brilliant tuna festival.
Otherwise, indulge in peach, fig or blood orange ice-cream in the island’s main town’s square, or queue at 11pm to enjoy fine gelato served in warm fresh-baked brioches, and you’ll instantly feel like a true local!
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Patmos – for romantics…
This island has beautiful beaches, great tavernas and boasts what is said to be the most beautiful village in the Dodecanese, especially at night, clustered around the island’s St John monastery.
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Andros – for the more intrepid
Or, for the more intrepid, Andros in the Cyclades is our best kept secret. With no airport, and a two-hour boat ride from Athens, the very few British visitors that make it here are treated to white villages, stunning turquoise seas and glimpses of Athens’s wealthiest, who have worked very hard to keep this secret to themselves!
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Menorca – our tip for 2016...
Menorca has always suffered by comparison with its more-celebrated neighbours, but did you know it actually has more beaches than Majorca and Ibiza combined?
And now that its sister islands are overflowing with tourists, the select few have skipped across the Med and this wonderful little island is fast shedding its quiet and sleepy image and emerging as the cooler, groovy younger sister.
It has always been a gastronomic paradise and full of wonderful surprises. (For instance, did you know Mayonnaise was invented for the Spanish King on the capital Mahon?).
There are bars galore, a nightclub hewn out of a cliff, groovy beach chiringitos, underwater caves and lots of boat action. It’s also a great place to learn to sail and paddle board, with the largest sheltered harbour in Europe, so there’s something for everyone.
But book fast before everyone gets to know about it…
Exclusive offer for Hush customers with Scott Williams
Scott Williams is offering hush customers a £250 saving on any new booking made before 31 August 2015 for holidays in 2015 or 2016 on any of its collection of over 200 handpicked villas and boats in France, Greece, Italy, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, mainland Spain, Morocco, Turkey and the UK.
To book, visit www.scottwilliams.co.uk and then give the team a call on 01749 812 721, mentioning ‘hush’ to claim your saving.