After visiting Greece years ago, I've been hooked on holiday island retreats. Today I was reminded to look up this secret spot in Folegandros as I browsed the latest issue of Conde Nast Traveller.
I can't seem to get enough of island getaways lately, which reminds me, I need to get down to Idlewild, my local travel bookstore, before the end of the week to further spiral downhill into my summer holiday obsession. I want to learn more about what's out there, what's authentic, accessible and best of all, whether it be a quaint town or a special little island, a spot that delivers some true charm without hoards of tourists. There is so much to discover in travel, so much that's constantly evolving, and a lot to learn from your experiences. I'd like to believe that no matter what I do, no matter the age, I want to keep learning all the time.
I think that's why I left my last job. I felt like I stopped feeling inspired in what I do and it scared me. Have you ever felt that way? Do you know what I'm saying? Being on this side of the fence is far better than the other for me, but at least back then I could do my job with my eyes closed, get my projects done as quick as a snap, and still get a pat on the back by the end of the day from my employer. That might not necessarily seem like a bad thing, but my interest waned and I believed, down to my core, I was capable of learning more. There's no second guessing my passions anymore... Now it's about cracking the books, drinking it in, soaking it up and feeding my obsessions. So for this week, it's island holidays.
Lots of people ask me questions, but the most common is how to find darling getaway spots that work on a budget in world where it's totally acceptable to spend $495 on a hotel room. In other words, they want the $900 a night villa in Tuscany they saw in Travel + Leisure, but cannot afford it and need a budget version that still delivers the inviting charisma. Being totally immersed in travel ideas, when someone tells me an idea of what they're looking for in their travels but they have a smaller budget, I sort through all the files I have to find something similar someplace else for less. The search for the right place can take awhile. But once you find it... Oh, it's like sliding on a pair of slippers after a brutal day in sky-high heels. Pure bliss.
Let's say someone wants to stay at the Perivolas in Santorini shown in the above photos. It's one of the most famous luxe hotels in Greece, so we're talking a good lump of cash here. If you have it, do it - you'll remember the experience forever. If you don't have the money to burn, please don't think you have to go into debt and that it's unfortunate of you to pass on such a beauty.
Romantics in-the-know now look beyond the sandwiched Santorini or Mykonos holiday destination to this tiny, intimate island in the Cyclades. A neighboring island to Santorini, Folegandros couldn't be any more different. Here you won't find your trendy shops or flashy restaurants. Instead, this peaceful spot consists of little more than a handful of rustic mom + pop tavernas, secret Edenic beaches, and paved hiking pathways above a gorgeous blue-green sea.
If you came to me looking for a hotel in Folegandros, I'd point you over to the Anemomilos Apartments in Chora. These cheery studios may not be super luxurious, but the location is amazing. If you can swing it, opt for the Blue Studios for the best heart-soaring views and spacious patios. When the sun dips, mosey on down by the pool for a minty Mojito.
Take your appetite to Irini's, a taverna-cum-grocery store for their heavenly signature meatballs, or Mimi's, renowned for the island's speciality matsata, fresh pasta rabbit or chicken ragu.
(images from perivolas hotel and anemomilos apartments)