readers’ best tips on Greece off the beaten track

Hot Tip: Ideal island hideaway, Gulf of Corinth

Trizonia, in the Gulf of Corinth is a small island visited mainly by Greek families and yachties. We spent time there as we sailed around the Mediterranean, from our home on the Isle of Skye. Full of olive groves and wildflowers, Trizonia is a 10-minute ferry ride from the mainland and makes an ideal retreat or base for exploring the mainland. No cars, just donkeys. There are tavernas and bars in the pretty village and various accommodation options. Porto Trizonia Taverna is our favourite. A nearby mainland town is historic Nafpaktos with its Venetian port.
Fiona Mandeville

Spectacular train journey to the coast, Peloponnese

The Odontotos train passes the Vouraikos river.

The Odontotos train passes the Vouraikos river. Photograph: Isidoros Andronos/Alamy

Last summer, while backpacking, a local farmer gave me a lift on his tractor to the mountain village of Kalavryta in the northern Peloponnese and told me about a beautiful train ride to the coast . A spectacular journey on an old narrow cog railway, called Odontotos (the toothed one), took me across 49 bridges across the gorge and the Vouraikos River. The main route was opened by Hercules, who, according to legend, split a massive rock blocking the way to the sea and his lover. It’s a lovely area, off the beaten track, full of dense woodland and fir trees, and there are locals ready to offer fruit from the roadside stalls you cross.

Stroll and throw pots in Preveza

Parga is along the coast from Preveza.

Parga is along the coast from Preveza. Photography: Photononstop/Alamy

Base yourself in Preveza on the west coast of the mainland, south of Corfu, and you can sunbathe on the white sandy beach of Monolithi (which stretches for almost 22 kilometres). You can also explore the ruins of the ancient Roman Victorian city of Nicopolis, shop in Parga and go kayaking on the Acheron River, gateway to the mythological realm of the dead. Or you can swim early in the morning on Alonaki beach, celebrate Easter by throwing pots from the balconies and spend the evenings strolling along the seafront before choosing your favorite taverna for the evening.

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Refreshed by a walk in the forest, Rhodes

A pine forest in Rhodes.

A pine forest in Rhodes. Photograph: Shawn Williams/Alamy

Away from the hustle and bustle of Faliraki in Rhodes is Sianna, a village where you can visit the ancient church with its painted clock. Refresh and refuel before wandering past the village into the pine forest where you will be mesmerized by the sound of the tzitzikas (cicadas) and, if you’re lucky, enchanted by a glimpse of the deer roaming free. Stroll among the abandoned farmhouses, built in another era, with glimpses of an ancient castle on the way to the shore, where you can bathe in the Mediterranean.
Anastasis Kokkinos

Beautiful retreat between two valleys, Crete

The traditional mountain village eco resort of Milia.

The traditional mountain village eco resort of Milia. Photograph: Alison Thompson/Alamy

In the mountains of western Crete lies Milia, a village long abandoned by its inhabitants, though recently resurrected by two local brothers as an eco-retreat. Between the Topolia and Sirikari gorges, and overlooking a steep, verdant valley, Milia serves dishes based on locally grown organic produce in a traditional stone tavern. Blending into the rocky ground among the trees, once-deserted 17th-century houses have been transformed into sustainable rooms to rent, equipped with solar panels and wind turbines. Visitors can relax in this peaceful environment, go on scenic hikes or explore the Cretan way of life.
Sarah Strange

Independent shops and works of art in Andros

The center of Chora in Andros.

The center of Chora in Andros. Photograph: Aliaksandr Mazurkevich/Alamy

For a little-visited (by tourists) but fairly accessible island you can’t beat Andros, the northernmost of the Cyclades. Chora, the capital, is a busy town with a pedestrianized main street filled with independent shops. The city has a good, small museum, as well as an impressive art gallery. It sits on a headland with, to one side, a long, undeveloped sandy beach. On the other is a slightly more developed beach with a handful of cafes and three tavernas in the town. Walking on the island is great and Andros Routes has a stack of good information.
Alan Gray

Old town charm and epic scenery, Vikos Gorge

Go to beautiful Monodendri, about an hour from Ioannina in Northern Greece, with its cobbled streets and breathtaking views. The Vikos Hotel has affordable rooms (from €75 B&B) and the breakfast is superb. Get out early and grab a Greek pie from a bakery for lunch, then walk down the steps into the Vikos Gorge. It’s about a four hour walk to Zagori, where you can walk up the steps out of the gorge for a well deserved beer at Vikos View, or continue on to Papingo. The Voidomatis springs are perfect for a swim; the path is located immediately after the Zagori exit. Taxis can take you back to Monodendri.
Jennifer Hitchen

Quiet coves and olive groves, Pelion peninsula

Milina is a relatively non-touristic village.

Milina is a relatively non-touristic village. Photography: Alfa Kappa/Alamy

Milina, on the west coast of the Pelion peninsula, is a resort village that doesn’t appear to be overly touristy. It has a lot of character and charm and hasn’t been built up with hotels taking advantage of the long stretch of seafront. Instead, cafes, restaurants and independent shops line the front; just a street or two back, the narrow streets are home to houses where trees spill over from the gardens. Short walks in either direction take you to usually empty coves where swimming is safe and, when the sun gets hot, the olive groves to the rear offer welcome shade.
Layla Astley

Walking around the wild side of Corfu

A hiker at Erimitis near Kassiopi, Corfu.

A hiker in Erimitis near Kassiopi, Corfu. Photograph: Nikolay Tsuguliev/Alamy

Visit Erimitis, in Corfu, a beautiful and ecologically diverse area. We met a guide who took us on a hike where we saw wild turtles and grass snakes. The area is threatened by development, so visit and enjoy, then donate to protect it for others.
Alice Clapperton

History and heritage in the Aegean

The monastery of Nea Moni, Chios.

The monastery of Nea Moni, Chios. Photography: Georgios Tsichlis/Alamy

The island of Chios does not attract the same attention as its more touristy neighbors in the Aegean. It retains a Greek feel and has a wealth of history, from the beautiful Unesco-listed Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni to the mastic villages around Pyrgi, with their distinctive geometric exteriors. The island has a bloody past in the Greek War of Independence, the abandoned fortified villages of Avgonima and Anavatos testify to the resilience of the population. The coastal town of Vrontados comes alive every Greek Easter, with thousands of homemade rockets fired between two village churches.

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