Ashley Les

New York, New York Travel Agent

Hidden Gems in Greece

One of my favorite travel finds was the Greek island of Folegandros. You pass it if you’re traveling between Milos and Santorini, but most people go right past it. It almost looks like it’s a deserted island.

There’s a small white town by the beach and the biggest draw is a church on a hill with a zig-zagging white staircase. We absolutely loved it. The local dish is a delicious fresh pasta called matsata, and we found amazing restaurants with sunset views. It’s also so inexpensive. You can spend $150 a night for a wonderful place here with a hot tub on the terrace and then use the savings to splurge on a great suite in Santorini.

My new favorite Greek itinerary is to spend a few days in Athens, where in addition to the ruins, I can recommend some wonderful restaurants and tell you just what to order, and suggest my favorite handmade sandal maker. Then it’s about a two to three hour ferry ride to Milos, where it’s all about the glorious white beaches and amazing sugar-white cliffs, and cliff-jumping into the sea. You think Milos is laid-back until you take the one-hour ferry trip to Folegandros.

Our last stop was Santorini, where we kicked into action. The scenery is stunning and there’s so much to see and do there, from wineries and hiking, to its most renowned attraction, the port town of Fira, sitting atop a towering crater that is now the harbor. We discovered amazing restaurants all around the island, including one in a tiny bay known for its seafood, red and black sand beaches and an off-shore island with a Sulphur hot spring in the middle of the sea where I ruined my white bathing suit (be forewarned)! 

We wanted our trip to end in luxury, so we stayed in a four star hotel at the north part of the island and splurged on a great suite, which was about half the price we would have paid in Fira.

The best part for me of taking a trip like we did is all the special discoveries I can share with my clients. I love being able to recommend specific restaurants, shops and hotels that suit their tastes. One honeymoon couple just returned and almost recreated our itinerary, although they opted for slightly more luxurious hotels in Athens and Fira; and they loved it all. I’m now planning a similar itinerary for another couple!