By Laura Fowler, Travel Writer for the Telegraph
Featured in the Telegraph on 08 June 2023. Copy by Laura Fowler, holiday suggestions recommended by the Sunvil team.
Any secret worth knowing does not stay secret for long. In this age of social media, a destination can go from under-the-radar gem to over-touristed hotspot in a trice, particularly when that destination is a Mediterranean island. It’s hard to believe that just over a decade ago, Santorini was still little known, before direct flights and influencers made it one of the most photographed, crowded places in Europe.
Are there any islands left in the Mediterranean which aren’t overcrowded and overtouristed and overpriced, especially in summer? You have to wonder: if an island is still a secret then surely, when Europe’s shores are so highly coveted by so many, is it really worth knowing?
And yet, and yet. Ask an Italian where they go on holiday, or where in-the-know Athenians spend summer. There are around 10,000 islands in the Mediterranean – 6,000 of which are Greek. Much as we love our favourites – Mallorca, Ibiza, Corfu, Mykonos – there is something to be said for looking beyond them, to the small and obscure and offbeat.
Perhaps they are obscure simply due to geography: there’s no airport, so you have to make the extra effort, take a ferry, decipher unfathomable timetables. Perhaps they lack sandy beaches, or a fancy hotel, or nightlife – off-putting for some. And sometimes the reason is sociological, which only adds to its curious allure – the Italian island recently vacated by military troops, for example, or the Greek island long populated by seafarers who jealously guarded their wives from the temptations of strangers while they were away at sea, by keeping outsiders firmly out.
These are the gems to dig out. Yes, getting there might require a little extra effort, but the journey is part of the adventure, and the rewards are gratifying – your own wild and beautiful shores, unspoiled fishing villages where life rambles slow and carefree, on an island that feels like your own personal discovery, disconnected from the real world.
Here are the secret islands worth knowing, and keeping to yourself.