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Why artists are drawn to Greece

Hotspot: The island of Hydra

A Greek odyssey

Greece is the word this month when the Charmed Lives In Greece exhibition opens at the British Museum (free, until July 15, Exploring the friendship between artists Niko Ghika and John Craxton and travel writer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, it focuses on their favourites of Hydra, Kardamyli, Crete and Corfu. Follow in their footsteps to Hydra, which sits just two hours by ferry from Athens.

The island’s wilds have enticed many artists and authors (including Leonard Cohen); today, travellers have a choice of many hiking trails. Head to Flora’s Cafe in Hydra Town (no website) and try galaktoboureko, a custard slice made from goat’s milk. And for a sundowner go to Hydronetta (, a cool bar set in the cliffs.

New openings

The Abaton Island Resort and Spa (from £180,, a swish beach resort in Hersonissos on Crete’s northern coast, opens in April, while in Corfu the MarBella Nido Suite Hotel and Villas (from £124, opens on May 5 just south of Corfu Town. This adults-only resort has a beachfront location ten minutes’ drive from Achillion Palace, which featured in the Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Back on the Peloponnese peninsula and around an hour from Kardamyli is the new Euphoria Retreat (from £453 full board,, with its mega four-level spa. Moments from the ancient city of Mystras, it will open in May.

Treasured islands

Retreat: Naxos from above
Arty: A poster by Niko Ghika

Lonely Planet says this summer is all about Naxos, Páros and Antiparos. ‘Naxos is big on culture,’ says Brana Vladisavljevic, destination editor for Greece. ‘Visitors can roam around the Venetian old town but head further afield and you can seek out isolated beaches, atmospheric mountain villages and ancient sites.’

Meanwhile, Le Collectionist (, a super-luxe alternative to Airbnb, says pretty Paros will be popular in 2018.

Not-so-ancient Athens

History: Ruins on Naxos

Heading to the capital? Jennifer Barclay, author of An Octopus In My Ouzo (about life on a Greek island), suggests breakfast at Yiasemi (, a café that turns into a bar after dark.

For dinner, splash out at the Funky Gourmet (tasting menus from £129, then try Athens’ oldest bar, Brettos ( or The Clumsies (, a world-class speakeasy.

Returns from Gatwick to Athens with easyJet start at £107,

#instagram inspo

Peloponnese actor and photographer Fanis Pavlopoulos posts stylish and sleek shots like this one of urban and rural Greece. @fanellas