A special type of blue is reserved for Greek islands. The famous turquoise hues of Grecian shores, found on the domes of Greek churches in the characterful villages that cling to volcanic cliffs, and the crystal clear waters flecked with white by the famous Grecian breeze, have captivated wanderers for many years. From sunrise to sunset, the islands are adorned with varying shades of blue, dancing in the light. The winds that bless these islands are known as ‘Meltemi’. These winds have carried seeds over from the Aegean Sea for many centuries and provide visitors with a welcome cooling effect during the summer months.
Locals on the popular island of Mykonos have long since taken advantage of this natural occurrence by building over 20 windmills, where flour is produced by grinding grains, significantly boosting the economy of the island since the 1500s. There has been no shortage of visitors to these islands since then, Mykonos, Paros and Zakynthos are famed for their party credentials, attracting a high number of fun-seeking tourists each year.
Mykonos, sometimes referred to as ‘the Manhattan of the Aegean’ became popular with the jet set in the 1960s. This is when Jackie Onassis visited with her second husband, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Onassis later had a bar named after her, the bustling ‘Jackie O’ bar‘, popular with LGBTQ tourists. Famous faces such as Brigette Bardot, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren also once considered the now tourist-saturated island a well-kept secret.
Higher Demand Among Luxury Travellers
Although Mykonos is no longer an undiscovered gem, it remains the most desirable island in Greece for those who wish to see and be seen. There were reportedly more than one million visitors to the South Aegean islands in July of 2022, and by August, that number had increased to three million. That same year, contracts were signed with Middle Eastern airlines that added the island to their list of locations, opening up Mykonos to a new market of tourists from the Gulf states. The airport on the smaller island of Paros also recently finished works and is ready to welcome international travellers for the summer season.
Recently speaking at the Short Stay 2023 conference in Athens, Wolf Worster, Managing Director of the Sirreti Community spoke of Greece’s growing popularity among UHNW and VUHNW clientele, stating that: “Pre-covid luxury tourism to Greece was at an all-time high with an increase of almost 11% over 2017. EU-based VHNW & UHNW travellers accounted for approximately 62% of total visits, a rise of 14% over the previous year”.
Regarding Greece’s future as a destination for guests seeking a luxurious experience during their vacations, Worster added: “The UHNW guest continues to experience and re-experience Greece through villa stays. Greece villa owners and property managers must keep up to the demand of guest technology, service levels and ancillary services which UHNW guests are accustomed to in other destinations such as France and the US”.
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At The Forefront Of Luxury Villa Rentals
Due to the continued popularity of luxury travel in Greece, private rental companies are seeing more demand than ever before, and are continually improving their services. A portfolio of high-end and stylish villas suitable for UHNW and VUHNW clients is offered by companies such as MG Villas Mykonos, which is locally run:
“All villas & suites are carefully selected and managed, in order to meet our high-quality standards of comfort, space, style and luxury. We also remodel the villas to meet our high standards and ‘lavish’ perspective! We constantly aim to exceed our guests’ expectations with great attention to detail, professionalism and reliability.”
Among their properties is the chic and breezy ‘My Castle House’ located in Kastro, Mykonos. Seamlessly nestled into the natural beauty of its surroundings, My Castle House is suitable for up to 12 guests. It features a stunning infinity pool from which guests can enjoy a spectacular view of the setting sun over the Aegean sea and Syros island. Just a 7-minute drive from town, the villa offers a peaceful retreat from the main action. Another standout company is ‘LLB Luxury Villas & Suits’ who promise to cater to guests with exceptional service from their knowledgeable expert staff. Their catalogue features the Sunset Aura Villa in Pouli, Mykonos, a charming and modern Cycladic house catering for 8 guests, again featuring breathtaking views.
More Secluded Getaways
If to ‘see and be seen’ is not your idea of a relaxing vacation, there are also many pockets of unspoilt paradise that luxury travellers can find solace in, secluded and peaceful holdings that combine the simplicity of Greek living with the sumptuous details you would expect from high-end resorts – without the crowds. With more islands than you can count and a growing number of high-end resorts being developed, luxury travellers who seek a more secluded vacation are also able to live out their Greek fantasies in near-enough solitude.
Companies such as Bill&John currently have a portfolio of over 70 luxury apartments and villas located across Greece, including some on the more quaint islands of Ikaria and Karpathos. Cousins John Velonias & Vasilis Vassiliades set up Bill&John with the intention of installing the warmth of traditional Greek hospitality into exceptional luxury properties across the country. Each property features an earthy and laid-back interior design that reflects the natural materials of the Grecian landscapes that surround them. Their properties feature premium finishes, ensuring that guests won’t have to choose between ultimate comfort and magical views. The quality of each property is consistent across their portfolio.
“Everything started with our passion to find & curate the most exceptional Greece homes. We are here to provide exceptional luxury holiday property rentals & unique experiences for your leisure time with your loved ones, from urban rentals to vacation destinations. We are committed to giving our guests, homeowners & travel partners that bespoke & memorable Bill & John experience.”
Highlights of their portfolio include the charming 6-bedroom ‘Villa Melitta’ with exceptionally beautiful views in the quaint fishing village of Perdika, one of Aegina’s most dreamy locations. Another standout is the impossibly chic ‘Villa Pelagoon’ on the island of Skiathos. Accommodating up to 14 guests, Villa Pelagoon is ideal for larger groups that are seeking relaxed seclusion and breathtaking views of the glistening Aegean Sea.
The Flirtiest Location In Europe?
With offerings such as these, it’s clear to see why the Greek islands are continuing to grow in popularity. Consider Paros, recently described by Conde Nast Traveller as “one of the flirtiest locations in Europe”. Not long ago this charming island was only reachable by ferry from its nearby Cycladic cousins. However, many indulgent resorts and chic hotels are now opening their doors to distinguished guests, with a new airport to greet them. If Paros is to lead by example, Greece is indeed firmly on the map as the location of choice for luxury travellers this summer season.