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6 secret islands in the Mediterranean

By Mark Hodson

We all know about the big holiday islands in the Mediterranean but there are many secret spots where you can hide away for a few days and escape the madding crowds. Here’s my pick of some of the best in the Med.

Chora, Amorgos

Chora, Amorgos (Sunvil Holidays)

1. Amorgos, Greece

One of the most remote of all Greek islands, Amorgos only really gets busy during the high summer weeks of August. At other times, this long, slim island retains a tranquil feel; the whitewashed cluster of houses and tangle of streets that make up Chora, the island’s capital has some great tavernas and bars, while the pretty port of Aegialis makes a great base for a holiday, with a sandy beach and a scattering of quiet rural villages within easy reach.

Cikat-Bay-Losinj

Cikat Bay, Losinj (Completely Croatia)

2. Losinj, Croatia

Famous for the green hills that ripple away from its sparking coastline, Losinj has an agreeably bustling feel without losing any of its traditional Croatian charm. Stay in Cikat Bay, which has a long sandy beach and reliable breezes that make it great for wind or kite-surfers. The nearby port of Mali Losinj – the main town on the island – has one of the most picturesque harbours in the whole of the Med, with verdant islands stretching out towards the horizon.

Filicudi (Jean-François Gornet, Flickr)

3. Filicudi, Italy

Tiny Filicudi, just 3.7 square miles in size, is the least-visited of the eight Aeolian islands, where life continues much has its done for decades, with fishing, olive farms and vineyards the main source of income. Life is centred in the sleepy port and the small village of Pecorini Mare on the other side of the island. This is a place of peace and isolation where you’ll find lovely walks and deserted beaches. If you’re keen to visit the Aeolian islands, but want a little more life, base yourself on Lipari, from where regular ferries go to Filicudi, and all other parts of the archipelago.

Pantelleria

Pantelleria (Mauro Brock, Flickr)

4. Pantelleria, Italy

Sicily’s largest off-shore island, Pantelleria has a wild, untamed feel – not least due to the winds that constantly buffet the shoreline. This isn’t a place for beach bunnies, but for romantics; there are some wonderful secluded coves and the island is scattered with its unique dammusi; houses with thick, whitewashed walls and shallow cupolas. Its isolated feel has made it something of an A-list secret; Sting, Madonna and Giorgio Armani have all spent time on the island. Combine a few days on Pantelleria with time on Sicily itself – if only to recover from the wind.

Breakfast-1

Sipan (Completely Croatia)

5. Sipan, Croatia

The largest of the Elaphiti islands, just eleven miles from Dubrovnik, Sipan retains an air of faded glamour, dating back to the 16th century when wealthy Dubrovnik families built holiday houses on the island. There are wonderful beaches, while inland the hills are thick with vineyards, olive and citrus groves and a few sleepy villages. The pretty town of Sipanska Luka has a traditional Dalmatian feel, with terracotta roofed houses, marble streets and some great fish konobas (the Croatian equivalent of tavernas).

gic_alon_neptune_cottage_11

Alonissos (GIC The Villa Collection)

6. Alonissos, Greece

The Sporades islands are best known for Skopelos and Skiathos – made famous in the movie Mamma Mia!, while the archipelago’s third-biggest island, Alonissos, has stayed firmly under the radar. Ideal for those who like their lazing on the beach interspersed with walking through pine forests and olive groves, there’s a remote feel to the island, although both Hora – the medieval old town – and Patitiri, the picturesque harbour, have an agreeably buzzy feel. To the east of Alonissos lies the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades – well worth a day trip to spot dolphins, seals and rare sea-birds.

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