The Mediterranean: Greek Islands
Corfu, Paros and Kythera
Up and Coming: Corfu Gets Sexy
Northeast Corfu, in the Ionian Islands—specifically the ten-mile coastal curl between Nissaki and Kassiopi—has been called The Golden Line, Millionaire's Row, Costa Serena, and Costa Verde for its crystalline water and spectacular beaches.
THE SCENE Popular with British aristocrats, Corfu has no good hotels. Everyone rents a villa, ideally within walking distance of pretty pebbled coves, and they travel around on small motorboats (which they rent for about $65 a day).
THE VILLAS The best are Soukia and Vinita, sister properties just south of Kassiopi. Both sleep eight and have marble bathrooms, air-conditioning, infinity pools, and huge verandas. But they, like all good villas here, are hard to get: "People put their name down for a villa when they put their son's name down for Eton," says a local taverna owner. Book a year in advance (Vinita $4,850-$6,630 a week; Soukia, $7,270-$10,075. Contact CV Travel, 44-870-7879-712; www.cvtravel.net).
DINING At lunchtime the crowd descends on inexpensive local tavernas; at night it's back to the villas for catered house parties. In high summer, the Rothschild clan, Steven Spielberg, and Valentino stop into Agni's three tavernas: Taverna Nikolas for meze (lunch, $20; 30-26630-91136); Toula's for a spicy prawn risotto (dinner, $50; 30-26630-91350); and Taverna Agni for excellent pickled octopus (dinner, $55 $; 30-26630-91142).
Insider Tips: Artist's View
Illustrator and author Konstantin Kakanias, whose alter ego is the globe-trotting Mrs. Tependris, knows the Greek Isles like few others. We asked him for his favorites on the island of Paros.
STAY at The Asteras Paradise (rooms, $100-$275; 30-22840-52623), next to the village of Naoussa.
DON'T STAY at Parikia.
CALL Alexi Bisbas. He can organize everything for you (30-22840-236250), including boat rides, picnics, anything.
EAT at Papadakis (30-22840-51047), at the port of Naoussa; they serve the freshest fish.
BUY terrific ceramics from Studio Yria (30-22840-29007).
HIRE Yorgos, the best driver on the island (30-06-944-221-645).
• The Greek island of Kythera is known for its thyme honey. Yianni and Eleni Protopsalti make some of the best and sell it, along with fresh local cheeses, at their store in the village of Mitata. $20; 30-27360-33010.
Hotel rates range from the lowest-priced double to the highest-priced suite in high season. In most cases VAT is not included. Meal prices are for a three-course dinner for two, excluding beverage and gratuity.
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than American Express.