January 2022 Newsletter

We wish our clients a very Happy New Year.

We would like to introduce two new members of our team: Samantha DeCourcy, who joined us in November, and Reggie, who is the office’s official shredder of sensitive documents and socks.

If, like us, you are concerned about the fragile environment of the Ionian islands, you might be interested to know that we are setting up a partnership with the Ionian Environment Foundation. We will keep you in touch with partnered projects for each island.

If you were unable to enjoy a tactile Christmas with the whole family, you might be looking forward to a family holiday in 2022 as a positive step towards more freedom. We have some new properties to entice you:

Paxos

Lithari and Popylena’s House

Lithari
Popylena’s House

Lefkas

Koumaria and Panorama

Koumaria
Panorama

Kefalonia

Liakada

Liakada

Ithaca

Diamanti

Diamanti

Corfu

Flamingo Retreat

Back in the days when the Watrous family ran the company, Greek Islands Club, they started a villa programme on the Sporades islands. After a recent revisit, we felt that Alonissos still offers a special escape from the crowds:  a rich green interior of umbrella pine forest, olive groves and plum orchards; small, secluded beaches and deep sea caves carved out of steep cliff faces; sheltered ports with a colourful jostle of large and small fishing caiques. Contact us if you might be interested in an Alonissos escape with such properties as Paparouna and Fisherman’s cottage.

Paparouna
Fisherman’s cottage

We still offer the chance to defer your 2022 holiday to a future date if, as a result of Covid conditions, travel in 2022 is prevented by Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice or a cancelled flight.

Please let us know if we can help you plan a special Ionian escape.

Alex, David, Catherine, Samantha & Reggie

Ionian Villas Newsletter

We realise that for many, thoughts of 2021 holidays might well be on a back burner but for those of you who would prefer to select and reserve another Ionian escape in 2021, here are some reasons to do so now:

Availability of villas in 2021, especially in peak season, will be more limited than in previous years, caused by a combination of bookings deferred from 2020 to 2021 and a good number of people having already planned ahead.

We have recently introduced some new Paxos and Kefalonia villas (links given below) which we believe will be popular.

We continue to give a guarantee that your deposit and final balance payments will be carried over to a 2022 booking of the same property if you are prevented from travelling due to Covid-19. Further detail can be seen here.

New for 2021 on Paxos:

Aloni
Clementini
Erimitis Bay House
Mogonisi Bay House
Saffron
Sunset House

New for 2021 on Kefalonia:

Astakos
Barbouni
Fiscardo Waterfront House
Seahorse

We were lucky enough to visit the Ionian in September. This was baby Norah’s first opportunity to meet our Paxos manager, Dimitris, and his family.

In the new year we welcome Catherine back to our office after some time away raising the babies.

We hope you have an uncomplicated winter – stay safe and keep dreaming of the Ionian.

David, Vivienne, Alex & Catherine

Travelling to Paxos with Covid-19 Safety Protocols – What To Expect

The Best-Shaws at Eagle’s Nest, Paxos

The Best-Shaw family are regular visitors to Paxos and this year they were our first clients of the season to experience the journey after Greek airports opened to British airlines on 15th July.

Here is their report of the experience:

“We weren’t sure what to expect on our journey to Paxos this year but I’m pleased to report that it was far easier and less stressful than usual.

Early morning of 16th July – we arrived at EasyJet check-in to find no queue and were checked in within two minutes. We then sailed through security to find a relatively quiet departure lounge where everyone was social distancing. There were a few shops and food outlets open, all with minimal queues.

The plane was almost full, with everyone wearing masks but very civilised boarding and disembarking with passengers and crew respecting the EasyJet guidelines. There was a reduced trolley service and no hot drinks but you are allowed to take your own food and drinks on board and remove your mask while eating and drinking.

On arrival at Corfu airport the plane parked just outside the terminal so we could walk to passport control, which was very efficient and went smoothly. Approximately forty people off our flight were selected for a Covid test. One member of our party was tested which only took a couple of minutes. She was not told to self-isolate and was never contacted with the results.

The baggage claim was quick and efficient and no risk of not being able to social distance due to the reduced number of flights arriving.

There were plenty of taxis available at the airport, we all wore masks, as did the driver and he kept the windows open.

The Hydrofoil from Corfu to Paxos was busy, but there were seats blocked off to enable groups to be separated. This was the only part of the journey where wearing a mask was not very comfortable due to the heat – but a small price to pay as Paxos quickly came into sight!

A Paxos beach to escape the crowds

We are now ensconced at Eagle’s Nest and will not feel daunted by the journey home when it comes.

On Paxos we have been made to feel welcome – a genuine friendliness coupled with a respect for safety guidelines. We wish we could have self-isolated here for the last 3 months!”

ITHACA FAQ’S

When is the best time to visit Ithaca?

When is the best time to visit Ithaca?

Visit Ithaca any month of the year and you will never be part of a crowd. Ithaca has no cruise ships and no crowded beaches. Athens based Ithacicians will return for their summer break in August but there are still many deserted beaches to be found.

April & May: Normally mild with lots of sunshine and the one-off shower. The olive groves are carpeted with wild flowers – ideal conditions for trail walking. Rivers and waterfalls that have dried up in the summer months are flowing.

June: Pool and sea temperatures are comfortably warm and the views to offshore islands are crisp and clear.

July & August: Higher temperatures, warmer seas and more visitors to the island.

September: Perfect conditions for escaping the crowds but still with high temperatures.  

October: similar to May.

Are beaches sand or pebble?

Apart from some beautiful sandy beaches in Afales Bay (only accessible by hired boat), all beaches on Ithaca are pebble and fine shingle. Most of the beaches are natural (no sunloungers etc) and usually deserted. The following beaches have “cantinas” (serving drinks & snacks): Filiatro, Vathy, one of the beaches in Kioni Bay, Aetos, Marmaka, Gidaki, Polis Bay. Polis Bay beach has sunbeds and umbrellas, toilets, showers, kayaks for hire – all supervised by Takis the beach manager .

What is there to do for teenagers?

Life on Ithaca tends to be low key. There are a few music bars on the Vathy waterfront but the other villages are for those wanting a quieter alternative to city living. Family activities on offer include boat hire, kayaking & paddle boards at Filiatro Beach just outside Vathy, scuba diving, snorkelling trips; hiking trails, electric bike hire.

Eating out costs?

There is a good selection of tavernas in all the island’s villages plus a few off the beaten track. In the main they will be traditional Greek cuisine with Mediterranean twists & fusions. The average cost is around 30 euros per person for a 3 course meal including house wine – freshly caught fish however, will be more expensive.

There are some excellent and very innovative waterfront tavernas in Frikes.  

The house wine offered in tavernas is usually very good but there are now some very good Greek wineries on so well worthwhile trying them.

Kioni Taverna

Is it easy to buy fresh fish?

You can often buy fresh fish direct from the fishing boats on the harbour front during the mornings. You will also find a fishmonger in Stavros and Rigos (the man with the fish van) sells in all the villages.

Are supermarkets well stocked?

You will find everything you need. Most also sell fresh fruit and vegetables. Many have a butcher’s and a deli counter. British products are readily available, although may be more expensive.

Local Store in Rachi, Kioni

Do supermarkets sell gluten free/dairy free products?

The majority of the larger supermarkets sell a good range of dairy and gluten free products. Supermarkets in coastal resorts will also generally sell them, although the range may not be as good as in the larger supermarkets.

Do supermarkets deliver?

Most supermarkets and minimarkets are usually happy to deliver to local properties providing you spend a reasonable amount in their shop.

Are pharmacies well stocked?

Yes – and more treatments available over the counter than in British chemists. You will also find well known brands of baby formula and more specific baby supplies that may not be stocked in the supermarket such as creams, dummies etc.

There are 3 chemists: 1 in Stavros and 2 in Vathy.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Most shops, supermarkets and tavernas now accept credit/debit cards but you’ll get a bigger smile when paying in cash.

Best parts of the island to stay?

Ithaca’s east coast hillsides of olive groves, pine and cypress forest, shelve gently to small coves – with distant views of the Greek mainland. Ithaca’s west coast is steeper and has dramatic views to the east coast of Kefalonia.

The seaside villages of Kioni and Frikes are picture postcard pretty. Vathy is more of a working town but has beautiful views across the bay to the east coast of the island.

The drive from Frikes, in the far north, to Vathy, in the south, takes around 30 minutes so wherever you stay, you are never far from a beach or village.

View over Vathy Bay

How child friendly is Ithaca?

Greeks love children and Ithacicians are no exception.

Very few pools are gated and some gardens can be uneven with prickly shrubs.  Most tavernas have a childrens’ menu or are happy to provide child-size portions.

Is Ithaca good for boat hire?

There are boat hirers in Vathy, Kioni and Polis Bay. A speedboat licence needs to be shown for hiring a boat with an outboard over 30HP. Hiring a boat is the best way to find your own private beach and to explore the coastline.

Frikes

Are there good medical facilities?

There is a Medical Centre in Vathy and a smaller medical centre in Stavros. The GP and Head of Vathy’s Medical Centre is a good heart surgeon!

Ferry service to other islands?

There are ferry services connecting Ithaca with Patras and Killini on the mainland, Kefalonia and Lefkas. The ferry from Piso Aetos on Ithaca to Sami on Kefalonia takes just 30 minutes – alternatively, private speedboat charter takes just 15 minutes.

Easter Holiday Escape Competition

Banish Brexit Blues this Easter and escape to the little Ionian island of Paxos.

Ionian Villas are offering a fantastic £100 holiday voucher to use on any villa or apartment on any of the 7 Ionian islands.

All you have to do to is follow the entry methods below to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

Voucher Prize can not be exchanged for a cash alternative.
Voucher must be redeemed by 31/10/2019
Flights, transfers & car hire not included.
Minimum 7 day stay.
Winner will be drawn at random.
Winner will be contacted via email.
Draw will be made on 20/05/2019.

By entering competition you accept that your email address may be used to contact you about this competition and others hosted by Ionian Villas.

Travelling with a little human

Archie is now 19 months old and has been travelling with us on our trips to Greece since the age of 6 months! Our little man has done several flights including one long haul and he really seems to be getting the hang of it now… as do we! Alex and I often get asked how we find travelling with a young baby/ toddler. So, I thought I would share with you some of our tips, including useful gadgets and good advice given to us along the way.

The Flight

  • Firstly, try not to over-fret! 90% of people on the flight have probably had children of their own or have children in their family so they know it isn’t easy travelling with little humans. Cut yourself some slack – if your baby starts crying don’t worry, try and stay calm – your baby will sense your anxiety and it will only make things worse.
  • Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Now Archie is a toddler we pack as many snacks as we can. We try and go low sugar so he doesn’t get too excited on the flight!
  • If your little one is walking, try and tire him/her out as much as possible in the airport. If they want to walk up and down the aisle on the flight – stay close but again don’t worry about the occasional passenger scowl – most people understand. A three hour flight to Greece is a long time for a child to sit still.
  • If your baby is on formula you can pre order this from Boots up to 5 working days before you fly and pick it up in the terminal … it’s really handy. You can also do this with baby food too!
  • To help with ear popping on the flight a friend told me to try to feed your baby their milk at take-off and landing. The sucking really helps regulate the pressure.
  • Fun pack … we always pack a little fun pack for Archie full of some of his favourite toys along with some new exciting ones to keep him busy on the flight and for the holiday. But don’t forget to hold some back for the flight home!

Our favourite holiday must-haves and gadgets

  • Bullabaloo muslins – these muslins are great and so versatile. I particularly like the large size. I used mine for snuggling Archie up on the plane and when he was small they were great for creating shade or as a blanket at the beach. https://bullabaloo.com/collections/new-muslin-swaddles/products/muslin-swaddle-blue-cloud
  • Once out of a pram it’s a great idea to invest in a lightweight travel pushchair. Our friends who also travel a lot recommended the baby jogger buggy, it folds up easily and has a travel bag with straps. http://babyjogger.co.uk/product/city-tour/
  • Greek tavernas will make you and your children feel welcome. Many have highchairs and some even have toys/crayons etc. Sometimes we like to go off the beaten track so we take a travel highchair with us – it’s great for beach picnics and can be strapped to any chair. https://summerinfant.co.uk/product/pop-n-sit-booster/

Our top toddler friendly villas

When choosing a holiday villa it can be hard to know which ones are toddler-friendly. Here are our Ionian island favourites ….

Paxos

Elissa sleeps 6. The property is all on one level with plenty of outside space and shade. Also within walking distance of Lakka bay which is great when you have a buggy.

Kefalonia

Artemissleeps 5. The villa is all on one level with lots of grass for burning off some toddler steam!

Ithaca

Limoniasleeps 8. A great location in the centre of Vathy port close to a children’s play-park. The villa also has an enclosed, fenced-off pool area.

Corfu

Kalami – sleeps 4. A spacious modern villa in large grounds with plenty of grass around the pool.

Lefkas

Nicholetta – sleeps 4. The villa has an enclosed lawn and swimming pool area. It is a 10 minute walk to Agios Ioannis beach which has a few tavernas and a sheltered swimming area at one end. Lefkas town is also only a 10 minute walk via a flat track.

If you would like any further advice you can always give us a call or email. We have been to all our villas and can help pick the best one for you and your family.

Catherine xx

Last Minute Easter Deals

We are offering some fantastic last minute Easter deals on Paxos for UK Easter week. Stay in either Avra, Elissa or Angelika

15th April – 22nd April
** Only £500  **

Or maybe you fancy the festivities of Greek Easter instead…

22nd April – 29th April
** Only £500 **

Please get in touch with us for further details call 01243 820928 or email enquiries@ionian-villas.co.uk

Villa Avra – Sleeps 4

Villa Avra – View down to Lakka Harbour
Villa Avra

Villa Elissa – Sleeps 6

Villa Elissa – View down to Lakka Harbour
Villa Elissa

Angelika – Sleeps 5

Villa Angelika – Gaios Town
Villa Angelika

Don’t miss out on this great offer!

Moor a Hire Boat on Your Doorstep

For many people, the concept of a relaxing holiday is not to be dependent on a car. The smaller Greek islands are therefore conducive to chilling on foot and not slumped behind a steering wheel.

On most of the Ionian islands you can hire fibreglass boats and larger ribs with outboard engines ranging from 30HP to twin 350HP. A speedboat license is required for engines over 30HP.

Hiring a boat with outboard engine is a fun and to many, an out of the ordinary way to explore an island. Distances on the Ionian islands are not large but a few special properties have a mooring spot within a stone’s throw:

Alex & Archie on Paxos Summer 2018

ON PAXOS

Angelika (sleeps up to 5) is a 2-minute walk to Gaios waterfront. 

Averto Avalli’s (sleeps up to 6) doorstep is Gaios waterfront.

The Levrecchio Beach Villas (each sleeps up to 4) are a 4-minute walk to Loggos waterfront.

Marina (sleeps up to 15) has a mooring point at the bottom of the gardens.

Mermaid Cottage’s (sleeps up to 2) doorstep is Loggos waterfront.

Mermaid Cottage’s balcony

Sula’s Apartment ( sleeps up to 6) is an olive stone’s throw away from Gaios waterfront.

ON ITHACA

Dora’s House (sleeps up to 7) is a few steps away from Vathy waterfront.

Dora’s House view over Vathy Bay

Limonia (sleeps up to 8) is a short stroll to the Vathy waterfront.

Marmika House (sleeps up to 4) is 50 metres away from the Vathy waterfront.

The Kioni Suites (sleeps 2) are 10 paces away from the Kioni waterfront.

ON MEGANISSI

Waterfront Villa (sleeps up to 4) is 50 metres away from Vathy waterfront.

ON KEFALONIA

Katy’s Apartment (sleeps 2) has complimentary bikes and the Fiscardo waterfront is a 2-minute bike ride away.

Sonia’s Apartment (sleeps 2) and Villi’s House (sleeps 6) are a 5-minute stroll to the Fiscardo waterfront.

Sonia’s Apartment’s view

IONIAN ESCAPES ON LAND & SEA

The Ionian islands of Greece have some of the most beautiful, natural coastlines and crystal clear waters in southern Europe.

The islands offer a diverse playground for both explorer and cushioned deckchair enthusiast.

Say you are the one responsible for planning the family holiday or for trying to get a party of friends together – say Sally wants to escape city pressures and read a book in the shade of an olive tree; Malcolm only has a week off and wants to experience a different island coastline each day; Isobel just wants everyone else to be happy (especially Malcolm as he just won’t sit still); twins Frank & Fiona can’t do boats as they fear sea sickness; Pops and Granma want to be pampered. The Huddlestones and the Brinkmans don’t yet know if they can join the party.

How do you choose the right compromise for everyone’s holiday enjoyment?

A more conventional decision might be to either book one Greek island villa for all or one crewed yacht for all. But why not mix the two and satisfy everyone?

Fleewinter Yacht Lunous

Ionian Villas offers a wide selection of Ionian island properties for parties of 2 to 20. Fleewinter offer luxury crewed yachts in the Ionian for up to 10 people.

Why not spend a week in a comfy Ionian island villa to keep everyone except Malcolm happy, followed by a week on a Fleewinter yacht exploring the other Ionian islands. If Sally and the twins don’t want to join the yacht party, they can fly back home or extend their villa stay. In any case there’ll be plenty of room on board for the Huddlestones and Brinkmans.

Villa Marina Paxos

Fleewinter’s yachts have from 3 to 5 cabins taking up to 10 and each one has a skipper and private chef.  You can get involved in the sailing or just take it easy and let the crew do the work. Each day you decide with the crew whether to take it easy in a beautiful bay or explore some of the villages and tavernas.

Fleewinter Yacht Lunous

It’s a bit like having a floating luxury villa, and like all great houses each yacht has a garage full of toys:  waterskis, wakeboards, paddleboards, windsurfers and inflatable toys that are towed behind the private speedboat.  All meals are included except dinner where you have the option to dine onboard or head ashore to explore.

If you book a 2019 Fleewinter yacht charter through us before the end of March, a 10% price reduction will apply.

Call us on 01243 820928 to get more information.

Escaping to Ithaca Needn’t Be an Odyssey

After the Trojan War it took Odysseus 10 eventful years to return to his Ithaca home.

Reaching the end of his journey, Odysseus was taken from Kefalonia to Ithaca in a Phaeacian longboat. Seeing the Phaeacians returning to Kefalonia, Poseidon raised his trident and turned the boat and oarsmen to stone.

Tzika House and the Sunset Cottages look down to an outcrop of rock emerging from the sea in the distinct shape of a Phaeacian longboat.

Tzika House

It is said that the Phaeacians dropped Odysseus off at the beach below Dexa Beach House and Villa Areti. The photo below was taken by the owner of Areti – the rainbow falls onto the beach.

Rainbow over Dexa Beach

Nowadays Odysseus could fly to Kefalonia, then a 40 minute taxi journey to the port of Sami with a private speedboat to whisk him over to Ithaca in 30 minutes. All arranged by our Ithaca manager, Sue.

And to regain his strength before slaughtering Penelope’s suitors he could hide himself away in comfort at Hilltop House.

Hilltop House

© 2018 Ionian Villas Limited

Call us on: +44 (0) 1243 820928    ..or email enquiries@ionian-villas.co.uk

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