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My good friend and Tsipouro partner Matt Barrett asked me quite some time ago to write about this unique little island, which has been a large part of my life since 1982, when I first set foot on it. Sadly for me I made the mistake of shunning his generous offer to present this island in my own words and pictures. An error which he brilliantly rewarded with this satirical page he created instead, where he morphs me into the cantankerous and opinionated Dr Liverides.

Forcing me thusly to set the record straight, I ran out, took photos, and wrote this for him within one day of that page going on line. I do not pretend to be anything like the entertaing writer Matt is, but many a skill has emerged when a gun is put to my head. Hopefully Matt's crazy Doctor Liverides will be the beginning of a very funny book too.

If you're looking for something uncommon and off the beaten path, and you have an adventurous heart that yearns for more than the conventional Greek holiday, then you will be well satisfied to have chosen this island for a visit.

It's still a place to call your own, in a country so overexplored by tourists.

The small fishing boat harbour at the back of the island in Aponissos. There are sunbeds, snacks and refreshments served overlooking a large sandy bottomed bay from a small island connected to the main one by a small stone pathway seen in back right. Nearby it is one of the most beautiful sunset spots ever, with an excellent fish taverna visited by yachts from all over the Saronic.

The Green Jewel

The views on Angistri are unique as it is one of the greenest islands in the Saronic, being covered in 87% pine forest. It is a great destination for Hikers and Mountain Bicyclists for its long dirt roads traversing its hilly center, where you get stunning high views of the sea through the pine branches, as well as the islands across the way like Aegina, the Peleponese and the ancient volcano of Methana. In my opinion, it is still the most unspoiled jewel in the Saronic, even considering the large number of holiday residences that have been constructed since my first day on the island.

The pathway leading to Chalikiada beach is covered in soft pine boughs and canopied with shady trees, as is much of the island. All with stunning and brilliantly colored views of the Saronic between.

As with much of Greece the beauty of winter here is only known to local inhabitants, with few tourists ever experiencing the scent of wild herbs and flowers among the verdant trees in early spring.

In Greece, summer is the hot, dead winter of burned away plant life, while its winter is a long vibrant spring. So if you want to get acquainted with this superb natural environment, without the tourism, you may want to discover it in early spring, late fall, or even the winter months. If perhaps you are unlucky with the more fickle weather, rainy strolls followed with meals by the fireplace will be your reward

Although I do love the barren, stark and minimalist feel of the Cycladic islands, I feel more at home in the rich greenery and tiled roof houses typical of Northern Greece. With Agistri you have all that, rolling green hills and spring flowers, all next to the cystal clear Agean sea.

Most incredibly of all, this little island is only an hour from the harbour of Piraeus on the mainland. How all this escaped exploitation despite such easy access, is a mystery I have only just bugun to answer after many years pondering.

The view of Methana as you approach the village of Limenaria.

Arrival on Angistri

Angistri has two ports. Skala is where you come in if you take the ferry, and Milos is where you arrive if you take the Flying Dolphin. It may seem odd to have two ports on such a small island but they are only about 15 minutes apart if you are walking, and there is also a regular and large modern air conditioned bus shuttling around the island during tourist season. The reason for the two ports is that the larger ferry boat needs a deeper platform that can accomodate the arrival of cars and supply trucks in Skala. Most tourists stay there as it has plenty of hotels, many right on the beach, while others also provide swimming pools with views near the rooms.

The view from Georgos' Taverna in Skala. You are immediately met with this pretty little fishing boat harbour and the church and sandy beach in the distance.
Hydrofoils arrive at the little port that is located at the foot of Milos. Mandrakis Taverna overlooks this small harbour. which hosts mainly sailboats and fishing vessels.

The second port is in the larger town of Milos (Mills), or Megalohori (big town). Arrivals here are by Flying Dolphin - or hydrofoil. These make a day trip possible to the island from either the larger island of Aegina, or Athens as they require only ten minutes or one hour respectively. As with Skala, this second harbour also has numerous hotels and short term rentals, as well as restaurants, cafes and a supermarket. While Skala is a newer town and more modern in apearance, Milos is a real old Greek style town.

Food & Dining

Goat in Tomato Sauce - O Tassos (Limenaria)

Fresh Mussells - Mandrakis (Milos)

Fried Shrimp - To Agistri (Skala)

Wood Oven Pizza - Avli (Skala)

Rocket Salad - Mandrakis (Milos)

Grilled Fish -Ligo Krasi Ligo Thalassa(Skala)

Wood Oven Goat - Parnassos (Metochi)
Local Pork & Pasta - Georgos' (Skala)

Burgers, Coffee, Breakfast - Quatro (Skala)

Seared Tuna - Aponissos

Stuffed Mushrooms - Toxotis (Skala)

Grilled Lamb - Lagoudera (Skala)

First I must apologize to any of the people who prepare excellent food on the island if I didn't get around to you here. Most restaurants on the island take their food very seriously, and with their competition you'll understand why. Eating is a real pleasure on Agistri. Second, let me assure the reader that I have not been paid to present these places, but that I have a genuine love and appreciation for each, and eat at all of them as regularly as time allows.

MANDRAKI is located right over the harbour of Milos and is excellent in every respect. Service, quality, freshness, and presentation all with a spectaular view and convenient location. One of my regular spots. They cutivate their own mussels nearby in the sea too, using a careful schedule that ensures they are very clean, tender and tasty when they arrive at your table.

LIGO KRASI LIGO THALASSA means "A Little Wine, A Little Sea" and is one of the few places that remains open in the winter, with a fireplace in a beautiful old style greek building decorated in a modern, minimal style. The food is excellent, serving both fish and meat, and the owner Dimitri and his wife are very attentive couple giving the place a warm and friendly atmosphere.

TO AGISTRI is located on the beach shore of Skala and run by a husband and wife and their daughter with a very quiet and friendly atmosphere. They have a grill in front that serves up classic greek octopus and seafood and have fine appetizers and salads to complement these expertly prepared delicasies.

Many restaurants on islands around Greece who have such a beautiful location by the sea don't have to try very hard to attract customers, but here you will find food prepared with great pride, care and skill.

TOXOTIS The care put into the superb cooking here is really hard to over state. Possibly the best Roasted Lamb I have eaten in my whole life and the stuffed Mushrooms are to die for too.Traditional dishes like Pastitsio and Moussaka are perfectly prepared, and their grill serves up excellent fish and T-bone steaks that are carefully selected by Kostas, your smiling host who's love of good food and pride in his family's kitchen are absolutely infectuous! It's so nice to see people who try this hard to please. Get there early though, this is a well loved and popular restaurant... and very busy.

APONISSOS features the most spectacular sunsets right between two adjacent islands, as you dine on fresh fish, shrimp, octopus and some unique mezzes. My favourite is the cheese stuffed mini pickled red peppers, that are the size of cherry tomatoes and very tasty and sweet. Ask Nektarios, the smiling, yet quiet owner if he has any fresh tuna, and he may prepare it for you as a seared Sashimi on the grill, nearly raw with soy sauce and Wasabi. A trick he picked up from a yacht owner patron's chef. His grillman Kosta is an expert on local fish.

PARNASSOS is an old Village Taverna up in the village of Metochi, and is probably the first restaurant I ever ate in on the island over 35 years ago. Katina still looks as I remember her then and has since created a fantastic rooftop eating area overlooking the whole island. She surprised me by telling me last year that it had been my idea for them to build it, saying more people would come discover their homestyle cooking that way. Apparently it worked. Not to be missed while on the island! Ask your hotel to arrange a table for you.

QUATTRO BAR is the local hangout in Skala, and has a wide sea view, great coffee, fast and friendly service and quite possibly the best english breakfast in the world. That's what their sign outside claims, and I can vouch for it. Vassili's mom really knows her way around perfect bacon and eggs. She's also really good at Hamburgers and perfect french fries. None of these are things you would expect from a sweet Greek Grandmother, but her magic in the kitchen shows even with these typically American and British favourites. Vassili's wife Niki is English and a great person to ask for local information. She proudly says her place is animal friendly, which I can vouch for too, as my dog Cadie is quite at home there.

AVLI PIZZA and Italian restaurant is by far the most surprising of local establishments to me. I grew up in New York and Boston, and while I do not claim to be a connesseur, I know good Pizza. In fact, I spent 35 frustrating years in Greece never finding anything I thought was even passable (except for one place in Naxos which for me was best in the world but he closed and moved to America. We are still friends.). So imagine my surprise at finding that my favourite new Pizzeria was right smack on my beloved Agistri. Great Salads, Pastas, and homemade Raviolis too, which are complemented by a limited selection of perfectly suited and inexpensive wines. I love the Pinot of course.

TASSOS' is at the back of the island in Limenaria and is no longer run by it's famous namesake, but by his son Nikos. No one there appears to be over anxious to drum up business, letting many a tourist wander in for a bottle of water on the way to the beach without telling them that a fabulous Pastitsio is also on offer. Many never realise that it is a Taverna at all, and mistakenly only order a coffee or ice cream, getting only what they ask for and never knowing they've missed out on some of the best food on the island. Nikos doesn't offer alot of variety, having only four or five recipes, but his cooking skills make each one incredible and I spent almost a whole summer on his food alone. Try the zuchini fritters, goat or rooster in tomato sauce, or anything else you're lucky enough to be served there. Best fried potatoes ever.

Giorgos' in Skala, is positioned right over the ferry boat dock with a lovely view of the fishing harbour, sandy beach, and church. He has simple plastic chairs under grass umbrells that many people simply choose to sip a coffee, cold beer or Ouzo in. They are not one of the more recent generation of restaurants out to impress with anything fancy, and their view and convenient location would give them plenty of business without even trying. But they do try, and the results are always great. Much of their vegetables, salads, pork, goat and rooster are home raised and the quality shows. Probably the best Spanakoriso (spinach & rice) I've ever had. They are one of only three restaurants on the island that remain open in winter, and sitting next to the fire and eating their food makes the season a delight.

Tassos, one of the few local island fishermen, is proud that unlike other locations in Greece, visitors can rest assured that the seafood they order will be locally caught, unless told otherwise. This means Octopus, Mussels, Shrimp, Cod, Breams and Groupers (as well as the Tuna he is seen with here) are all provided by and support local fishermen.

Beaches & Sites

The beaches on Angistri are beautiful. You have the usual town ones in Skala and Milos where you can rent a beach bed and umbrella and are close to everything, tavernas, cafes, shops and people if you are into that sort of thing. But walk between the two towns and along the coast there are small coves and long pebble beaches ideal for sunbathing. There are also churches and villages to visit if you aren't just looking to lay around.

Agistri beach

Chalikiada is a remote pebble (bathing suit optional) beach in a beautiful setting about a 20 minute walk east from Skala. Just keep walking on the dirt and pine bough path and you will find it. The path descends via a bit of climbing to the beach below, and may have any old folks in your party turning back towards the easy access beaches of Milos and Skalal. Bring water. Sadly, illegal camping is ruining this beach, so better visit it off season in early Spring, Fall or even Winter.

Metochi is a traditional village nestled on a hill and home to both local and overseas visitors with holiday houses. The well known Parnassos taverna is found amongst the small streets winding from the road running through its center. Visit Metochi for the quiet of a true Greek village and to marvel at stunning views of green hills, the villages below and Aegina island, the Peleponnese and neighbouring islands.
Dragonera is another pebbly beach on the road to Limenaria which is great for snorkeling, and has a Cantina which sometimes has Deejay parties. For the younger crowd, there are also more and more campers arriving each year. After Dragonera, and shortly before and above Limenaria, is the little church of Ag. Varvara which is situated amongst green pines and wine vineyards. In late winter & spring it is surrounded by flowers.
Limenaria is a small village on the back of the island some 4 kilometers from Milos via the single road which first arrives at Dragonera beach, and after leads to Aponissos. There are no ammenities or shops save for one Taverna, which people have made the short trek for years to enjoy with it's traditional dishes, and simple environment. The church hosts many important celebrations on the island, and in Easter is surrounded by fireworks and local girls dressed in their finest. Beyond Limenaria is another fantastic spot called Aponissos, which is not actually a beach (though the map says so) but has sunbeds with refreshments set up on the little joining island (the name means "Away Island"), which overlooks an incredible crystal clear turquoise sandy bay for swimming and a tiny fishing boat port. Nearby is one of the most famous seaside tavernas in the Saronic, simply named Aponissos.

Below Limenaria is a swimming platform called Mariza where I go snorkeling in the mornings. Some people arrive and are disappointed to discover that what has been promoted as a 'beach' again, is in actuality only a cement platform. It is however, one of the most beautiful places to swim I know of on the island. The water is deep and so not for timid waders. So much so, that many people climb high up the rock cliff walls to jump & dive to the crystal clear water. The fact that you are swimming against a backdrop unspoiled by human construction, with no hotels or buildings but only the rock cliffs and pine trees, also makes swimming there really pleasant. Sadly, young Athenian tourists occasionlly decide that it needs graffitti to make it more interesting to them. Ah youth...

Accomodation

Milos and Skala, being the two main towns on the island, have numerous hotels on offer, for a full list click here.

You can find more hotels in Angistri by location, price, whether or not it has a swimming pool or is on the beach, and see photos, maps and reviews by using this link to Booking.com. Excellent prices and many hotels you can book and then cancel with no cancellation fee. For those who want to book without using a travel agency this is the best way to do it.

All the following hotels in Skliri are a mere minutes walk from the sea. The naturist beach of Chalikiada is a 5-minute walk through the pine trees, and the village centre, with shops, bars and tavernas, and the ferry boat port, is all just a ten minute walk away. The area is also preferred by foreigners and more sophisticated Greek visitors. If you'd rather a dark brown bread with your breakfast, quiet green surroundings, beautiful short walks to the sea, and the option of meeting others of the same mind, then Skliri is where it's at for you...

The Angistri Club is the kind of place where guests come back year after year and feel welcome and at home. Peacefully located amongst pine trees on a cliff 50 feet above the sea, the Agistri Club Hotel offers sea views overlooking the neighbouring island of Aegina. The hotel has a restaurant and a bar and is a great place to eat as well. They do get booked full very quickly so if you are interested you can see more photos and booking information on Booking.com's Angistri Club Page

Hotel Milos Operating for over 50 years, this is one of the oldest accommodations on Agistri island. Many of the clients are regulars who visit the island by sailing yacht, returning to Milos Hotel every year to enjoy the hospitality, atmosphere and live music and Greek dancing nights. There is a genuine aura of friendliness and belonging at this unique family-run establishment, which as a result has a long list of returning visitors who come from countries all over the world.

Many a lifelong cherished memory has been born here.

Kekrifalia is also family run, by Lia and her mom who are from Athens. Here they have created an exceptional luxury hotel environment, with full quality beds and rooms, a superb restaurant, with a breakfast and bar area overlooking a terraced wall with bean bag chairs and perhaps the best view in Skliri of the Church, harbour & Aegina. Below is a large sunbathing platform with Umbtrellas and deck chairs. This is sophisticated comfort, while being small, cozy and filled with warm smiles. The clientelle is more Greek than foreign, but everyone will feel very welcome.
The Alkyoni was one of the first tastefully designed and operated hotels and restaurants on the island. Established in the eighties, it's resident turkish chef Hassan was a local legend who inspired many of the later restaurants, and even shared recipes and tips with them. Takis, one of the owners, is also a fine cook and carries on the tradition. It has a high, commanding view of Aegina island and the sea, with traditional taverna chairs and white marble tables built on antique sewing tables that give it a special atmosphere of it's own. Many years ago, as a young man, I drew a picture of them which is still on the cover of their menus and T-Shirts. The latter are difficult to obtain, and even I don't own one...

New Arrivals

The first guests to the island as a result of this new page have arrived and left with nice memories. Collin & Yoko, an Irish and Japanese couple from London (guess which one is Irish) arrived in mid April, 2017, the day after Easter.

They found myself and the whole island a bit hungover from the previous day's festivities but we managed to have a fabulous day with them.

Besides the fantastic fish dinner that Yoko had her heart set on, which we had at Ligo Krasi Ligo Thalassa (very inexpensive bill!), we were treated to a rare and spectacular sea storm.

Plenty of wine too, and some guitar & singing by myself and good friends 18 yr old Hugo Robinson and his dad Martin. Hugo is destined to be a great, and dare I say well known musician. Possibly soon. His band is called Screwed Loose.

If you too visit as a result this page, don't be shy and say hello. I'm on the right (neither Japanese nor Irish).

My Story Here

In 1982 I came to Agistri to visit my mother, who had married a local Greek fisherman from the much larger, and opposite island of Aegina. They lived in the small hill top village of Metochi, which at the time was still an unspoiled yet largely abandoned collection of mostly crumbling country houses. The local islanders had fled them for the newer and more modern cement block constructions down closer to the sea.

After years of wondering why all those old, quaint stone houses in Greece were up in the hilltops and mountains, while only newer and less attractive 'modern' constructions were to be found near the gorgeous coastlines, I finally hit upon the answer: Pirates. These houses built 120 to 250 years ago were built in a day when living close to the shore could have gotten you killed.

The island itself had only recently acquired the miracle of electricity too, and as a new fangled luxury it was proudly displayed in every house, new or old, in the form of spider webs of thick cables tacked on their insides and outsides, ending in dangling, bare light bulbs. To this day you can still see this approach to wiring all over the islands that is born of the pride which having electricity still engendered until only recently. Like a fancy car or prestige item, exposed wiring showed how well off you were. The old stone country houses themselves then began to be, and largely still are, viewed as relics of a less sophisticated past.

Me in 1982 in Metochi. I was 22 years old, young and idealistic, and thought I had found the answers to life in this small village. I'm sitting on the roof of the small animal shed attached to the house which I later surrounded with low walls to create a balcony with a fantastic view of the entire Saronic and local Pelleponnese.

After spending that first summer on the island, mostly at the Agistri Club, which was a paradise of mainly young tourist girls from all over Europe, I fell in love with a girl from Berlin. Before moving there to be with her I decided it was time to rent a village house of my own, so that we could spend summers off from her studies on the island where we met.

I managed to secure a house in the front end of the village at the meager rent of 25 dollars a month with a five year lease. In return, I was to rebuild the crumbling roof. Being young, naive and impulsive, I went much further in the five years that followed, installing plumbing and electricity - as well as erecting walls, gated entrances, bathrooms and even a little wooden bridge connecting the two stone structures standing amongst the five fig trees on the property.

With each of these improvements my landlord's estimation of me grew, and I was assured that in return for restoring his departed mother's home I would be permitted to rent it until I too, was old and grey. House sales at that time were rare, as property was and still is highly valued in Greece, especially family homes.

Sadly, my little dream came to an abrupt end when an english tourist went to my landlord and offered to buy my renovated dream home out from under me. To his credit he refused the offer, but when his four brothers and sisters got wind of it, my fate was sealed.

This is also one of the major obstacles to buying property in Greece, in that local inheritance law automatically divides all property amongst the surviving family members. More often than not this results in stalled decisions, years of negotiations, and ultimtely disappointment for many would be buyers.

In my case the decision was unanimous. Throw the punk out and sell.

Remarkably and at that young age though, I managed to navigate the Byzantine legal system of the Piraeus courts and put up a fight by getting a court order stating that I could select a buyer of my own, who would at least reimburse me for the raw materials. It was 1987, and the house sold for roughly $16,000. I didn't have that kind of money in my mid twenties, and no one back in the states believed me when I told them what a great investment it would be. Now you couldn't buy it for ten times that amount.

I am relating this tale because I want to inform people looking to find their own homes in this natural paradise of Greece. Nowadays, there are still many such houses which remain unrepaired and are crumbling to the ground all over the islands and countryside. Sadly, they may never be restored because of the above mentioned family squabbles. There will always be one family member who believes they could sell much higher, and in many cases the asking prices are ludicrous. I do not wish the process of searching for and negotiating a house purchase in Greece on anyone. Even if you do succeed, dubious paperwork, deeds, and land rights etc have resulted in many an unsuspecting foreign buyer spending years in court, and paying tens of thousands in fines. The current debt burdened government too, is inventing new ways to compound and increase taxes and fine revenues every day, and there is a recent attempt to 'reclaim' forrest land from property holders with originally legitimate purchase deeds. As a buyer, you will inherit such future vulnerabilities.

Having successfully navigated all that, you will then be faced with the lengthy, and comedic drama that unfolds when negotiating and hiring local tradesmen to renovate your home. Unless you speak the language, and more importantly understand the local mindset, with all its myriad intricacies and intrigues (including the feuds and family ties that permeate every endeavor), you will be lost.

I know, because I am back at it myself as I write this, ha ha...

Angistri Tourist Information

Post Office: 2297091 467

Pharmacy: 2297091 540

Medical Center: 2297091 215

Stamatis' Supermarket: 2297091 308

Roulis' Taxi: 6977662004 It's actually a set fee taxi van, so the price lowers per person the larger your group of up to 9.

You can also find more hotels on Angistri on Booking.com's Angistri Page

If you need assistance with hotels and ferries you can use Matt Barrett's Create an Itinerary Page or contact any of the Athens Travel Agencies. Angistri is connected daily through the island of Aegina to Poros, Hydra and Spetses so these are the easiest islands to combine in an island hopping itinerary. Any other islands you will have to return to Pireaus to make a connection.