Small secrets

Less hardy souls who just want to lie on a beach and perhaps play a little backgammon should head for the southern part of the island from Mavrospilia and Kalamitsi to Alyki, where there are sandy beaches, tavernas and rooms to rent. Camping is also a possibility here. All the beaches are accessible by car, but unfortunately there is no bus service, and the island does not have a car rental service. (The only bus route connects the port with Horio). An ancient submerged town off the coast at Ellinika is an attraction for divers. Swimming is also possible in the port, Psathi, where there are also good restaurants right on the seafront. Water taxis take visitors to beaches on the uninhabited northern coast, a refuge of the Monachus monachus monk seal. The tiny islet of Polyaigou, opposite the port, is surrounded by turquoise waters. The sole inhabitants are Petros, a fisherman and livestock breeder, and his wife. There are several settlements on the eastern side of the island, but few good beaches apart from Prassa, one of the most beautiful on the island, although it is slightly spoiled by its proximity to a mine. On the way, visit the picturesque port of Goupa (or Syrmata in the local dialect) where the local fishermen have set up their own boat-building yard. If you drive down there, take note that there is nowhere to turn around, but it is worth a visit, even if you have to do it on foot.