OUR GREEK ISLAND HOME
The children can go native all summer long at this villa on a tiny Ionian island, says Cathy Hawker
UNLESS you are a sailor you’ve probably never heard of Meganissi. It is one of the Ionian Islands in western Greece but at less than nine square miles it is overshadowed by its much larger sister islands — Corfu and Lefkas.
Getting to Meganissi from London involves an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Preveza airport on the mainland, a 20-minute drive over a sea-crossing bridge to Lefkas and then 20 minutes by sea taxi. Travellers pass the private island of Skorpios, once owned by Aristotle Onassis, before arriving on green Meganissi with its coves, beaches and whitewashed villages.
It’s a journey that Oscar Tymon knows well. In 2005 he and his wife Sue, both former City workers, bought a 10-acre plot on Meganissi and two years later started building a home there. “Door to door it takes eight hours from our house in Bromley,” says Oscar. “Or five hours from when the plane leaves London.”
SAIL TO SECRET COVES
By early 2009 the project was complete. Oscar, Sue and their four children, Abby, Alexis, Eve and Charlie, now aged 16 to 27, have loved their Greek holiday home ever since.
“Meganissi is wonderful for boating with safe waters and good wind,” says Oscar. “The sailing community know it as a place with untouched coves and bays. We have a boat and love to explore Ithaca, Kefalonia or Lefkas where even in summer there’s always somewhere to moor for a waterfront lunch.”
Peaceful and private, Meganissi is unspoilt with a year-round population of 1,500. There’s a supermarket, a few boutiques, butchers and patisseries, several tavernas and hotels and one nightclub. “It is like the land that time forgot,” laughs Sue, an award-winning garden designer. “All the necessary infrastructure is there, it just doesn’t always look like it is. And you cannot overestimate the friendliness of the locals.” Their house, Akrothea, has five double bedrooms and a large infinity pool overlooking the Med. The family visit for six or seven weeks a year and otherwise rent it through The Thinking Traveller for £3,966 to £10,163 a week.
An acre building plot on Meganissi would cost £128,000 to £170,000, and on Corfu it would be £ 215,000 to £256,000. New-build three-bedroom villas on Meganissi start at £280,000 through Rokka Villas. On Corfu, Sphere Estates has a four-bedroom detached east coast villa with pool for £467,000.
The Thinking Traveller: thethinkingtraveller.com Sphere Estates: (sphereestates.com) Rokka Villas (rokkaconstructions. com)
Top: Oscar and Sue Tymon of Bromley, with children Abby, Alexis, Eve and Charlie, holiday for up to seven weeks a year in the villa the couple built on Meganissi, above
From £1,779 to £4,093 a week: luxurious Kala Filia villa on Meganissi sleeps four to six, with an infinity pool and sea views (thethinking traveller.com)
Greek getaway: peaceful, unspoilt Meganissi has a supermarket, several tavernas and one nightclub
£3,966-£10,163 a week: Oscar and Sue Tymon’s villa, Akrothea, sleeps 10