Find your perfect Mamma Mia island
from the chic Kefalonian harbour of Fiskardo to rugged Polis Bay on Ithaca is like sailing direct into the world of Homer’s epic. There, in a low cave, archaeologists unearthed a priceless fragment of clay mask inscribed “To the glory of Odysseus”.
The Greek islands also win hands down on variety. There are pocketsized gems such as Symi and Halki in the Dodecanese, their Venetian-style harbours ringed with the Neoclassical mansions of former sea captains. There are iconic beaches – the silver scythe of Myrtos in Kefalonia, or Zakynthos’s dramatic Navagio, sheltering the rusty shipwreck left aground on its sand. And there are quirky hideaways such as Kastellorizo, just off south-west Turkey, or Paleo Trikeri, off the Pelion peninsula (dubbed “The Island of Dangerous Women” when 5,000 female political prisoners were banished there during the Greek Civil War).
The Greeks also have numbers on their side. Greece has 6,000 islands (227 of them inhabited) as opposed to Croatia’s 1,000 (of which fewer than 50 are inhabited). They also have greater accessibility (more than a dozen Greek islands have international airports) and a much more favourable climate in shoulder seasons. And the Greeks have “filoxenia” – the love of strangers – a defining national characteristic. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to visit your first Greek island right now.
A scene from the first ‘Mamma Mia!’, above; and one from the sequel, below
Vis, below, is the location for the Mamma Mia! sequel