Social isolation among the mythical ruins, beaches and olive groves of Greece
- Credit: Villa Rentals
Emma Bartholomew experiences a socially isolated holiday in a spot that has been at the centre of Greek mythology for thousands of years.
It’s always disappointing when a holiday comes to an end. Especially when you’ve been staying in a luxury villa complete with a pool with panoramic views of the sea and mountains, set in a Greek olive grove, and surrounded by ancient treasures, mythical ruins, and secluded beaches.
Located near the Greek town of Loutraki, an hours drive from Athens and close to a number of important ancient sites, we had managed to find Tramonto Di Olive for a week’s visit before the start of term in September.
And if it weren’t for the children returning to school we would have loved to have stayed much longer.
With Greece being one of the few countries in the UK travel corridor because of its low coronavirus rates, villas like Tramonto are an attractive option for families looking for a week away, and for digital nomads looking for a longer term location to work remotely while enjoying what the country has to offer.
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The villa which has four bedrooms, sleeping up to 12 people, was a treat - with masses of space, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the sea and a modern and well-fitted kitchen with everything you might need.
The kitchen opens onto the poolside where we took daily dips to refresh ourselves from the scorching summer heat. The patio has everything necessary for relaxing, from white leather sun loungers, an outside barbecue and pizza oven, and a large table which comfortably sits 10.
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During the day we took advantage of Loutraki’s location to explore many of the ancient sites nearby.
Situated at the crossroads of the Peloponnese and Attica, the area has been at the centre of Greek history and mythology for thousands of years.
Minutes from the villa is the stunning Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian and the Aegean seas.
Four miles long and just 20m wide, it was originally proposed in the 7th century BC, and its construction was attempted - and failed - by many including the Roman Emperor Nero, before completion in 1893.
We weren’t brave enough to attempt the bungee jumping now on offer.
A bit further afield we explored the Temple of Apollo where St Paul is said to have preached, and the ruins of the ancient fort at Acrocorinth, first built over 2,500 years ago.
At Nemea you can visit the site where Hercules is rumoured to have defeated the Lion on one of his 12 labours - and more tangibly tour wineries in the vicinity which offer excellent local wines.
An hour’s drive brought us to the Acropolis, and the buzzy life on the streets of Athens.
Several beaches are nearby, and by far our favourite was a small cove at Heraion, an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera, where we walked past the ancient ruins straight into the crystal clear sea water.
The snorkelling was incredible with shoals of multi-coloured fish of all sorts all around.
One of our favourite things was stopping off at the town’s greengrocers and picking up the big juicy native plums, fresh figs that were amongst the best we’ve ever tasted, a massive chunk of feta or locally grown olives for a few euros.
Enough souvlaki for all of us from the local butcher was less than 10 euros.
A top find was the moist and gooey Greek orange cake in the baker’s, made from polenta soaked in a sugary syrup.
There are some nice open air restaurants along the Loutraki sea front, but we savoured going back to the villa, and putting on the wood burning stove outside for a BBQ, and whipping up a Greek salad, to devour souvlaki in pitta bread, watching the sun set behind the mountains and the sea.
Beyond being a glorious destination for families or friends looking to escape the UK, Tramonto di Olive would work well for those working from home who are using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to connect with colleagues.
Property agent Theoharis Mihailidis, who manages 80 rental lets at Villa Rentals, has already been swamped with requests for long-term rentals since the start of the pandemic - and the first thing they ask is, ‘How good is the WiFi?’
Needless to say, the wifi connection at Tramonto di Olive was excellent, and it has everything you need for a blissful life of social isolation.
See villarentals.gr/villa/tramonto-di-olive/ to book.
Villa Rentals also offers villas in Paros, Mykonos, Andros and Limnos as well as upscale apartments in Athens.