I had a very “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” moment a few weeks ago. While I’ve been island hopping through Greece with the support of SeaJets, I’ve been trying to find good, reasonably priced accommodation. I reached out to a few places on Paros, and ultimately decided to stay at Agia Irini Villas. I had searched ‘campsites' on Google, so I was just assuming that Agia Irini Villas had a campsite. Well, we found out shortly after we arrived that it was most definitely not a campsite.
Kostas, the owner, picked us up at the dock. He greeted us very warmly and we instantly felt at home on Paros. Kostas kept advising us to rent a car because he thought we would feel isolated on his property. But, he told us that two beaches were in close walking distance, so we decided not to rent a car. We pulled up to an electronic gate, Kostas entered the code, and we drove through. When we rounded the bend, I began to let my jaw fall slightly. The “property” and “campsite” we were being put up in was, in fact, a villa – complete with a private beach area down the path, secluded balcony and terrace, fully stocked kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. Philip and I looked at each other, looked at the villa, looked at the view, and then back at each other, but this time with a much larger smile of excitement.
Thankfully, Kostas had told us to buy groceries if we did not intend to rent a car. There are two nice restaurants nearby with great prices; keeping in mind you are on the Euro, entrees were €8-12, even for freshly grilled fish. When you are on a long trip, however, you tend to miss a few “homey” things. One of the things many long term travelers will probably tell you is that they miss good, home-cooked meals. I surely do! Philip was eager to take over the kitchen for a few days, and I was eager for some clean-eating. We were able to prepare anything with the kitchen that we had at our disposal, but we settled for simplicity. Delicious, creamy Greek yogurt with red-pepper infused olive oil for breakfast, refrigerated fruits as snacks throughout the day, sandwiches for lunch, and a large pasta dish with fresh tomato sauce, EVOO, veggies, and delicious smoked sausage for dinner.
We walked to the nearby beach the first day and lounged by the water. The water was refreshing considering the high temperature of the island. Philip and I both agreed that the beach was worth visiting, but the real treat was that perfect villa, hand built by Kostas. Each little villa on the large property, with private beach and water access, was made with love; a rather strong cliche, yes, but extremely fitting.
Our villa included beach and beach-chair access (perched on flat rocks by the sea with overhead cover) only two minutes walking. The villas are tucked away enough that even though you have a startlingly beautiful view around you, you are also very hidden away from the world (and the other villas too). The porch area has two doors: one leading into the living room and the other leading into the master bedroom. The view in front of the porch looks over the property and out onto the strait of water which separates Paros from Antiparos. The view was so spectacular I didn't ever want to pull my eyes away. The love was even further magnified by the fact that the master bedroom doors opened up to the view so you could see it from your bed as you woke up in the morning.
The property was also extremely secure; we never felt worried about sleeping with the doors open and falling asleep to the waves crashing against the rock down the path from the villa. In the morning, we would awake to the light reflecting off the sea between the two islands. Being at the Agia Irini Villas was truly like being in paradise, especially when all you wanted to do was lounge and enjoy isolation from the world for some time. The last two days we actually opted to stay away from the beach and just tan on the deck, which is cleverly coated in white paint to prevent the floor from becoming hot; you could comfortably walk around barefoot all day. Chatting, eating, and soaking in the view (and the sun) were the perfect means of relaxation.
I am humbled by people like Kostas who put great time and effort into creating something as close to paradise as you can get. He has been running Agia Irini Villas for twenty-five years and yet, while speaking to him, the passion in his voice makes it seem like it was just opened yesterday.
Thank you Kostas for providing us with lifelong memories of Paros. Our experience with you and our slice of heaven at the Agia Irini Villas you created will forever be remembered and you, never forgotten.
Want a sneak peak into our villa? Take a look!
**Special thanks to Kostas and Agia Irini Villas for kindly offering me a complimentary stay in this dream home. As always, all opinions are my own.