Atokos: the secret island of the Ionian Sea that is a yachts’ paradise

We live in an exploratory age. We are moved by the experience of discovering places with a wilder beauty, even if they are in so-called glamourous, cosmopolitan destinations.

 Not long ago, in the ‘90s, the Greeks chose to take short but “extravagant” holidays. Since the beginning of the 2000s the trend of visiting small, remote islands, that continues to this day, expressed the Greeks’ desire to experience the luxury of simplicity, of time passing slowly and of a minimal landscape and minimal amenities. Limitations in the service of an urban detox.

 Nowadays, as this summer strongly showed, this exploratory mood of the Greeks has leveled up. The “secrets” that some still try to protect so as not to be “contaminated” by the crowds are hard to keep due to the merciless revelatory force of social media.

 One such example is Atokos. An isle in the heart of the Ionian Sea. A private island that belongs to the shipping family Tsakos, that only make an appearance, as rumour has it, once a year, on August 15th to have a makeshift feast on the largest of the 3-4 “beaches” of the island, where the chapel of Agios Ioannis is.

Beautiful water


The family of black pigs

Atokos is a 4.5 km² rocky island that is part of the Echinades Islands and pertains to the municipality of Ithaca. It’s also part of the Natura 2000 network, since it may be uninhabited by people, but it is home to rare sea flora. Since this year, the few wild goats on the island have a family of black pigs to keep them company.

Lately, Atokos has been featured on various lists of real estate companies with private islands for sale. One of them lists it at 40 million euro. After all, it’s just 13 nautical miles away from Skorpios, the most famous private island in Greece.

Photo: Fotis Tsimelas

Photo: Shutterstock

Atokos brings out the exploratory side of the visitor. It seems like the island of the series ‘Lost’. Wild and cavernous, like a discovery in the middle of the sea, with waters at some beaches milky blue due to the fine white sand, and at others green due to the verdant slopes that are reflected in the sea creating a deep green pool.

Some people return to the island every year just to swim there and feel cut off from everything for a while. Italians are there every year, on their yachts, mainly from North Italy, they exchange wines and yells. However, there’s also a fisherman almost always there, with his caique and his book (!) ready to talk about the secrets of the deep and the lobsters which he favours.

Atokos is an experience a lifestyle magazine would write about being an experience you must have at least once in your life. Of course, in Greece there are many such ‘secret’ locations, each with its own beauty, but the truth is that the climate, the terroir and the peace of the Ionian Sea make a very special, unique combination here.