Presentation Boxed Set of all 20 Titles
All 20 Titles (unboxed)
Santorini & Therasia with Anaphi
120pp (2 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859007
Santorini is the Mother of Volcanoes (the crater left by the eruption of Karakatoa in Indonesia in 1883 - the largest of modern times - is between one quarter and one third of the size of that at Santorini). At about two hours before sunset the vast bowl of cliffs and islands below the town begins to fill with a palpable light reflected on the water from the declining sun. The murals from the prehistoric site of Akrotiri dating to the 17th century BC are among the most complete and beautiful to have been found so far. The siting of Ancient Thera is one of the most audacious in the Aegean: on three sides the mountain drops over 300m straight to the sea.
A fifteen minute ferry ride to Therasia gives a glimpse of what Santorini was like a few decades back.
Anaphi is the most arid of the inhabited islands in the Aegean. It feels like a forgotten frontier, remote and dramatic, whose interest lies in its surprises: the sanctuary of Apollo Aigletes, believed to have been first instituted by Jason and the Argonauts, the tiny church of Panaghia Kalamiotissa silhouetted against the sky, the finely decorated Roman sarcophagus lying in a field.
Kos with Nisyros & Pserimos
152pp (2 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859014
Kos has a wide and spacious feel. It holds an astonishing variety of remains from all periods of its long and important history. The town’s skyline is exotically punctuated by minarets left by the Ottoman occupation and giant palm-trees left by the Italians. The most famous medical centre of Later Antiquity, in memory of Hippocrates whose name is inseparable from the island, lies close to the town and the island also has a large number of Early Christian churches.
Nisyros is the most significant volcano in the Aegean after Santorini: its circular perimeter, deep central crater, rich dark earth and several hot springs leave no doubt as to its recent geological origins. The bubbling fumaroles, vapour seams and sulphurous efflorescences of the different craters are fascinating to expert and amateur alike.
Pserimos is naturally one of the most tranquil corners of the Dodecanese, with a beautiful coastline and an undisturbed landscape of rocks and herbs and goats.
Samos with Ikaria & Fourni
208pp (3 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859021
Hera – powerful and often difficult Queen of the Heavens – was born on Samos and that fact meant that from earliest times the island was a particularly important centre of cult, with visitors and suppliants coming to it from all points of the compass. In the 6th century BC, under the firm and ambitious grip of the autocrat Polycrates, the island dominated Aegean waters and boasted a capital city which was unsurpassed by any other Greek city for its size and sophistication. The remains of this golden age are one of the prime reasons for visiting the island and the collection of archaic sculpture in the museum has no equals outside Athens. Samos is rich in its greenness and variety of landscape and its flora are impressive, with many unique and endemic species to be seen in its mountain massifs and over 60 different types of wild orchid recorded.
Ikaria presents a forbidding wall of high mountains, bearing the force of the winds from both north and south, but the island, particularly the west, has a landscape that is equally rewarding for the naturalist, the rambler, the anthropologist and the photographer.
Fourni has a heavily indented coastline and waters that are remarkably rich in fish and the island is a pleasant and quiet retreat with a delightful chora.
Mykonos & Delos
128pp (1 island map, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859038
Mykonos is a legend – a dry granitic island transformed into the upmarket tourist destination of today. It has become a place for those who desire their Greek island to be an extension of the city – cosmopolitan, busy, materially well-provided, a place to show off new clothes. The barren landscape of the island is adorned with 800 or so chapels and churches that seem to spout from every rock.
Apollo and Artemis, twin siblings, were born under a palm-tree on Delos. This divine association had the effect of supercharging this tiny outcrop into the most sacred place in the ancient Aegean and consequently one of the most important archaeological areas in the Greek Islands today. The site is immense. On the slopes of Mount Kynthos are some of the best preserved houses from the ancient Greek world, decorated with fine mosaics and painting, while the museum contains finds of astonishing quality. Nowhere else in the Greek world have the remains of a whole city and a sanctuary of such wide-ranging importance been preserved undisturbed by modern building.
Paros & Antiparos
96pp (1 island map, 1 site plan) ISBN 9781907859045
Paros produces what is considered traditionally to be the best quality of marble for sculpture in the world and many of the greatest sculptures of Antiquity – the Venus de Milo, Praxiteles’ Hermes, the Winged Victory of Samothrace – are made from Parian marble. The Panaghia Katapoliani is the oldest and most historically important church in the Aegean Islands. Paros has three beautiful towns – Parikia, Naousa and Lefkes – and its eating and beaches are among the best in the Cyclades.
Antiparos has a 15th century Kastro and a famous and impressive cave. Beyond it the deserted island of Despotiko has the most interesting ancient site currently being revealed, which may prove to be one of the most significant recent finds in the Cyclades.
Rhodes with Symi & Chalki
336pp (3 island maps, 5 site plans) ISBN 9781907859052
Cosmopolitan, spacious, immensely varied, blessed with a fullness of vegetation and an unforgettable radiance of light, the island of Rhodes has always been a proudly self-sufficient world of its own. The Hospitaller Knights of St John arrived in Rhodes at the beginning of the 14th century and fortified the island as a chivalric kingdom in the sea. Of all the cities in Greece, Rhodes is the only one that comes close to Athens in the density and richness of its monuments and in the sheer variety to be seen – Hellenistic, Mediaeval, Ottoman, Traditional, Italian Colonial – it substantially outshines the capital. Ancient Kameiros is one of the most untouched ancient archaeological sites in the Islands and few sanctuaries in all of Greece have a more improbable or panoramic site than that of Zeus Atabyros on the summit of the island’s highest peak. Three of the most complete painted Byzantine interiors in the Aegean are to be seen at Lindos, Asklepieio and Tharri and there are many smaller churches that should not be missed. The island is home to many unusual trees, flowers, reptiles, birds and butterflies.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Symi prospered remarkably from sponge fishing and boat building and its town became one of the most beautiful ports in the Aegean. Today the island lives by tourism and day-trips from Rhodes can seem to engulf the town. In addition to exploration of the town, a visit might ideally also include the discovery of the mountainous interior of the island and a journey by boat around its deeply indented coast.
Chalki today is a peaceful retreat, offering uncrowded beaches, scenic walks, a dramatic landscape inland and an attractive seascape all around formed by its outlying islands.
Argo-Saronic: Salamis, Aegina, Angistri, Poros, Hydra & Spetses
192pp (4 island maps, 3 site plans) ISBN 9781907859069
Salamis, forever linked with the sea battle that changed the course of history, has large areas that are effectively a suburb of Athens. The island also has attractive corners and plenty of interest, including the Mycenaean citadel of Kanakia, reached through a forest of pines and now thought to be the place where Ajax grew up, and the cave where Euripides is said to have retreated.
Aegina’s archaeological remains – the well-preserved temple of Aphaia and the ancient site of Kolona – are among the most interesting and important in the Aegean. The deserted site of Palaiochora, the capital of the island during the Byzantine period, with its many scattered churches constitutes a treasure-house of Byzantine painting. The landscape of the island with its many groves of pistachio trees is often beautiful and the summit of Mount Oros provides the best all-round panorama anywhere of the Saronic Gulf and the mountainous coasts of Attica and of the Peloponnese.
Angistri has a fine mantle of pines and its beaches are attractive.
Poros has an elegant town and a tranquil interior, where the important Sanctuary of Poseidon has a beautiful setting but as yet has only been explored to a limited extent.
At the beginning of the 19th century Hydra was a more important town than Athens and prospered from its commercial shipping interests, which endowed the island with one of the most strikingly beautiful ports in the Aegean. The rest of the island (where there is a total ban on motorised traffic) is only accessible on foot; the mountainous interior is grand and panoramic with a number of monasteries.
Spetses today is a place of contradictions, with widely diverging qualities of tourism and of architecture. The older buildings are languishing while new luxury housing flourishes. And, while non-resident cars are banned, motor-scooters create noise and disturbance in their place. The island’s celebrated pine forests have been decimated by repeated fires in the last fifteen years.
Kythera with Antikythera & Elafonisos
112pp (2 island maps, 1 site plan) ISBN 9781907859090
No visitor can fail to be struck by Kythera’s charm or by the variety of its sights: churches, landscapes, ruins, houses, caves, ravines , villages. Kythera’s most remarkable heritage lies in its numerous Byzantine remains and paintings, hardly surpassed anywhere in the Aegean outside Naxos. In addition to its classical sites, Kythera also has many pretty villages, waterfalls, mills, streams, hidden grottoes and beautiful beaches.
Antikythera has an undisturbed archaeological site at Aigilia, tranquil walks through the interior and remarkable bird life.
Elafonisos is best known for Simos beach, one of the most beautiful in Greece.
160pp (4 island maps, 4 site plans) ISBN 9781907859151
The grandeur and beauty of Euboea’s landscapes are matched only by their constantly unfolding variety. The island is like a microcosm of all Greece: the northern tip has the feel of the wooded and bucolic landscapes of Corfu; the mountainous gorges of the centre are like parts of Epirus and Roumeli; the valleys inland of Kymi have a gentleness and a wealth of painted churches which remind one of parts of the Peloponnese; the area around Dystos feels uncannily like Boeotia; and the south of the island, hemmed by windy beaches, is wild and rugged in the grandest Cycladic manner. The mountains of Dirfys, Ochi and Kandili need exploring in turn, so as to discover that each possesses a strong personality, quite distinct from one another.
Sporades: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos & Skyros
140pp (4 island maps, 1 site plan) ISBN 9781907859076
Skiathos is famous above all for its dense pine woods and its magnificent sandy beaches. While the island’s south coast has intense tourist development, the sparsely inhabited and densely wooded north has been affected hardly at all. There are abundant walks to be made in the peace and shade of the hills in the interior. The deserted Byzantine settlement of Kastro, on a pinnacle of rock overlooking the sea at the northernmost point of the island, is a magnificent and dramatic sight.
Skopelos has the greatest depth of all the Northern Sporades islands, with its self-sufficiency, richness of architecture and commercial vitality. The appealing wooded coastline has coves and beaches and there are deep forest valleys in the interior. The town has an attractive and varied domestic architecture and an unparalleled number of interesting churches. In the hills to the north, east and west of the Chora are over a dozen monasteries.
Alonnisos has a stronger scent of pine and wild oregano in its air than almost any other island. Its waters are limpid, its forests are intact and its coastline is indented with enchanting coves and beaches. The island is the centre for the Northern Sporades Marine Park, the largest marine conservation area in Europe, set up to protect the habitat of the monk seal and other marine life in the scattering of beautiful islands to the north and west.
The tenacity to tradition on Skyros affects all aspects of life - local song and music, the decorating of houses, the breeding of horses, the preparing of cheese, the nature of festivals. The north of the island is fertile and densely wooded, while the south is wild and rocky. The island’s beautiful Chora is rich in a wide range of history and at Palamari is one of most important and impressive Bronze Age sites in the Aegean. The island is home to an ancient and unique breed of wild pony and there are quarries of a flamboyantly coloured marble that was exported in large quantities to Imperial Rome, while the south of the island has the moving and solitary grave of the young poet Rupert Brooke.
112pp (1 island map, 3 site plans) ISBN 9781907859168
It would be perfectly possible to come to Thasos to enjoy its beaches, mountain walks, country tavernas and beautiful villages, but it would be a pity to stop at that: few other Greek islands will allow you to come closer to the lived history of Antiquity, to get a clear feel for an ancient city in its entirety. There are as many as eight separate sanctuaries to divinities that have been uncovered so far, a commercial and a military port, a chain of lighthouses to guide ships to the harbours, two theatres and the exceptional circuit of walls, masterfully built and perforated by almost a dozen gates. Outside the city, the beauty of the island’s coast and the peacefulness of its villages and landscapes can challenge anything found on the mainland opposite.
Lemnos with Aghios Efstratios & Samothrace
160pp (3 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859175
Lemnos has one of the most unusual landscapes of the northern Aegean islands – not only its mountainous west but also the grassy rolling expanses of the east have a character not encountered elsewhere. The island acquired importance very early on and Poliochni on the island’s east coast is generally considered to be the oldest organised city in Europe. The capital Myrina is dominated by an impressive Venetian castle and the villages and towns have an attractive local style of architecture.
In 1968 the town of Aghios Efstratios was razed to the ground by a massive earthquake from which it has only partially recovered. The interior of the island is mostly uncultivated and little frequented.
Samothrace has a solitude and grandeur that are epic. Its rugged gorges and peaks, its trees, waters, winds and shores possess something of primeval simplicity. It is perhaps no surprise that an important and very ancient cult should have evolved on the slopes of Mount Saos. Few Greek sites raise so many unanswered questions as the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. The walker, climber, naturalist or poet could ask for little more from an Aegean island. Goats are everywhere.
144pp (1 island map, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859106
Lesbos has a predominantly rural character, uncommon for an Aegean island. The central valleys and slopes carpeted as far as the eye can see with olive trees, the unusually tranquil waters of its two sea-gulfs that flood the heart of the island like large lakes, the self-sufficiency of its stately villages and the relative beneficence of its mountain peaks all contribute to give the island a feel of domesticity, spaciousness and calm. From Antiquity, Lesbos has less to show than its neighbours: the beautiful Hellenistic mosaic floors, exhibited in the New Archaeological Museum, are for the visitor its most vivid relic. But from the Middle Ages on, its heritage is rich: Byzantine rural churches, important monasteries, many Ottoman buildings and, most conspicuous and widespread of all, the beauty and rich diversity of its villages. The hot waters of Lesbos are one of the island’s greatest and most unusual attractions.
Chios with Oinousses & Psara
184pp (2 island maps, 5 site plans) ISBN 9781907859182
Grand and solitary, rich in architecture and flora, Chios is more than any island in the Aegean a world to itself. The refined mosaics of the great 11th century church of Nea Moni are amongst the most important in Greece. Unique to the south of Chios are the house-fronts decorated in grey and white designs in sgraffito technique, which constitute such an attractive aspect of the Mastic Villages. (The harvesting of mastic gum has never been successfully replicated anywhere else in the Mediterranean). In the Kampos area to the south of the city are beautiful stone villas, farmsteads and orchards built by the Genoese settlers in the 18th century. Chios has an open, rugged and dramatic coast, with some of the wildest highlands of the Aegean in its interior.
Oinousses still feels like a forgotten frontier. Its peacefulness, the wide views into Turkey and to Chios and the dense and unusually varied vegetation of its garrigue are its greatest attractions.
Psara is an island where visitors are not often seen. It has two interesting historic sites: the Mycenaean settlement at Archontiki and the fine Monastery of the Dormition.
Northern Dodecanese: Kalymnos, Telendos, Leros, Patmos, Lipsi, Arki & Agathonisi
200pp (5 island maps, 4 site plans) ISBN 9781907859113
Kalymnos delights with its combination of easy normality and vivid geographical contrasts: a skeleton of rock-bare mountains breached by shallow plains of intense green fertility; waters reflecting mountain ridges and summits shot through with caves that are famous among pot-holers and rock-climbers; and, set in contrast to all this ruggedness, the island’s capital Pothia which has a busy metropolitan feel. Even more than Kos, there is an astonishing quantity of Early Christian remains on Kalymnos and their greatest treasures are often their fine mosaic floors.
Telendos is notable for the Basilica of Aghios Vasilios and the deserted settlement of Aghios Konstantinos with its dramatic setting.
Leros has peacefulness, beauty and a wide variety of interest for its modest size. It has a coastline of magnificent bays, a handsome chora dominated by a dramatic castle, a number of interesting museums, early rural churches and villages that burst with flowers and trees amidst a landscape of rocky hills. The island’s principal harbour at Lakki was built in ‘Rationalist’ style in the 1930s during the Italian occupation.
Both in the imagination and in reality, Patmos is so dominated by the great Monastery of St John that it is easy to forget that there is a lot more to this beautiful island – not least its beautiful and architecturally interesting chora which even without the Monastery would be worthy of attention. The island also possesses a remarkably varied shoreline – deeply indented and modulated, often backed by dramatic hillsides or marked by offshore islets and eroded rock-stacks.
The islands of Lipsi, Arki, Agathonisi and their countless peripheral islets form a wide seascape of consummate and ever-changing beauty. This was in Antiquity the Milesian Sea and these islands lived by protecting and facilitating the immense volume of commercial traffic that passed in and out of Miletus. The best way to understand these islands is by boat, in order to capture some sense of what this corner of the Aegean was like in Antiquity.
Southern Dodecanese: Astypalaia, Tilos, Karpathos, Kasos & Kastellorizo
216pp (5 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859199
Perhaps no other island in the Aegean feels as dramatically spacious for its size as remote Astypalaia; the greater part of the island is populated most visibly by a remarkable quantity and variety of birds. Astypalaia has two artistic treasures of importance. Its splendidly sited Chora is one of the most beautiful in the Aegean islands. Second, perhaps more than any island other than Kos, it has a remarkable wealth of Early Christian mosaic floors dating from the 5th century.
In the last decade Tilos has distinguished itself from all other Greek islands by concertedly espousing the causes of wild-life and environmental conservation. The island’s dramatically varied landscape, rich in water and oscillating from steep mountains to fertile plains by the shore, helps to sustain its diversity of flora and wild-life as well as to provide countless walking opportunities.
Karpathos has the wildest landscape and coastal waters in the Dodecanese. Its northern half is a steep sculpted ridge of mountains that drop abruptly to the sea, while the southern tip of the island is an open landscape of soft eroded sandstone. The monuments of its past which remain today are characterised by a quality of unusualness: the site of Ancient Brykous projecting into the island’s northwestern waters is one of the Aegean’s most lonely; further south at Lefkos is a unique and well-preserved hypogeum of the Late Hellenistic period; another of the island’s ancient cities Arkaseia flourished into Early Christian times with at least two sizeable basilicas with mosaic floors of extraordinary quality.
Kasos today is a friendly and unpretentious island, small and easily walkable for the visitor.
Equidistant between Alexandria and Athens, Kastellorizo has admirably refused to be forgotten by history. Its ancient wine-pressing installations, fine burial places, impressive early walls and its network of cisterns are all evidence of an earlier thriving community.
Naxos & the Lesser Cyclades
192pp (2 island maps, 2 site plans) ISBN 9781907859083
Largest of all the Cyclades and with the highest peaks in the group, Naxos is the central geographical hub around which they all cluster. It has a patrimony of history, archaeology and monuments which puts it among the three or four artistically richest islands in the Aegean. It offers the grandest and most varied landscapes in the Cyclades; it is rich in water and its tranquil spring-fed orchards and olive-groves in the heart of the island considerably modify our customary picture of the dry ‘Cycladic landscape’. The striking beauty of the island is further enhanced by the numerous Byzantine stone churches dotted among the trees dating from the 6th to the 16th century and mostly decorated with paintings of great quality. The extraordinary unfinished kouros statues of the 6th century BC are a treasure-house of information about early sculptural techniques.
The waters of the Lesser Cyclades are among the most protected in the Aegean, shielded from the north winds by the great bulk of Naxos, and they can have the appearance of a lake in the middle of a ring of mountains and hills. Almost one third of the Early Cycladic figurines known today comes from the uninhabited island of Keros. Donousa and Herakleia are havens of tranquillity, while Schinousa and Koufonisi are developing fast into centres for visitors.
Northern Cyclades: Andros, Tinos & Syros
168pp (3 island maps, 3 site plans) ISBN 9781907859120
Andros strikes the visitor immediately as a quiet, reserved, clean and prosperous corner of Greece, well-treed and with water everywhere. Few other islands can offer such a wealth of shady walks, along valleys of running streams, amongst the flora, bird- and butterfly-life which they support,. This is above all a place for the rambler, the cultural tourist and those interested in visiting an island for its peacefulness, normality and unspoiled landscape. No visit should miss the well-preserved ancient tower at Aghios Petros; the small and beautifully clear archaeological museums at Palaiopolis and in Andros Chora; the picturesque villages of the interior, such as Stenies and Menites; the monastery of Panachrantos, the panoramic site of the castle at Apano Kastro and a tasting of the waters of the Sariza spring.
There is restless energy in Tinos and the sense of a ferment of activity – not just in the flow of pilgrims who come to pay their respects to one of Greece’s holiest icons, but in the terraces on the hillsides, in the beautiful dovecotes which dot every corner of the island’s landscape, in the lovingly carved details on the houses in the ‘marble village’ of Pyrgos and in the calmly bustling activity of the island’s intimate rural villages.
Syros has a feel quite different from the other Cycladic islands. The spacious, marble-surfaced elegance of the Neoclassical port Ermoupolis, the only true city in the Cyclades, is a vivid contrast to the usual labyrinthine streets of a Cycladic chora. The west coast of the island to the north of Kini is wild and uncompromising and seems a world away from the port.
Western Cyclades: Kea, Kythnos, Seriphos, Siphnos, Milos & Kimolos
272pp (7 island maps, 7 site plans) ISBN 9781907859137
Kea is unexpectedly rich in history and variety of landscape. The island is particularly good for walking; its valleys favour many species of wild flowers and its upland slopes support magnificent Valonia oaks. In historic antiquity there were four important cities on Kea and the remains of Karthaia constitute one of the most evocative sites in the Aegean. Most remarkable is the Lion of Ioulis, one of the earliest and largest pieces of monumental sculpture in the Greek world.
Kythnos has a peaceful rhythm of life which has changed little over time. There are two attractive villages Chora and Dryopida and plentiful hot water springs at Loutra in the northeast. The island’s repeatedly indented coastline affords a wide variety of small coves and beaches.
Seriphos has beautiful bays for swimming and offers many opportunities for walking, with a number of ancient rural churches along the way. What stays in the memory longest however is the image of the island’s dramatic chora, clustered around its peak far above the island’s harbour.
Siphnos is a delight to the eye above all and furnishes more abiding images than many of its neighbours: the stately villages of elegant 17th century churches and well-maintained neoclassical mansions; the rural valleys, full of dovecotes and chapels, watched over by both ancient towers and more recent monasteries from every summit; the chapels built improbably on rocks projecting into the sea; the ancient columns and sarcophagi that adorn the alleyways of Kastro. Aghios Andreas in the centre of the island constitutes one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the Western Cyclades.
The volcanic terrain of Milos gives rise to fascinating mineralogy: from the pure obsidian, which has been exported from Milos for at least 8000 years, to kaolin, haematite, alunite, manganese, bentonite, perlite, baryte and anderite. Milos is a busy working island with its population nearly all concentrated in the north; the south and west are wild and largely empty.
Kimolos is a delightful island: peaceful, unpretentious and full of striking landscapes. The northeast of the island is scarred by the quarrying of fuller’s earth. The Kastro of Chorio dates from the 15th century.
Southern Cyclades: Amorgos, Ios, Sikinos & Folegandros
136pp (4 island maps, 4 site plans) ISBN 9781907859144
The landscape of Amorgos invites dramatic settings. Few other islands combine as succinctly so much history and landscape and important archaeology as Amorgos. Walking on the island is perhaps the greatest pleasure it affords. The three cities founded in historic times - tactfully distanced from one another so as to divide the island into three equal parts – all occupy exhilarating summits or promontories. Two thousand years later, monks fleeing Arab incursions into Palestine took refuge on the island and established their community in the most impossible site of all - the Panaghia Chozoviotissa Monastery, half-way up a 400m precipice above the sea, is one of the most unforgettable sites of the Aegean.
Ios has a picturesque Cycladic chora and a number of the finest beaches in the Aegean. The island’s solitary beauty and grandeur have been compromised in recent years by the construction of roads and a boom in tourism. Recent changes in the local administration suggest that there is a will to redress some of the damage done to the island’s traditional social structure.
Sikinos is a remarkably tranquil island with much of its mountainous landscape wild and scarcely accessible. One of the most interesting and best-preserved Roman monuments in the Cyclades is the Monastery of Episkopi, a grand mausoleum which has survived by being converted into a Christian church. The settlements of Ancient Sikinos and at Palaiokastro are both remarkable for the alarming perpendicularity of their sites.
Few islands can boast a more attractive and dramatically sited chora than Folegandros, with its compact mediaeval centre and a chain of beautiful shaded squares. The island is delightful, with several civilised places to stay, pleasant cafes and many attractive beaches. There are a number of interesting walks along the island’s network of stone-paved mule paths with majestic cliffs on all sides.