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Travel to Greece

Elm Street Diner Owner John Moshos describes his favorite destination

Photographs: Andres Belivanakis – elafonisos-island.com

If you read our cover feature in the January issue of this magazine, we bet you’ve already given serious thought to this year’s vacation. But before you book anything, here’s one more destination you should consider before you make a decision...

John Moshos

Elafonisos, Greece

Because his family keeps a place in Sparta, John has a frequent chance to explore his ancestral homeland of Greece. Inevitably he ventures off the beaten path and heads for Elafonisos, a tiny jewel of an island in the Laconian Gulf between the southern tip of the Peloponnese Peninsula and the romantic island of Kythira. While most tourists seek out the hot spots of Santorini and Mykonos, John says it’s those “out of the way” islands that really showcase Greece at its coastal best. “The big islands are like going to New York at Christmas,” says John, the owner of the Elm Street Diner. “If you want to relax and truly get away from all the craziness, it’s Elafonisos you should see.”

What you won’t find on Elafonisos are big, glitzy resorts, which John says is what keeps its breathtaking beaches from being overrun. He suggests booking into a lovely bed and breakfast and spending your days beaching, sightseeing “and just sipping a frappé in a café.” 

If exploring the Peloponnese region would interest you, head to Monemvasia and tour the historic sites and spectacular underground caves of Kastania. Craving nightlife? John suggests Kalamata (yes, home of the famous olives!) a couple of hours-drive to terrific sightseeing as well as vibrant waterfront bars and restaurants. “If you’re young and want to have fun, that’s the place to be,” he says.

But if you stay perched in Elafonisos, “my advice is to do as little as possible and just relax,” he says. That should be even easier now, as Greece’s recent economic woes have made it more inviting than ever. “The business owners have completely upped their game on service. You’ll feel pampered.”

If you go: Visit in September. “You have all the beauty and perfect weather, but none of the crowds.”

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