Here is a different kind of Cycladic holiday retreat. Far from the hustle and bustle of the coastal resorts, (English) Jim and (Greek) Irini’s “To the Garden” is hidden in the hills in the southern part of the Paros, about ten minutes’ drive from the sea. In an eight-acre property planted with olive trees, vegetable plots and Mediterranean dryland gardens, a three self-catering cottages built from natural materials blend in seamlessly with the landscape. Warm and homey, they comfortably sleep up to three or four guests each and have fully equipped open kitchens, comfortable beds, good bathrooms and ample sitting space, both inside and out. Jim and Irini are inspiring hosts who love to involve their guests in all sorts of creative activities, ranging from building techniques, gardening and cooking, to woodcarving, metalworking marble sculpturing and jewellery design. It’s all done in a pleasantly informal manner, and don’t worry if you are in a lazy frame of mind. You can decide on the spot what you are in the mood for, and if that is simply going to the beach or relaxing in the shade in the garden, that is fine too.
To the Garden is a real escape that stands out for its tranquillity, beautiful gardens and environmental friendliness. Jim and Eirini created something wonderful on the island of Paros and we are so lucky they decided to share it with us. (Also very lucky are several stray dogs and cats that they lovingly adopted and cared for.)
If you want pure beach holidays with entertainment and nightlife round the corner, this is not the place for you.
En-suite bathroom (shower)
Television with DVD player (no TV reception) on request
Fully equipped kitchen
Craft, art and cooking lessons
The cottages are self-catering and well equipped so you can prepare your own meals. When you arrive, you will find the kitchen stocked with whatever you need to make yourself a good breakfast on your first one or two mornings. When you are not in the mood for cooking, you can drive a few kilometres to the village of Aliki where you will find plenty of places to eat.
Children are welcome at To the Garden, but parents are kindly requested to supervise them at all times. The cottages have space for families with one or two children. If you are looking for a hotel on Paros with a swimming pool and kids’ entertainment, then To the Garden is not what you are after. But if you want to enjoy relaxed family holidays and expose your children to some of the simple pleasures in life (playing in the garden, making friends with cats and dogs, engaging in creative activities and of course, exploring the island and swimming in the sea), you are in the perfect place! Paros in general is a great destination for family vacations. (I spent a week on the island when my eldest was two years old.) It has really good beaches – make sure you take your kids to the little sandy beaches (with wonderful rock formations) of Kolymbithres in the north of Paros. Your children of course will also like the water park of Paros (maybe you will too…) and there’s horseback riding and all sorts of water sports. If you stay at To the Garden it is also very easy to cross over to Antiparos for the day, a beautiful little island with wonderful sandy beaches and lagoon-like waters.
“To the Garden” is in the southern part of Paros, a few kilometres inland from the fishing village of Aliki. It is a quiet, rural setting in the hills. The island has many fantastic sandy beaches; the nearest is barely ten minutes by car.
Paros can be reached either by conventional ferry boat (about five hours), high-speed boat (three hours) or plane (a few flights a day from Athens). From the port of Parikia, you should go to the main road and head south in the direction of Aliki and the airport. 12 km after Parikia, turn left at the sign for Kamari, follow signs for Agioi Theodoroi, and then look out for the sign for “To the Garden”.