...or fly to Skiathos and catch the 'Flying Dolphin' to Skopelos, The Blue and Green Island as it is known. 'Blue', of course, for the translucent seas and cloudless skies, and ‘Green’ because this island is one of the most fertile areas of Greece, with an estimated 80% covered in forest.
Central amongst the Northern Sporades archipelago, just off the eastern shore of mainland Greece in the Aegean Sea, the beauty of Skopelos has drawn people to the island throughout history, most recently the producers of the Mamma Mia! movie. With the filmmakers now long gone, the island’s ambience has returned to one of peace and serenity.
It is here that a British couple, Sarah and Malcolm Avery, have found their own piece of paradise – Eleni’s House.
Found as a neglected old house – thought to be at least 100 years old, with the walls probably much, much older – Malcolm and Sarah have lovingly restored it and brought it up to modern standards whilst keeping the traditional character of the property. Unusual within Glossa, Eleni’s House has a garden in which to sunbathe or enjoy al fresco dining amongst the orange, pomegranate and almond trees.
Spacious, refurbished to a high standard, and equipped to be a real home-from-home, Eleni's House is designed to provide an oasis of calmness and luxury. Oh, and the views from the balcony are simply breathtaking - see the main image above.
Here are the details of the property at a glance, but please keep browsing the site and view the photo gallery for a real taste:
But, even when compared to the other traditional houses in Glossa, Eleni's House is different.
With houses on both sides as you walk down most roads, the view is often rather constrained from street level. But, by owning the garden on the opposite side of the road (which probably was the site of another house in years gone by), a wonderful panorama opens up as you approach the house, which is also atop a slight rise in the road. So, if you’ve ever been to picturesque Glossa, you will probably already know Eleni's House.
Within the village, its commanding position offers some of the best views available and visitors are often found looking fondly out over the garden and rooftops to the extraordinary panorama beyond, having a Shirley Valentine moment! Imagine, therefore, what can be seen from the balcony two levels higher - the views are simply magnificent and whole days can be lost while you sit and try to take it all in. Binoculars are provided to help!
The main salon is a truly magnificent room, being sumptuously furnished with a traditional fireplace. The room opens to the balcony with amazing views at the front, and on to street level at the back (no traffic), as the house is built into the hillside. Following the local style, a separate toilet is off the balcony, being fully tiled with a WC and washbasin.
This is a large, airy room with a king-size bed, a high ceiling, tiled floor and traditional fireplace. A window provides views to the west. The adjacent separate dressing room provides a wardrobe, chest of drawers / dressing table and a day-bed.
The kitchen is fitted with a double sink, full-size electric oven with four hot plates, fridge, work surface and many storage cupboards. Equipment includes all essential pots, pans, crockery, glassware and utensils, with an electric kettle and toaster.
Fully tiled main shower room on the lower level has WC, washbasin and marble-topped unit, with separate large walk-in shower. The ceiling height is 6 feet.
Three steps from the kitchen lead down to the utility room with a washing machine, small vacuum and other cleaning equipment. (This image shows the steps leading down to the utility room from the kitchen.)
Just over the lane from the front of the house is the garden, enclosed on two sides by stone walls and enjoying views towards Skiathos. There are three orange trees, two almond trees and a pomegranate bush, and a bough of the neighbour’s lemon tree also overhangs the corner of the garden. There is a peaceful ambiance with plenty of space for lounging in the sun or the shade, and al-fresco dining.
This is a traditional Greek house, built in the Sporades style over two / three levels, and there are steps joining them. In particular, the steps up to the main salon are quite steep and narrow. Similarly, Glossa is built on the side of a hill and there are many steps to be negotiated to get around the village, but there is a fairly level 5-minute walk from Eleni’s House to a car parking area.
Bath and beach towels are provided, along with all linen. The house is cleaned and bed linen changed mid-week at a time convenient to guests.
Eleni’s House doesn’t have an internet connection or wifi but most of the tavernas on Skopelos provide wifi for free. The closest and best signal is at the bakery-cum-café less than 2 minutes’ walk away in the main square of Glossa; just walking past is often all that is needed to download messages.
The lower levels of Eleni’s House are cut into the hillside and only the top floor has any rear-facing doors or windows. Also built traditionally with thick stone walls, the house naturally remains at a comfortable temperature in all weathers. Accordingly, there is no air conditioning in the property but two large fans are provided to aid circulation and this has proved to be sufficient even through the hottest days. Upstairs, in particular, a breeze can be enjoyed with front and back windows open. Fireplaces in the bedroom and salon share a common chimney and this helps further the circulation of air through the house. However, the fireplaces cannot be used and a minimum of heating is currently provided: it is for this reason that the property is rented out only during the warmer weather.