We love a travel trend, and nothing—truly, nothing—beats the opportunity to visit Greece at any time of year, for any reason. But there was one thing I found missing from the vast majority of these bouncy, high-energy videos I’d scroll by was the messaging that Greece’s gorgeous, ancient Cyclades islands are the original epicenter of serenity and calm, too.
On a recent overseas adventure, I was lucky enough to discover that the islands of Ios and Santorini are a must-sea (erm, see) for anyone seeking a wellness-focused Mediterranean vacation. And don’t be tricked into thinking summer is your only option! If you and crowded cobblestone streets don’t mesh well—especially when a high-UV index is involved—the magic of Greece in the fall is unmatched. Tons of sun and seafood; complete quiet and serenity.
Here, our favorite Greek island wellness stays in Ios and Santorini—all of which champion sustainability, prioritize peace and artwork, serve five-star farm-to-table Greek cuisine, and provide endless opportunities for you to immerse yourself in silence. (Aside from the sound of the Aegean sea that’s right outside your window.)
Where To Stay in Ios: Calilo
Calilo—located on the island of Ios, which is conveniently between Santorini and Mykonos—is the most well-curated, thoughtful, and unique wellness resort on the planet, and that’s said with zero drop of superlative. Upon seeing it, questions like: Did I create this place in my mind? came to mind immediately.
How to describe. Picture a backdrop of deep blue Aegean ocean tucked between two cliffs, with a luxury resort (carved from the native rock) perched atop an untouched beach. Calilo is cradled by 1,000 acres of protected land and six miles of golden sand and cerulean sea. The sensation of being immersed in warmth, beauty, and nature is omnipresent on Calilo’s property, which is also home to sparkling new spa and fitness center, two top-notch restaurants, a church, and 30 of the most breathtaking suites ever built.
Everything at Calilo is natural; then add dazzling, fantastical.
Water, light, and art are the three central themes of Calilo. The first two come built-in by the location—the property’s owner, Angelos Michalopoulos and his wife Vassiliki Petridou make sure every inch of the land’s rustic, breathtaking beauty is preserved. But the element of artwork is what gives Calilo its dazzlingly fantastical whimsy and feel-good vibes.
“The philosophical mission of Calilo is to offer a product where architecture and art are used to uplift the lives of our guests by providing them with a joyful, positive, carefree, and playfully quaint physical and emotional environment to relax, let their guard down, think less, and feel more,” says Michalopoulos, also a self-taught writer, sculptor, and painter. “During the process of conceptualizing and creating Calilo both as a physical place and an emotional one, the exceptional beauty and emotional intensity of the land pushed us to realize how much we must strive to make life beautiful for others.” Michalopoulos’ artistic vision serves as the soul of Calilo—an apt anagram of the phrase Create a Life You Can Fall in Love with.
Every nook, cranny, couch, tile, teacup, slipper, corkscrew, and otherwise square-inch of Calilo is awe-inducing artwork. Trust: This gem of the Cyclades is setting a new standard for elite travel destinations when it comes to wellness and serenity.
- 30 suites, each individually designed and featuring sleek marble interiors. Each has its own panoramic sea views and footsteps-from-the-sand beach access, plunge pools, swim-up bars, and romantic day beds.
- Calilo’s land conservation project has planted over 70,000 trees and bushes around the island of Ios to date restore the habitat that had previously been burned repeatedly by wildfires and deforestation. In addition, the family has invested heavily in the Elektra olive tree project, where they have planted over 550 ancient olive trees they had saved from being sold for wildfire in Athens. Guests can ‘adopt’ and name a tree and follow it throughout its journey of life over the years.
- Five-star dining features the freshest vegetables, seafood, and fresh fruit from the earth each day. The sky is the limit: Beehives supply honey to drizzle on local goats’ cheese; they produce extra virgin olive oil from their own olive groves. Menu items showcase delicious local Greek specialities, as well as wines and spirits.
- Immaculate spa features a number of stress and tension-easing treatments that target sleep quality, energy, muscles, skincare, and more.
- Exercise options abound! Greet the day with a Sun Salutation on the sand, hit the sparkling new fitness center, or take a meditative walk, meandering coastal trails scented with thyme and oregano, before winding down with yoga nidra at the end of the day.
- Because donkeys are an extinct species in Greece, especially in the Cyclades, Calilo’s owners created an on-site donkey sanctuary dedicated to their preservation. They also have rescued dogs who were affected by the wildfires in Athens.
- 99 percent of the land that Calilo is on is undeveloped in order to sustain Ios’ natural beauty. The land that has been developed has been done so in an environmentally-friendly manner with construction material extracted from the ground of the actual building site including beautiful marble and stone granite.
Where To Stay in Santorini: Andronis Arcadia and Andronis Concept Wellness Resort
Santorini is stunning—the white buildings, blue rooftops, and cobblestone streets perched far atop volcanic cliffs and Aegean ocean for days send you. For those seeking a hotel that’s steps away from the center of Oia, Santorini’s sweetheart city, the best-in-class for wellness (and everything else) is Andronis Arcadia.
Arcadia Hotel is the newest addition to the Andronis family of five-star hotels, villas, and retreats in Santorini. Despite its proximity to the many magical shops and restaurants of Oia, Andronis Arcadia is completely secluded and quiet. (All the more paramount when you discover that every suite on the property includes an ocean-facing terrace and private plunge pool.)
Another huge win for wellness here is the amount of space each suite has—the bathroom alone could fit a dozen New York City-sized apartments (says my “NYC math”). And yet: the floor-to-ceiling windows, natural fabrics, and minimalist design all draw the eyes outwards towards the sun and sea. The only challenge you’ll face at Andronis Arcadia will be the task of choosing when to venture out of your room and when to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
- Andronis Arcadia is located on the fringe of picturesque Oia, an easy stroll from the village center, but far enough away to ensure peace and privacy. It consists of 119 suites and villas each one with its own private pool, situated to capture the views of the Aegean sea and the island’s unforgettable sunsets.
- Room includes a Pillow Menu (!)
- Three massive, gorgeous pools on-site build to cater to adults, kids, and everyone in between.
- There are two restaurants at Andronis Arcadia. Watching the sun rise at Pacman Sunset Restaurant as you spoon the world’s most exquisite homemade Greek yogurt (topped with local kiwi jam and chia seed granola) is a must. Find more delicious Greek cuisine and gorgeous views on-site at Beefbar Santorini, which faces the caldera and its stunning sunsets.
- 60 percent of the suppliers for food and beverage are small businesses from the island.
- Eco-friendly car options are available for more environmentally conscious transportation.
Andronis Concept Wellness Resort
It’s no secret that Greece is a nation long-recognized for its wellness practices—many of the planet’s longest-living people call the Greek island of Ikaria home. Andronis Concept is a beautiful, immersive expression of why the Mediterranean lifestyle is so closely linked to longevity.
Andronis Concept is nestled on a quiet road in Imerovigli, a smaller city on the island’s coast. The 28 pool suites and villas are built to capture the sunset over the Aegean sea towards the caldera. This place is for peak tranquility and relaxation. While every aspect of Andronis Concept astounds—and a visit to Kallos Spa is a must—the most unforgettable part about your stay here will be the immersive views. Truly: Booking a room here gets you a front-row seat to some of the most scenic parts of Santorini, 24/7.