Last year, before the world was upended by the coronavirus outbreak, I took a trip to Greece, specifically to the islands of the Cyclades. So far, Greece has escaped quite lightly from the pandemic, with just over 3,000 infections. And while Americans are currently prohibited from entering the EU, tourism brings in close to $20 billion in revenue to Greece, so the government does not lack for incentives to find a way back to normality.
Even if travel continues to be problematic this year, next spring we may be able to head back to the eastern Mediterranean. (May and June have long been my favorite months there.) For me, life offers few pleasures more intense than that of sitting beneath a Greek quayside awning, with a plate of grilled fish and a bottle of cold white wine, gazing at yachts anchored on a glassy expanse of sea, beneath a sky that is cloudless and improbably blue.
Despite being an extraordinarily beautiful and hospitable country, with no fewer than 227 inhabited islands and a cultural history that is second to none, Greece has long been a paradoxical place for affluent American travelers. Surprisingly, it can boast relatively few hotels of note, and, worse, many of the ones that do exist are located on either Santorini or Mykonos, islands that over recent years have become badly overcrowded, haunted by large cruise ships and plagued by the prevailing obsession with Instagram. Recently, however, there have been one or two signs of change.