Escape the crowds on these quieter Greek islands

Symi 1900 Hotel

To get to know the real Greece, you need to head to one of its lesser-known islands,  peppered with small, soulful properties that offer a far more personal experience. Last summer, I visited three such hotels on three very different islands: the Aristide on Syros; the Rooster, a low-impact retreat on Antiparos; and 1900 Hotel, a four-room hideaway on far-flung Symi.

While each property has its own distinctive personality and backstory, all three are embedded in the landscape and the community, and all are run by first-time hoteliers driven more by passion than by profit. Because the owners are involved in every aspect of operations and have spent years getting to know the destination, each hotel made me feel like I was a special guest, rather than just another room number.