On the Rocks - the heartwarming story of Valmas Beach
In Ios, if you search hard enough, you can find so much more than wild parties and long lines of tequila shots. Valmas Beach and its people are a beautiful example of this, as my friends and I found out one sunny afternoon.
Emmanuela, the courteous and friendly owner of On The Rocks, offered to show us around Valmas and the area, which is just a few minutes' walk from Chora. She and her husband have a stunning set of villas overlooking the beach, which fit in seamlessly with the landscape of the zone, and have been built with sustainability and local improvement in mind - a rare thing for development!
Their villas can be rented throughout the summer season, and I highly recommend them for families - their location is unique, their decor is simple yet incredibly tasteful and you couldn't wish for better hosts than Emmanuela and her husband. My friends and I immediately fell in love with their place - it is inviting and somehow feels like home - which, in my books, is the best praise I can give!
The villas are just a steep walk away from Valmas Beach, which is a tiny secluded strip of sand overlooking the port. It's waters are crystal clear and the surrounding landscape is the Mediterranean at its best.
But the real gem of the beach is its little taverna, nestled between the rocks. Although the staff know very little English, they can serve you with the freshest Greek snacks, from meatballs to salad topped with divine feta cheese and herbs, all with a heartfelt smile.
Emmanuela told us the story behind the taverna - it had been set up by a man who had fallen in love with the beach, yet his wife had never liked it, and never visited the place. Sadly, the husband passed away, leaving the taverna to his wife. In honour of his memory, the wife decided to run the place herself for him, and after all these years, she's still there, handing out refreshments to thirsty visitors after a long swim.
It's stories like these that make anti-tourist travel worth your while; getting to know local stories and events is the true way of experiencing a place, and making your trip somehow more whole.