Everyone dreams of having their own private island where they can feel like ruler of all they survey. There is such a place and its name is Ethereal: a small Shangri-La just 15 minutes by helicopter from Athens, which promises total privacy and exclusivity for those wishing to escape from it all.
Set in the glistening southern Gulf of Euboea (Evia) opposite the site of the ancient city of Eritrea on mainland Greece, Ethereal is an exceptional secluded haven that was first recognised as a settlement in 1961. Originally purchased by a prominent Greek family in 1958, its pristine beauty and verdant landscapes put it on a par with Skorpios, once home to the Onassis dynasty, and Spetsopoula of the Niarchos family fame. The original owner dedicated himself to transforming the bare Ethereal into an ecological paradise, planting thousands of trees such as olive and pistachio, pine and cypress, as well as adding a variety of fruit trees including pomegranate, apricot, peach, almond and fig. The result is a lush Eden filled with vibrant flora and rich, fruit-bearing trees indigenous to Greece.
Frequently visited by members of the then royal family of Greece, such as Queen Frederica and her children, as well as leaders of state like Winston Churchill and Haile Selassie, the 50,316 m2 island was a much loved oasis away from the affairs of state. At one point The Beatles themselves were particularly interested in purchasing it, seeking an inspirational Nirvana. The island’s guitar-shaped morphology signified something very karmic to the ‘Fab Four’, although their plans to acquire it never actually went through and they disbanded soon after.
The inviting country house offers unassuming rural comfort and the church of Aghia Triada (Holy Trinity) at the tip of the island is a beautiful landmark that has seen many marriages and baptisms. Its picturesque character is further enhanced by a Venetian watchtower, little of which is known about. It stands as a solitary sentinel overlooking the turquoise waters to the west of the island, with two piers on the same side just perfect for mooring and even serving as a heli-pad. A third pier on the east side is a useful springboard for water sports and the two beaches themselves are sandy and sheltered, with a retro beach cabana adding a really personal feel to this little piece of paradise.
There is a sense of being totally detached from it all at Ethereal, while still accessible to a select few visitors. Sheer calmness pervades the air, evoking the impression that the best things in life really are the simplest: a comfortable family home and being at one with nature. Surrounded by the tranquil waters lapping gently against the secluded shore, this is an island with an intriguing past offering a treasure trove of very exclusive moments.