«Τ’ αηδόνια δε σ’ αφήνουνε να κοιμηθεíς στις Πλάτρες.» (‘The nightingales won’t let you sleep in Platres.’)
Georgos Seferis, ‘Eleni’, 1953
Platres has its roots in British colonial times, when it was the most chic mountain vacation resort for the well heeled and well connected of the era. This included such ‘celebrities’ as the Nobel Prize–winning Greek poet Georgos Seferis, who wrote poems about the place, and King Farouk of Egypt. But beach holidays suddenly started to look more attractive to many and Platres became a little forgotten. Modelled on the colonial hill stations of India, it has all the trappings of a cool mountain retreat: forest walks, gurgling streams, relief from the searing heat of the plains, and gin and tonics that are drunk on the balconies of old-world hotels catering to their guests’ every wish.
Today, it’s a little less elegant, and hikers, retirees, and travellers who still prefer the hills to the beaches make up the numbers. It’s a nice enough place to base yourself for a couple of days, staying in one of the few very good hotels.