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At first, you were a little suspicious of this little-known town, its fresh rustic atmosphere, and quiet tourists-less streets. You heard the whispers, and still, it wasn’t always so clear that this elusive Mediterranean resort would become your go-to summer vacation destination. But you wouldn’t be the first, nor the last, to fall for the irresistible beauty of a waterfront villa in Porto Heli, Greece.

Private paradise

On the Argolic Gulf, amid the rugged charms of the Peloponnese landscape in the Argolida region, a sleepy fishing village has been awakened. Some say Porto Heli is the new St. Tropez, before the movies; others think of it as a cosmopolitan hangout, a harbor for the discreet luxury connoisseur. But when even the locals are calling this “Heli” a paradise on earth, you get the impression that it’s the real deal.

Once Greece’s best kept secret and although it has yet to be officially discovered by the masses of tourists, Porto Heli has been slow to make a showy grand debut. Guarded to an extent from the outside world, this luxurious seaside resort specializes in prestigious waterfront villas, extravagant mansions, sprawling palatial estates, and luxury hotels that are scattered among a coastal terrain of coves, golden bays, and hilltops overlooking lush olive groves and crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

Luxury developers have begun to take notice. Most notably, the amazing Amanzoe hotel, by the highly-esteemed Aman Resorts, is set on a hill overlooking a mythical scenery. Likewise, luxury real estate is rising to follow suit. Exceptional residential properties are built with gardens and outdoor spaces boasting sublime sea views as an extension of the surrounding natural beauty. This offers a sense of calm so virtuous that is has seduced many noble names from around the world, among which – and this is no exaggeration – are kings and queens, princes and princesses, and Greece’s most rich and famous to buy a summer home in Porto Heli. Due to this high concentration of wealth, Vanity Fair magazine has referred to it as the “Southampton of Greece” – and rightly so.

Spend your days in bliss

To buy a residence in Porto Heli is to benefit from an ideal geographic situation, which is perhaps its greatest gift. The weather is on average warmer than other areas in Greece, making its idyllic and intimate beaches all the more welcoming. Porto Heli is also protected from unwelcomed winds. Because of this, boating has become its unofficial-official sport, evident by the beautiful marinas docked with enormous sailboats, kaikis (the Greek term for a traditional wooden vessel), and, of course, Rivas. Take the whole crew out to sea and explore the many gulfs in the region. Tip: Don’t be afraid to jump in, the water is warm!

For the discerning gourmand and locavore, Porto Heli’s streets are full of authentic character and upscale tavernas specializing in fresh fish and local cuisine, using products straight from the rich agricultural region of Argolida. Here’s a little secret: Take an afternoon to visit the nearby town of Kranidi, its colorful roofs, narrow streets lined with flowers, and charming harbor selling the most delicious prawns in the land.  

Shoppers, rejoice! Although it has yet to open its arms to major brands and chain stores, Porto Heli does have an assortment of antique shops with rare vintage gems that exhibit the island’s unique cultural heritage – safe to say, you won’t find them anywhere else in the world. Porto Heli surprises when you least expect, even when it comes to nightlife. Nikki Beach, a spa-resort popular with the younger crowd, has you covered.

To make matters better, the resort is ideally located. With the capital city of Athens just a 25-minute helicopter ride away or a 3-hour ferry trip (though far less glamorous), and the famous Saronic Islands of Hydra, Paros, and Spetses a hop, skip, and jump across a narrow strait via yacht, Porto Heli has become a complete-package destination where the simple pleasures of life can be enjoyed without end.

You’ve found a paradise within paradise. Make it your secondary home by buying a beautiful villa in Porto Heli.