Silver Travel Book Club

February 2023 – Taverna by the Sea: Our Greek Island Summer

We’ll explore a different destination for each Book Club, and a lucky Silver Travel Book Club reader can win a free copy of that month’s book.

This month the Silver Travel Book Club is reading Taverna by the Sea: Our Greek Island Summer by Jennifer Barclay.

If you’ve ever been tempted by a Shirley Valentine moment for real, this book is for you! Jennifer tells the tale of her initial short trip to see the traditional mountain village of Olympos, with walking and swimming on the way. Add in a fish taverna, pretty olive grove and an idyllic beach in the wilds of North Karpathos, between Rhodes and Crete, plus a Greek-American man called Minas, and the scene is set.


Definitely one of our favourite places for a holiday, whether staying in a tucked-away luxurious villa,  an all-inclusive five-star hotel on the beach or sailing around the islands on a crewed mega-yacht, Greece is captivating. Islands on which you can find the perfect empty beach, fascinating ancient ruins waiting to be explored, relaxed restaurants where the food is sensationally fresh and local, mountains to hike up, coastal roads to cycle along and a laid back atmosphere where rushing is almost outlawed!

How to win a copy of Taverna by the Sea: Our Greek Island Summer by Jennifer Barclay

Taverna by the Sea: Our Greek Island Summer describes a summer Jennifer spent living her unexpected dream. Comment below to tell us where you’d like to go in Greece and what you’d do for a summer there.

A winner will be chosen at random in early March 2023.
The competition closes on 28 February 2023.

Read more about all our Silver Travel Book Club reads.

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17 Responses

  1. I would choose Arillas in North-west Corfu. It’s somewhere I’ve reviewed and a place my husband and I love to return to, but we’ve only ever been for a week. I love the wildlife, swimming in the sea, walking in the surrounding countryside, the delicious food – particularly the fresh fish caught by the local fisherman and cooked in his taverna – and the friendly local people. It’s traditional but there’s a website to keep everyone informed of what’s going on. In the middle of summer it might be too hot for me to do much as we usually go in late May/June so I would have to get up early to walk to collect freshly baked bread from the bakery, have another walk before it gets too hot, go for a dip in the sea, have a light lunch, sit in the shade and read and have a lovely dinner. I would also have time to do lots of sketching, painting or taking photos and maybe start writing a book about my childhood.

  2. It would have to be Symi. Getting the ferry from Rhodes to Symi is always something to look forward to. The coast line looks barren with crags and goats high in the hills. But turning the corner – an amazing vista opens up. Colourful houses tumble down to the harbour, flowers are abundant and joy seems shout its presence. I would spend the summer in an isolated bay. Swimming every day in the mineral rich Agean and spending every hour out in nature connecting to the earth. I would paint and eat the simple Greek food and return feeling deeply healthy!

    1. Symi is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Went there for a day from Rhodes when I was in my 20’s and vowed to return – which I eventually did for a fortnight in my 50’s! Wonderful!

  3. One place I would like to visit the Arkadi monastery in Crete, which is 16 century building with a history of events of 1866 were there was a severe war and many people took refuge in the Greek Orthodox Church . After wards I want to visit Rethymnon which I hear has many old buildings dating from the 16 century. At the moment it is just a dream

    1. Rethymnon is beautiful though I was shocked to see how much more touristy it was on our second visit compared to the first a decade previously. Chania is well worth visiting too

  4. A summer in Greece. What would I do? I would sail in the wonderful Mediterranean around the coast of Greece. Stopping at the islands for a glass of chilled white wine while looking over a pristine beach out to my sail boat. Then a meal in a little taverna, meze, dolmades, moussaka, and delicious honey deserts. Then into the dingy and back to the boat for a good nights sleep as the sea gently rocks me.
    And the next day, up with the sun to explore another island, another stretch of coast land and an ancient temple along the way. Perfect.

  5. Although Symi is my favourite place (so far!) in Greece I would love to return to Parga as a fortnight’s holiday there was disrupted by a very nasty stomach bug that laid me low for a week. I’d return to Meteora (truly spellbinding place!) and the Zagoria gorge. I’d also visit Corfu, Paxos and Albania all within a couple of hours of Parga!

  6. This Summer I have the opportunity to take Resilient Lady out of Piraeus stopping at Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Bodrum. One of my original To Do list has been Santorini so it is a major tick for me. Always been a Geology nerd/ geek so the Caldera will be interesting. Blue roofs and white buildings, can’t wait. To see the sun setting would be magical as we sail away with Champagne in hand. Not so sure about Mykonos as it is an overnight stop. I am not a party animal so a quiet bar on the waterfront will do me. Must remember Turkish Lira for Bodrum, a change from Chania, Crete although now it might be changed again, we are waiting to hear. I might need to do a bit of homework on Rhodes.

  7. I still have Santorini on my list to visit – so will have to say there – picture perfect.

    I love Greek food and could graze all day!

  8. The beauty of Greece is island hopping and I’d love to visit the islands which are a little more off the tourist trail like Fourni, Chios and Ikaria.

    1. Yes, island hopping is a good idea. My husband and I met later in life and for our `honeymoon`, or more accurately the holiday we took before we got married, my husband wanted to take me island hopping around the Cyclades. He booked a couple of nights in a taverna he’d once stayed at on Sifnos, flights to Athens and ferry tickets to Sifnos with a view to us moving on to neighbouring Serifos and then wherever else we fancied after that. However, I thought Serifos looked barren and enjoyed Sifnos so much that we stayed there for the whole holiday. While waiting at Piraeus for the ferry an elderly Greek man said to my husband `you’re a doctor – you look like a doctor` so `trust me – I look like a doctor` has become his little joke.

  9. Rhodes. I’d mix it up with historical days out followed by lazy days on the beach – pure bliss.

  10. I would love to go , fallen in love with Greece but never travelled , the people the places and oh the views …. Each book I read I feel I have lost a bit of my heart in Greece. My mum would talk about always doing a Shirley valentine and escape to the island of Greece and just loose yourself in the simplicity and beauty of Greece so one day I will visit but alas I have to loose myself in the books

  11. It would have to be Stoupa on the Mani.
    A beautiful village with many superb tavernas by the sea !!!
    Unspoilt because the journey from Kalamata airport takes an hour and a half through mountain villages and wonderful scenery

  12. Oh! Must read this book! I have been tempted to have a Shirley Valentine moment many times in my life, but somehow its never happened. Add to that the Durrell’s! and Captain Corelli!. I must be seriously missing out!!

    I would be very interested in receiving information about your holidays for a chance to fulfil my dreams!!

  13. Oh, yes please 🙂 A few years ago I had a mini Shirley Valentine moment when I had a solo lunch at the end of a small jetty over the water in a deserted little town in Paros. Such a pretty island, warm seas with tiny fish swimming in the bays. Beautiful beaches, wonderful food in the local tavernas and such kind, interesting local people. This would be wonderful place to spend a summer in and explore some of the smaller islands from there.

  14. I would love to go to Skyros – plenty to see on the island including the pretty Skyrian ponies, old buildings, and the grave of the poet Rupert Brooke. Then, on the coast, the chance of spotting dolphins, Mediterranean monk seals and some rare seabirds. Plus quiet beaches where I could rest and lose myself in a great book.

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