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Onassis's island, and future VIP resort

Skorpios island, Ionian Islands, Greece.

Back in the late 1960s or early 19702, if you were to ask the average American to name a Greek island, it would probably be this one: the private island of Aristotle Onassis, where he wed Jackie Kennedy in October 1968 and where Jackie O. was famously photographed in the buff on the beach by an Italian paparazzo in a speed boat.

Onassis had purchased what was a barren waterless islet off Nydri in Lefkáda in 1963, costing the equivalent of about $11,000 in today’s money. He brought sand from Salamína to create beaches, and purchased the adjacent islet of Spárti for its spring to supply water, built a dock for his mega yacht, the Christina O, and planted 200 different kinds of trees; today the islet is incredibly lush. Here the tycoon hosted VIPS (and his true love, Maria Callas), paying off the inhabitants of Nídri to help maintain his privacy.


After Onassis’s death, the island passed to his daughter Christina, and then in turn to her daughter Athina Onassis Roussel. Onassis, along with his son Alexander, and his daughter Christina, are all buried on Skorpios. Although Aristotle’s will specified that the island should stay in the family or pass on to Olympic Airways if the line died out, Athina sold Skórpios and Spárti in 2013 to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, daughter of Russian magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $153m, who has received planning permission to build a €165m VIP resort on the island, espected to open in summer 2024.


Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Natascha, Tomisti