Nidri to Meganisi via Skorpios – Ionian Islands

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Scorpios Island: A Jewel of the Ionian Sea

Nestled in the azure waters of the Ionian Sea, Scorpios Island is a small, yet historically rich landmass off the western coast of Greece. This private island, covering just about 80 hectares, has captured global attention through its storied past and its association with the famous Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis.

Ancient and Medieval Periods

The history of Scorpios dates back to ancient times, though it was relatively obscure in historical records. The Ionian Islands, including Scorpios, were known to be part of various Greek city-states and later came under Roman control. The island’s strategic location in the Ionian Sea meant it likely saw the passage of many ships and traders over the centuries, though it remained largely uninhabited and undeveloped.

During the Byzantine era and the subsequent period of Venetian rule in the region, Scorpios continued to be a quiet, unremarkable island. The Venetians controlled many of the Ionian Islands from the 14th to the 18th centuries, and it is likely that Scorpios was used primarily for grazing and small-scale agriculture by local inhabitants from nearby islands.

The Onassis Era

The modern history of Scorpios began in 1962 when Aristotle Onassis, one of the wealthiest men in the world at the time, purchased the island for a mere 3.5 million drachmas (approximately $15,000 at that time). Onassis transformed Scorpios into a private paradise, investing heavily in its development. He imported sand from the island of Salamis to create beautiful beaches and planted thousands of trees to enhance its natural beauty.

Onassis’s vision for Scorpios was to create a retreat for himself and his family, and it quickly became a symbol of his immense wealth and influence. The island featured luxurious villas, lush gardens, and modern amenities, making it one of the most exclusive private residences in the world. Onassis hosted many illustrious guests, including world leaders, celebrities, and royalty. One of the most famous events held on the island was the wedding of Onassis to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in 1968. This event drew significant media attention and further cemented Scorpios’ status as a place of opulence and exclusivity.

Legacy and Modern Developments

After Onassis’s death in 1975, Scorpios was inherited by his daughter, Christina Onassis, and later by his granddaughter, Athina Onassis. The island remained largely private and closed to the public, with only occasional visits by the Onassis family and their guests. Over time, maintaining the island became a burden, and it saw less frequent use.

In 2013, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev acquired Scorpios from Athina Onassis. Rybolovlev announced plans to develop the island into a luxury resort, blending the island’s natural beauty with high-end accommodations and amenities. This new chapter in Scorpios’ history aims to transform it from a secluded private retreat into an exclusive destination for the world’s elite, while preserving the legacy of its famous past.


Scorpios Island, with its blend of historical obscurity and modern glamour, remains a unique jewel in the Ionian Sea. From its ancient roots to its transformation under Aristotle Onassis, and its future as a luxury resort under new ownership, Scorpios continues to captivate the imagination of those who seek a glimpse into the life of the wealthy and powerful. Its serene landscapes and storied past make it a timeless icon of luxury and exclusivity.

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