Jackie’s island

It was on Greece’s Skorpios island that Jackie Onassis was famously photographed naked by a paparazzo. Tight security today makes it difficult to visit.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Jackie Onassis naked

She thought she was safe, far away from the creatures that chased her, armed with their notebooks and cameras. She thought she had found a sanctuary where she could be free from constant fear of an invasion.

So it was here, on the island of Skorpios in the Ionian Sea, that Jackie Onassis slipped out of her clothes and prepared to lay down naked in the Greek sun.


A local paparazzo had found her… and he had caught her without any defences.

The photograph of the former US First Lady in the nude went around the world. The island, Skorpios, was well-known in high society circles already but now its name was being mentioned in supermarkets and hairdressers.

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At the time it was owned by Jackie’s husband, billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Since his death, it has stayed in the family but is very rarely used by any members.

Rumours constantly appear suggesting it is going to be sold to someone like Bill Gates or Madonna, but there never seems to be any truth in them. With an estimated price tag of between 150 and 200 million dollars, it would need to be someone extremely wealthy who would spend so much.

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Skorpios island in Greece

There’s very little infrastructure on the island of Skorpios, although you can tell that it is being looked after.

Pathways along the water’s edge are cleared of vegetation and debris and, despite a large amount of vegetation, nothing is overrun. Over 200 types of plants were apparently brought by Aristotle Onassis to the island, which was quite barren when he first bought it.

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Next to a small sandy beach, the small white building known as Myconos house (and once called “The Pig House”) is closed but looks well-maintained. This was where Jackie’s photo was taken.

There are quite a few boats anchored in the small bay around the Myconos House – including ours. I’m on a sailing trip for a week and we’ve stopped at Skorpios for an afternoon swim as we pass by.

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It’s a beautiful place for a dip and no surprise that it’s popular with the other yachts that come and go while we’re here. You have to assume that the island’s owners and its glamourous past is a large part of the allure, though.

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Being private property, you can’t land and explore Skorpios unfortunately. Although it’s unlikely you would get in anybody’s way – the last census reported just two inhabitants on the island.

Perhaps one day it will change hands and there will be an opportunity for us mere mortals to see more of it. That is, if someone who is willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for a tiny bit of land would be so inclined.

Time Travel Turtle was a guest on Intrepid Travel’s Sail Greece – Ionian Sea trip but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

22 thoughts on “Jackie’s island”

  1. Yes, nice island I guess. Has anyone entertained the idea that Jackie O wanted to be photographed that day? It’s a win win situation…the whole world gets to see her nude but she doesn’t have to be responsible for allowing it to happen. Very early example of publicity in my opinion. If she truly did not want to take the chance of being photographed in the nude, she shouldn’t have been sunbathing in the nude…very logical answer.

    • Interesting theory. I would certainly agree that a lot of the celebs who get caught doing things these days have set the whole thing up for publicity. But I’m not sure what Jackie would’ve got out of it in this situation. If anything, she’d be trying to get less publicity – not more – by this stage of her life. But… who knows, eh?

  2. Technically by law you can land on the island as long as you do not go more than 8 meters into the island from where the winter shoreline is formed. But as experience has shown you will be promptly asked to leave…

  3. I waited and waited when I was in Nassau to see Jackie on Onassis ‘ Yacht but she never appeared. Still exciting to be there at that time.


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