Are you looking for a Greek island totally off the beaten track? Do you need a place where you can hardly see any tourist souvenir shop? How about Anafi island in Cyclades? You have probably not heard about Anafi again, as this is a tiny place with limited tourist development and few visitors arriving mostly in high seasons months. Geographically, Anafi island is located east of Santorini. This is why many visitors prefer to skip the long 16-hour ferry ride from Athens and instead arrive by plane in Santorini and take the two-hour ferry to Anafi from there.
As just mentioned, tourism in Anafi is limited. There are no large hotels in Anafi with pools and luxurious facilities. On this mountainous island in the south of the Aegean Sea, the few visitors can stay in cozy family studios and apartments. Most Anafi hotels are found in Chora, the only village on the island, while some Anafi beach hotels are found at the port as well as the sandy beaches of Klissidi and Roukounas. Located just few steps from the sea, those Anafi beach hotels provide easy access to the shore all day long plus a fantastic environment to unwind from daily stress. Do not be surprised if you meet nobody during your long walks or swims on this island, except from a friendly local maybe.
The only village in Anafi is Chora, beautifully constructed on the slopes of an abrupt hill. Geologically Anafi island has many similarities with Santorini and in fact many spots of Chora in Anafi look like the caldera villages of Santorini, offering the same breathtaking view to the sea. The architecture of Anafi in Greece is Cycladic, with small white houses, flowered yards and narrow stone paths. Most activities and facilities are concentrated in Chora, including the few cozy Anafi hotels, some taverns, a couple of cafeterias and mini-markets.
The port of Anafi is located 3 km from Chora and there is a bus connecting these two main spots on the island. As there are no taxis in Anafi Cyclades, the only way to go around the island is taking the only bus that runs in summer the route from Chora to the port and continues all through the southern side until the Monastery of Zoodochos Pighi, on the far eastern side. Otherwise, visitors can just walk.
In fact, walking is the best way to explore this island with the wild beauty. The most beautiful beaches in Anafi island are found on the southern side, including Klissidi, Agios Nikolaos (the port beach), Roukounas and others. All beaches in Anafi are non-organized. Some Anafi beach hotels are found at Klissidi beach and at the port, but the rest of the beaches are totally secluded.
Swim in: Klissidi, Roukounas and Agios Nikolaos
Place to see: Chora with the traditional architecture; the Monasteries of Zoodochos Pighi and Panagia Kalamiotissa on the far eastern side of the island; the giant rock of Kalamos, a limestone monolith that can be climbed by foot, which is actually the second largest limestone in the Mediterranean Sea after the Gibraltar
Things to do: there is actually little thing to do in Anafi island, than swimming and hiking
For a night out: try a lounge bar in Chora for a drink, but have in mind that it will probably close around midnight; otherwise try a night swim as Anafi is a great place to regain your connection with nature.
The small chapel of Panagia Kalamiotissa is an important religious pilgrimage in Anafi island, Cyclades
The large beach of Roukounas, the most popular beach in Anafi and a frequent spot for free camping
View to the traditional village of Chora, the only village in Anafi Cyclades
The nice beach of Agios Nikolaos is actually the port beach of Anafi island, Greece
Lovely chapel on the hill above Chora, the capital of Anafi island in Cyclades
Chora town in Anafi is built on top of a hill, at an altitude of 260 meters from the sea level
Small countryside chapel in Anafi Greece, one of the most secluded islands of the Aegean Sea
The Monastery of Zoodochos Pighi is located on the south eastern side of Anafi island, Cyclades
Anafi can be reached by ferry from Athens. In summer season, there are ferries to Anafi from Pireaus, the main port of Athens, about 3 times per week. However, as the trip is long (about 16 hours), many visitors actually choose to fly to the close island of Santorini and take the ferry to Anafi from there. The ferry from Santorini to Anafi is about 2 hours long. The airport of Santorini receives frequent internal flights from Athens and many direct flights fro abroad in summer.
Chora is the only village and capital of Anafi island. This settlement is located on top of a hill cliff, about 3 km from the port and at an altitude of 260 meters from the sea level. Chora in Anafi, Cyclades islands, dates from the Medieval times. The oldest quarter are the houses spread around the Venetian Castle, constructed on the highest spot of the hill. As centuries were passing by, the village...
Megalos Roukounas is actually the most popular beach in Anafi island, Cyclades. This is a long beach of about 400 meters, with soft sand and fantastic waters. A nice tavern is found there as well as some Anafi beach hotels in a walking distance from the water. In high season, the beach of Megalos Roukounas in Anafi is a frequent spot for free campers, although free camping is officially not allowed...
Agios Nikolaos is actually the port beach of Anafi island. This is a nice sandy beach located right next to the main port, whose settlement has few inhabitants only in summer. The beach of Agios Nikolaos is connected to Chora village by bus through an asphalt road. The beach is not organized but has few taverns and Anafi beach hotels on the above hill. If you are looking for a relatively central place...