Anafi is on the edge of the Cyclades, with its chief town, Hora (again!) the only essentially urban centre. Here’s where all the excursions to the beaches start from. For example, there’s the nearby Kleisidi, and a bit farther away Katsouni, Mikros Roukounas, Megalos Roukounas, Megas Potamos, Aghii Anargyri and Prasies. These are the main beaches to enjoy, though it’s worth it to visit Kalamos promontory (1,300 feet high) and the monastery of Zoodochos Pigi.
Anafi is located east of Santorini. It is one of the most picturesque small islands of the Cycladic cluster, since it has achieved in maintaining its natural beauty and rich popular tradition intact.
This small island is a beautiful and hospitable shelter for those who seek authentic vacations: Golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters, whitewashed settlements, hospitable people and rich traditions. These are all elements that render this island unique for those who wish calm vacations and a simple way of life.
At an extent of hardly 40 square kilometres, Anafi has an extraordinary large number of natural beauties and sights. The beautiful beaches of the south with golden sand, natural wildness of the steep rocks of the north, paths that are offered for walks, unexplored caves, medicinal sources, the particular architecture of Hora and many archaeological discoveries that are found scattered everywhere, compose the picture of a place that offers unique emotions.
The rocky steep mountain sides that during summer are covered by the Aegean sun, in winter are covered with an evergreen carpet of grass and in spring they get filled with wildflowers in all colorations, while thyme and sage scents fill the air.
Anafi has one and only village, the Hora,which is built on the ruins of a Venetian castle, with whitewashed houses with domes and with narrow cobbled streets, similar with those found in the neighborhood of Anafiotika, located under the Acropolis of Athens. Here, traditional Cycladic architecture unfolds in all its beauty: narrow cobbled streets, white low houses with freshly painted blue windows and domes on the roof (a local architectural trait that insulates the houses from the sun and the wind) and courtyards full of flowers, under the blinding Aegean light. Hora is 3 km away from the harbour of Agios Nikolaos. Between Agios Nikolaos and Hora, on the east, lies Kleisidi, a small settlement with few houses and guest houses.
Visitors can take local fishing boats or even their own sailboat and, if weather allows, circumnavigate the island, or visit the neighbouring islets of Ftena, Paheia (Anafopoulo) and Makria, which have all been declared as regions of particular natural beauty.
Todays Hora is built amphitheatrically, in the centre of the island. It constitutes a formal sample of Cycladic architecture, with white painted one story houses, vaulted doors and whitewashed courtyards. It is built on the ruins of a Venetian castle. A street of 3 km connects it to the little port of Agios Nikolaos. It has 273 residents.
Out of the sights of Hora most are churches: the church of Agios Nikolaos with a wooden carved iconostasis, the Timios Stavros with an icon of 10th century, the Koimisi of Panagia, the Agios Spiridon and the Agioi Anargyroi, exquisite samples of traditionalr architecture, such as the windmills on side of the hill around Hora, that resist for many years the strong winds of the Aegean. The Archaeological Collection of Anafi, that includes statues and other very interesting discoveries from excavations on the island, is found in Hora.
Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi
The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi is built on the ruins of the temple of Apollo. The church of the monastery is built on the foundations of the ancient temple. The grounds of the ancient temple were also used as grounds for the Christian monastery, into which the monk cells and smaller chapels leaned. The central church is a one room temple with a modern belfry at the western facade. On the inside a beautifully painted and wood carved iconostasis from the 19th century is still preserved. Most icons are works of Nikolaos Karavias from the second half of the 19th century. Among them is the precocious icon of Kalamiotissa with its silver decoration.
Monastery of Kalamiotissa
The Monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa (1887) with the church of Zoodochos Pigi, is built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Apollo on the mountain Kalamos. It has rooms for visitors and a lot of holy heirlooms. Pilgrims come with fishing boats on the 8th of September for a large festival under the sounds of the bag pipe, the clarinet, the violin the lute and islander songs. The songs are usually made on the spot, regarding the one that leads the dance each time (usually the anafi syrtos).
At a distance of a duration of roughly one hour from the Kato Moni, on the top of the mountain Kalamos, is the Pano Monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa, that was built in 1715 in the location of a medieval observatory. The view from the monastery is really impressive.
Kalamos is the most appreciable location of the island. Kalamos is considered the second largest monolith in the Mediterranean, after the rock of Gibraltar, with height of 460 m. At its top lies the monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa, which took its name because her picture was found tied up on a cane (kalami). The term Kalamos constitutes a challenge for climbers. The first climbing route in Anafi was opened in 1999 and was named “Argonaut Expedition”.
5-7 hours are needed for the ascent to the top of the mountain where the visitor remains speechless from the view of the immense light blue. The return is done from a well signed path which goes also through the monastery. A boat is required, which you can rent from the harbour (10 minutes sailing).
The southerner vertical wall has shade until noon while the northern and eastern ones on the afternoon. Ideal seasons for climbing are in spring from April to June and in fall, from September to November.
The hill on which the ancient city was located extends to an altitude of 327 metres. Ruins of the asty,the Anafian city-state can be seen there;the city was probably established in the 8th century BC by Dorian colonists, and dominated island life until the end of antiquity.
The city walls ,as well as extensive ruins of the city’s cemetery, can be seen at kastelli.Rich findings from the Roman period, during which the island flourished, are scattered throughout the area; one particularly impressive finding is the sarcophagus located next to the historic chapel of Panagia in Dokari
The religious sentiment of the locals is developed, a devotion that is testified by the eighty churches and chapels found on the island.
The tour to the small islets that surround Anafi can constitute a pleasant adventure. Select one among the following islets, which you can visit by boat or ship: Megali and Mikri Ftena, Pahia or Anafopoulo, Anydros, Pounta of Drapanou.
While the Argonauts returned from Kolchida, crossing the Cretan Sea in order to enter the Aegean, on a dark night without stars or moon, were struck by bad weather. The wild sea and the heavy winds were leading their boat “Argo” to complete destruction, without the Argonauts being able to control it. Jason raised his hands to the sky and asked Apollo to save them. The god threw an arrow in front of them and the Argonauts suddenly saw a small island emerging from the sea where they sought safe moorage. When dawn came they founded an altar in the forest in order to honour Apollo Aigliti for their salvation in the middle of the storm. The island was named Anafi because it rose from the sea (anafanike) and since then the god Apollo was worshipped as Anafaios or Aiglitis.
The ancient residents of the island honoured Apollo each year with a feast that was named Yakintheia.
It is unknown when the ancient city of Anafi was founded.On the “Kasteli” hil however, in the east side of the island, it was very probably inhabited by the Dorians on the 8th century B.C., as was neighbouring Thira. Besides the fact that it was a Dorian colony under Spartan hegemony, it became a member of the Athenian Alliance on the 5th century B.C. and paid an annual tax of 1000 Drachmas.
The Holy Road which led to the temple of Apollo, began from the east side of the city and led to the location where the Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi dedicated to Panagia Kalamiotissa (birth of Virgin Mary) is found today. Parts of the paved road are still visible today. Altars and monuments existed on the side of the road.A characteristic example is the group of old graves near the church of Agios Mamas.
In 1207 A.D. Anafi came under the following French families, the Foskoloi, Gozadinoi, Krispoi and Posanoi.In the Middle Ages, the island belonged to the Duchy of Naxos and was controlled by various Venetian sovereigns, which could not protect it from any piratical raids and with following destructions forcing a lot of residents to move to Crete. In 1537 it was looted by Mbarmbarosa, enslaved by the Turks and was freed together with the rest of the lands.
After the occupation of Anafi by the Ottomans, many of its residents were violently transported to Asia Minor. The residents of Anafi took part in the Revolution of 1821 and the island along with Thira and Astypalaia constituted the province of administration of the Southern Cyclades. Durring the Greek Revolution it is said that locals sent fishing boats with men in order to participate in the fight that was carried out on the continental part of the country. In 1824 at the duration of the revolution,residents were forced to abandon the island and resort to Amorgos. With the treaty of London (18-8-1832) Anafi was officially incorporated to the free Greek State.
At the period of King Otto many residents went to Athens and built on the northern side of Acropolis the district of Anafiotika, which is preserved until today.
Anafi was a place of exile for criminal and political convicts, before the 1920´s. The Italian guard occupied Anafi from 4 May 1941. The first Italians that reached the island came with a boat of the commercial navy, later they were replaced by soldiers and afterwards by police officers. According to local opinion, the Italians were “good lads”, despite that the guard took from the residents supplies that included animals and poultry. Emigrant from the cities returned to the island in order to be rescued from the winter famine 1941-42 and the “Dekembriana” of 1944.
Anafi owes homage today in these people that offered, medical care, knowledge, respect and culture to the island.
Residents of Anafi are distinguished for their politeness and their hospitality and the local kitchen includes local stuffed goat cooked in the traditional wood oven, fresh fish, lobster pasta, rebithokeftedes, gemista, cuttlefishes with fenne,pasta and the local tasty hard cheese and the marvellous thyme honey. On Christmas, housewives make the traditional sugarplum (from honey and almond), On New Years Day, they make bread “zaforisto” (with crocus) which when baked in traditional wood ovens takes an intense yellow colour and has the particular flavour of crocus. On Easter they always serve “melitera”, with the escort of local exceptional raki.
The wedding dinner in Anafi is celebrated with particular splendour where all islanders are invited. The main dish is goat in red sauce with potatoes or spaghetti. Sesame honey and sugarplum – as a separate tasty luxury,are given to guests and newlyweds to gain strength.
Tyropsomo (cheese bread) with crocus from Anafi
The dose is for two (25 – 30cm.) breads
Materials: ½ teaspoon fibres of crocus, 1/4 cup hot water, 2 cups milk, Two packages yeast, 6 big eggs, light struck, ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 cups matured mizithra, cheese grinded in thick pieces or other hard, yellow, sheep’s cheese, 2 teaspoons salt, 4 – 5 cups of flour for the all uses, 4 – 5 cups of flour for bread.
1. Put the crocus in hot water and leave it for 15 min. In the meanwhile, warm the milk (it should not boil) and set in a big bowl. Dissolve the yeast in hot milk and leave it for 15 minutes. Add crocus and the water in which you have soaked it, eggs,oil and immediately afterwards nutmeg, cheese and salt and then mix well.
2. Add 4 cups of flour for all uses and 4 cups of flour for bread in the liquid (with a fluctuation of ½ a cup) and mix with a wooden ladle. Continue blending until the dough takes shape. Remove from the bowl and blend until it becomes more condensed (10 – 15 minutes), adding flour if needed. Put it in a bowl with oil, turn in order for the oil to cover all sides and cover with a towel. Leave it in a warm area, until it doubles in volume (2 hours roughly).
3. Set oil in a big baking pan. Separate the dough in 2 equal balls with diameter of 20 – 25cm. Place them in the two sides of the baking pan or in two separate baking pans. Cover them with a towel and leave them to rise for another 45 minutes. In between, preheat the oven in 190 C. Bake the tyropsoma until they become reddish (50 min). Remove from the oven, leave for a while to cool down and serve.
Gemista or skaltsounia of Anafi
Filo: flour, oil, vinegar, salt.
Filling: 10 cups of sesame, 5 cups of rusk, Cinnamon – clover, nutmeg, orange peel.
Syrup: 8 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, 4 cups of honey.
Roast the sesame until it changes colour, then crush it, add in the rubbed rusk, cinnamon, clover, nutmeg and orange peel. Boil syrup and leave to cool down, then add a mix of sesame, mix well and leave for one whole evening. Open the filo and cut pieces in diameter of 10 cm. Add one spoonful of filling and fold the filo in two. Fry in hot oil and place them on absorbent paper. When they cool down, sprinkle with sugar.
Anafi is connected by ferry throughout the whole year with Santorini, Piraeus and with the rest of the islands of the Cyclades.
Community of Anafi: Tel. 0030 22860 61266
Port Authority Thira (Santorini): Tel. 0030 22860 61216,
Port Authority Piraeus, Tel. 0030 210 4226000-4, 210 4593140, 210 4593150
Information GREEK TELECOME: 1440
For more information: Pan-Hellenic Union of Camping Owners,
Transport takes place with Community buses with many itineraries, rented cars and motorcycles, and with fishing boats that execute regular itineraries towards the most distant beaches. In most areas of the island the transport is done with donkey or by foot.
Rent a car/bike
1)MANOS: Tel.0030 2286061380,0030 2286061280
2)MARGARITA: Tel. 0030 2286061292
POLICE Tel. 0030 22860 61216
PORT AUTHORITY THIRA Tel. 0030 22860 61216
MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY Community of Anafi Tel. 0030 2286061266, Fax 2286061300
CENTRES OF HEALTH Tel. 0030 2286061215
LOCAL TRANSPORT Tel. 0030 2286061266
TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE Tel. 00302286061408, 0030 2286061407
Sources: www.cyclades-tour.gr, www.anafi.gr, Ilias Nokas, magazine Greece.