Touring in the Cyclades islands: Anafi

Anafi island - S. LambadaridisAnafi island, Cyclades, Greece – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

2nd stop: Anafi

Anafi island lies east of the island of Santorini (Thira) and is part of the Thira region. In 2001, it had a population of 273 inhabitants.

Map of Anafi island, Cyclades, Greece - Click to enlargeCoordinates: 36°22′N 25°47′E

There are different explanations to the name giving of the island. According to mythology, the island was given the name Anafi because it emerged from the depths of the sea to give refuge to the Argonauts from a bad storm. Others say that the name is due to the non-existence of snakes on the island: “An Ofis” (without snakes). In spite of its small geographical size, Anafi offers archaeological as well as mythological interest. At the monastery of Panagia Kalamiotisa, there are ruins of a temple built as an offering to the god Apollo Aegletus. Ruins can also be found at Kasteli, and most of the findings, such as the statues, are now located at the Archaeological Museum in Chora, in an very small room housing these ancient findings.

View of Chora, Anafi - Photo by S. LambadaridisStreet in Chora, Anafi - Photo by S. LambadaridisAnafi hillside, Cyclades, GreeceAnafi island, Cyclades, Greece - Photo by Sotiris LambadaridisPhotos above are by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Anafi is an island perfect for walking or hiking. Through the old paths and around the steep hills, you can walk to the other side of the island. The most popular beaches are Klisidi and Roukounas. The peninsula at the eastern end of the island is dominated by a monolithic peak, Mount Kalamos, which is among the largest in the Mediterranean at 420 m. Perched atop this massif is the Kalamiotissa church, largly rebuilt after an earthquake in the 1950s. The travel to and from Anafi can be done only by boat, and since there are several destinations on the way, it takes almost 19 hours from Piraeus.

Beach on Anafi island, Cyclades, Greece - Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Beach on Anafi island, Cyclades, Greece – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Anafi and Santorini are the only places in Europe with hot desert climates according to the Köppen climate classification system.

Things to see

Kastelli: The hill on which the ancient city was located extends to an altitude of 327 metres. Ruins of the Anafian city-state can be seen there; the city was probably established in the 8th century BC by Dorian colonists, and dominated life on the island 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 sto Dokari.

Monastery of Zoodochos Pifi: Also known as Panagia Kalamiotissa is located over the narrow isthmus separating the main island from the Kalamos peninsula.

It is built over the eminent ancient temple of Apollo Aeglitis, which was linked to the city-state by the paved Iera Odos (sections of which can still be seen today). Quite high sections of the walls of the temple itself and its enclosure have been preserved, and incorporated into the enclosure of the modern-day Monastery.

The Monastery has functioned as a pilgrimage since the times of Turkish rule, and is well-known both within and outside Anafi. The island’s most important religious feast takes place there on September 7th-8th.

Kalamos: The tall monolithic rock, inaccessible by sea and hard to reach by land, forms a unique natural monument for the island. It is host to rare species of flora and has some impressive geo-morphological features. The rock was inhabited, on an occasional basis at least, in Medieval times, as a refuge from the island’s numerous invaders.

Its highest peak hosts the now-abandoned old Kalamiotissa Monastery. It is a single-room domed temple with interesting architectural features, surrounded by a few monastic cells and a small water reservoir. Its location and the view inspire an indescribable sense of awe in all visitors.

Things to do

hikingHiking/walking: Anafi is an ideal destination for explorer-travellers, who will meet the challenge of discovering unknown facets of the Anafian countryside, through an extensive network of selected footpaths. This network, with an overall length of 18 kilometres, covers most of the island and forms the Footpaths of Historical and Cultural Interest, which cross sites or lead to destinations that have a special historical-cultural or environmental significance.

There are several routes: Read more…

Events: Every August, the authorities of the island organize:

  • Swimming races in the port
  • Folk art and photography exhibitions in Chora
  • Traditional island feast in the Chora square


Photos of Villa Kalamiotissa, Anafi
This photo of Villa Kalamiotissa is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Villa Kalamiotissa
Periferiakos, Anafi 84009, Cyclades, Greece
Tel. and Fax: (+30) 22860 61415
Mobile: (+30) 69775 83827
Hotel website  Email:

Ta Plagia B&B
Anafi 84009 – Cyclades, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22860 61308, Fax: (+30) 22860 61372
Hotel website

Photos of Pension-Hotel Pelagos, Anafi
This photo of Pension-Hotel Pelagos is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Pension-Hotel Pelagos
Kissiropi-Chora, Anafi 84009, Cyclades, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22860 61240, Fax: (+30) 22860 61238


External links

Anafi official website

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