Touring in the Cyclades islands: Antiparos

Panderonisia, Antiparos is surrounded by small islands and islets, Cyclades, Greece4th stop: Antiparos

Antiparos (ancient name: Oliaros) is a small inhabited island in the southern Aegean, at the heart of the Cyclades, which is less than one nautical mile (1.9 km) from Paros, the port to which it is connected with a local ferry. Saliangos island is the most ancient settlement in the Cyclades, and Despotiko, an uninhabited island in the southwest of Antiparos, is a place of great archaeological importance.

Panorama of Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceAntiparos market, Cyclades, GreeceAntiparos stores by night, Cyclades, GreeceAntiparos street, Cyclades, GreeceAntiparos, traditional cafes, Cyclades, Greece

The island’s economy is based on tourism, fishing, farming and less on agriculture in the plains. It is known for its distinctive Cycladic beauty with white houses, cobbled streets and beautiful flowers that thrive in the yards. It is a popular tourist resort in the summer for Greeks and European visitors, as well as land investors from the United States.

Antiparos habour, Cyclades, Greece Boats in Agia Marina, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceFishing boats on Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceBeach on Antiparos, Cyclades, Greece

The main settlement lies at the northeastern tip of the island with Pounda on the other side of the channel on Paros, where a ferry sails for Antiparos harbour. The historical centre is located in the Venetian castle of Antiparos, which is connected through the shopping streets in the picturesque coastal street. Other settlements are the famous resort of St. George on the southwest edge. Popular beaches on the island are: Soros, Glyfa, Apantima, Monastiria, Psaralyki, Sifneiko, Ag. Spiridon and the camping beach.

The castle gate, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceView of the castle, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceThe base of the central tower of the castle, known as «Τhe House of the Prince», Antiparos, Greece

The island of Antiparos is located in the heart of the Cyclades in the south Aegean, 0.8 nautical miles southwest of Paros. The ferry port abstains from the the main port of Parikia by 4.8 nautical miles. In the past, Antiparos was united with Paros; now it is separated from it by the Strait of Antiparos, known as Amfigeio, 500-1000 m wide and 4.5 m deep. The maximum length of the island is 7 miles in a direction North-south, while the maximum width reaches 2.8 miles.

Antiparos is a volcanic rock, with a dry climate and high humidity, and the morphology favors the development of strong winds. The flowers which thrive in the region are mainly bougainvillea that adorn the gardens, houses and shops. The morphology of Antiparos is essentially flat, with many small hilly peaks, while the vegetation of the island is low.

Revmatonisi, private island of the Goulandris family, near Antiparos, GreeceView from Agios Georgios on Antiparos towards Panagia on Despotiko with two seals jumping in the water of Despotiko Bay, 2008Antiparos seen from the ferry, Cyclades, Greece

The island of Antiparos is surrounded by many small uninhabited islands with great historical and archaeological interest, such as Kimitiri, Strongylo, the Diplo, Kavoura, Revmatonisi, and the Red and Black Tourlos. Particularly well known internationally  is Despotiko, an uninhabited island west of Antiparos, which in recent years carried out excavations of great archaeological value.

Archaeological finds

Exhibits at the local museum, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceThe Isle of Despotiko is identified with ancient Prepesintho, according to the writings of Strabo and Pliny. The first excavations at Despotiko made in 1889 by Christos Tsountas revealed Cycladic cemeteries. In 1959 Nikos Zafiropoulos began excavations at Zoumparia and Mantra, on the northeast coast, where they were architectural Doric temple from the ancient times, dating to 500 BC.

The 1997 excavations at Mantra by archaeologist Giannos Couragio, brought to light a large portion of the auxiliary space of a sanctuary. The findings of the excavation include an elongated complex, consisting of five consecutive parallel rooms. In the southern room important findings identified to be of archaic materials East-Ionian, Rhodian, Cypriot and Egyptian origin.

Saliangos islet

Saliangos islet, Cyclades, GreeceSaliangos is a tiny island on which an archaeological site was discovered (by the same name) and which might be the oldest settlement in the Cyclades. The islet is not even 500 m² and is in the northern cluster of Antiparos islands, north of the small strait between Paros and Antiparos. In antiquity and up to Byzantine times the sea level was lower and more land was above sea level.

The settlement was discovered in 1964-1965 by British archaeologists of the Archaeological Institute in Athens and excavations were conducted and an archaeological study was undertaken. The settlement dates back to Neolithic times and in accordance with the method of radiocarbon it was inhabited between 4300 – 3700 BC.
In the ruins of the ancient village a large number of ceramic fragments was found. Nearly 3.5 tons of ceramic material was studied by archaeologists, who managed to assemble 60 clay pots and utensils in whole or in part.

The culture of the village on Saliangos islet is unique and an isolated example in the Neolithic era. In the surrounding areas there has not been found similar settlements, nor does it seem that the traditions of this settlement have been disseminated in the subsequent seasons.

On the nearby islands only little evidence of human activity has been found, eg. a few ceramics on Naxos. Saliangos is the only island in the Aegean practicing farming in those times.

The cave of Antiparos

Cave entrance, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceThe church of Saint John Spiliotis, Antiparos, Cyclades, GreeceAntiparos caveAt the center of the island at the foot of the mountain of Antiparos is the famous Cave of Antiparos to be found. It is one of the most beautiful and mysterious caves in the world. The area of the cave was useed as a natural shelter from the Neolithic period and onwards. The place was also used for pottery and for worshipping of the goddess Artemis. At the entrance of the site a simple but charming church of Agios Ioannis Spiliotis was erected.
During the German occupation a part of the cave was destroyed. One of the oldest references to the historic cave is that of the poet Archilochus of Paros in the 7th century BC. Signs and scratches on the stalactites and stalagmites attest to the passers, as the inscription on the altar of the generals of Alexander the Great and King Otto.
The cave was fully exploited in the second part of the 20th century with funds from the CSF by erecting barriers, building adequate steps, together with installation of lighting, security cameras and loudspeakers to inform visitors.

Things to do

diving in GreeceDiving: Blue Island Divers invite you to dive and explore the idyllic island of Antiparos.

Here you will enjoy diving into a colorful underwater world, discovering hidden treasures and experiencing the endless blue. The island is well known for its golden beaches, crystal clear waters, friendly atmosphere and rich marine life.

Blue Island Divers
Antiparos 84007, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22840 61767 Mobil: (+30) 6983159452
Website  Email: info@blueisland-divers.gr

Dolphin Sky – Scuba diving in Antiparos
Tel: (+30) 22840 61640, Fax: (+30) 22840 61374
Website  Email: info@dolphinsky.gr

windsurfingWind & Kitesurfing: Even though there are good conditions for both wind- and kite surfing in Antiparos there are no organized clubs on the island. You don’t have to go far to find them – just hop cross  to Pounda on Paros right in front of the village of Antiparos and you’ll find two such clubs.

Paroskite Kiteboarding Center
Kiteboard & Windsurfing center, Paros Surf Shop
George Georgoudakis (Centre owner)
Pounda Parikia, 84400 Paros Island, Cyclades, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22840 93018, (+30) 69770 03855
Skype: Paroskite
www.paroskite.gr  E-mail: info@paroskite.gr

Accommodation

Sunset Deseo
Sifneikos Gialos, Antiparos 84007, Cyclades, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22840 61719
Hotel Website  Email: info@sunsetdeseo.com

Aego Inn – studio & apartments
Psaraliki, Antiparos 84007, Cyclades, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22840 61387, (+30) 69797 11855, 69830 68040
Info Website

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