Anafi (which means without snakes) is a quiet, unspoiled island of the Cyclades group located easterly of Santorini. Mass tourism hasn't hit Anafi yet unlike its volcanic sister Santorini so don't expect vibrant nightlife if you go there. If you are after a laid-back holiday Anafi might be the place to go. According to a legend, Anafi was created by ancient god Apollo as a gift to Jason and the Argonauts.
The usual way to get to Anafi is to take a ferry from Santorini. There are daily connections in high season and at least one every two days in low and mid season. Ferry schedules are highly unreliable (delays of two hours and more are very common) so don't go to Anafi if you are on a tight schedule, e.g., if you have to catch a plane. Ferry tickets are around €7 one-way. It takes about 2–3 hours depending on weather conditions.
Ferries from Santorini to Anafi (year 2007, local Greek time):
- Every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:20AM leaves the Romilda ferry GA Ferries . This ferry cames from Pireaus and links eastern Cyclades islands. Romilda gets very crowded in the summer.
- Every Tuesday at 6:25PM leaves the Panagia Tinou ferry NEL coming from Lavrio (Attica).
- Every Wednesday at 4PM leaves the Arsinoe ferry Saos
- Every Thursday and Saturday at 5PM leaves the Arsinoe ferry Saos
- Every Saturday at 8:50PM leaves the Panagia Tinou ferry NEL.
Anafi has only one village (Hora) and a few houses located around the island's port. The port and the village are connected by a road. Buses from the port to the village operate twice per day. (morning/afternoon) You can get to Hora on a scenic footpath (starting at the port) as well. (1 1/2 hour) Further roads connect Hora with the east and the west of the island. Anafi is quite mountainous and numerous footpaths link all places (especially the beaches). There is also the possibility to rent motorbikes in Hora to get around the island. A good place to do so is Moto rent Margarita (Tel.22860 61292) which has bikes for €12 daily. Anafi has only one petrol station (500m east of Hora, just follow the road to the port) which is only open in the afternoon, so make sure you have enough petrol left when starting your explorations.
Anafi is mainly a place for recreation, not a place to do sightseeing, so there is not much to see except:
- Monastery Zoodchou Pigis, located in the east of the island. A beautiful little monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Hora and the monastery are linked by a road (about 9 km). Just leave Hora to the east and follow the street signs. Take care of proper clothing when entering the monastery.
- Kastelli, an ancient settlement located on the way to the monastery. (There is a sign on the left sign of the road). There are only ruins left today which might not be very interesting, but the site has nice views on the sea.
Besides fantastic walks on the numerous footpaths Anafi has excellent beaches. Some of them are:
- Klisídi - located east of the port (about 20min on foot). Fine, soft sand. Has a little snack bar and a few rooms to let.
- Katsóuni - located next to Klisidi. You'll find a couple of wild campers here.
- Megalos Roukóunas - is probably the best beach on Anafi. about 500m long, has a snack bar. There is a sign saying Private area when you follow the footpath from the road down to the beach which might be confusing. But this sign should prevent people from taking cars and motor bikes to the beach.
There is a mini-market at the port (which seems to have closed at the time of writing), two general stores, a bacery and a small souvenir shop (mainly selling hats, T-shirts and postcards) in Hora. Be prepared that opening times are limited at least in mid and low season.
Hora has a couple of Greek taverns. If you don't like Greek food, Anafi is definitely not the place to go, although those taverns serve pizza and pasta as well.
- Alexandras Place, close to the main square, this tavern has nice sea views and serves delicious fish. It serves breakfast as well.
- Margaritas Restaurant. On Klisidi beach, Greek homemade food and homemade bread. The view from the balcony is something unique.
In Klisidi Beach is located a rock bar, Madres Bar, which stays open until dawn.
Unlike the other islands within the Cyclade group, Anafi has no campsites. Though many people just camp out on one of the beaches, this is generally forbidden by law, though the people living on Anafi seem to have a quite relaxed attitude towards this.
- Villa Apollon, ☎ +30 22860 61348. Located close to Klindisi beach (about 250m). Has five rooms and two studios. Prices range from €30 to €70 euro depending on the time of year and the type of the room.
- Flora's, ☎ +30 22860 61356. The rooms are in the centre of Anafi, with unlimited and unobstructed view to the port and to the mountain of Virgin Kalamiotisa.
Keep in mind that nudism and wild camping are frowned upon in Greece. Though you might see campers on Anafi, keep in mind that it's forbidden to camp in any place on the island.