Information about the island of Anafi

Anafi, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Cyclades , Anafi stands as a humble island, far removed from the relentless pace of modern development. This enchanting Greek island offers a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist hotspots, where visitors can immerse themselves in natural beauty, rich history, and a laid-back island lifestyle.

Despite its small size, Anafi captivates the hearts of those seeking a genuine Greek island experience, boasting breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and a captivating charm that sets it apart from its more popular neighbors.

Anafi is gradually carving out its place in the tourism realm. Today, it offers all the necessary amenities for travelers who arrive not merely as tourists, but rather as discerning adventurers, embodying the spirit of old-world explorers. They delve into this untouched and ethereal locale, continually uncovering its mysteries on both land and sea.

For avid hikers, Anafi is an idyllic destination, boasting numerous easily accessible trails. These paths lead to captivating sites, such as the Ancient City of Kasteli, the tallest mountain on Anafi, Vigla, and a trail connecting the island’s Ancient City to the Sanctuary of Apollo, now known as the monastery. Moreover, these paths also guide visitors to the island’s exquisite sandy beaches and secluded coves, such as Katsouni, Flamourou, and Agioi Anargyrou.

The island’s crown jewel is the towering rock perched on the edge of Kalamos, a haven for climbing enthusiasts. Anafi’s pristine, crystal-clear waters are a diver’s paradise, teeming with a diverse array of marine life, offering glimpses into the underwater kingdom.


Anafi in Greek mythology

anafi-mythologyAccording to mythology, Anafi suddenly “jumped up” from the depths of the sea in order to be the refuge of the seasick Argonauts, when they were returning from Colchis. The Argonauts, crossing the Cretan Sea to enter the Aegean, ran into severe bad weather. The wild sea and strong winds were driving the Argo to disaster. Then Jason raised his hands to heaven and begged Apollo to save them.

The god shot an arrow in front of them and through a strong flash a small island began to appear, where they found refuge. The island was named Anafi because it appeared in the sea and since then the god was worshiped as Anafaios or Aigletis.

History of the island

Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of early Bronze Age (around 3,000-2,000 BCE) Cycladic civilization on Anafi. This period is known for its iconic Cycladic figurines – small, usually white, marble statuettes.

During the Classical era (5th-4th centuries BCE), Anafi, like many of the Cycladic islands, came under the influence of Athens, contributing ships and men to the Athenian-led Delian League in the Persian Wars. Later, the island fell under the control of the Roman Empire, followed by the Byzantine Empire.

The Byzantine era was a period of decline for many of the smaller Aegean islands, including Anafi. It was during this time, particularly during the 8th and 9th centuries, that the island was often subjected to pirate raids.

The island was conquered by the Venetians in the 13th century during the Fourth Crusade and the fall of the Byzantine Empire. The Venetian influence is evident in the architecture of the island’s capital, Chora, which includes several buildings typical of Venetian Cycladic architecture.

In the 16th century, Anafi, like many other Aegean islands, fell to the Ottomans. It remained under Ottoman rule until the 19th century, when it joined the newly formed Greek state during the Greek War of Independence.

In the 20th century, Anafi experienced significant emigration, mainly to Athens and other urban centers, leading to a decline in population. Today, it is a quiet and less touristy alternative to the busier islands in the Cyclades.


anafi-locationAnafi lies to the east of Santorini and is situated about 155 kilometers southeast of Athens, the capital of Greece.
The island covers an area of approximately 38 square kilometers, making it one of the smaller islands in the Cyclades.

The island is characterized by its rugged and mountainous terrain. The highest peak on the island is Mount Kalamos, reaching an elevation of 584 meters. The landscape is adorned with cliffs, deep valleys, and picturesque beaches.

The main settlement on the island is Chora, which is situated on the slopes of a hill. Chora showcases traditional Cycladic architecture with whitewashed houses, narrow alleyways, and stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

Weather in Anafi

The island experiences a Mediterranean climate, characterized by low to moderate humidity levels. The sea temperature during the summer months is typically between 23°C and 25°C, making it ideal for swimming and water activities.

From June to August, Anafi generally enjoys warm to hot temperatures, with average highs ranging from 28°C to 32°C. It is not uncommon for temperatures to exceed 35°C during heatwaves. The evenings are usually pleasant, with temperatures cooling down to around 22°C to 25°C.

Anafi, like other Greek islands, also sees a relatively low amount of rainfall during the summer season. However, it’s worth noting that weather patterns can vary, and occasional showers or thunderstorms can occur.


Tourism is the primary economic activity on the island. Anafi’s natural beauty, serene environment, and charming villages attract visitors who seek a quieter alternative to the more crowded tourist destinations in the Cyclades. Accommodation options include hotels, rooms to rent, and guesthouses.

Although the island’s terrain is challenging for agriculture due to its rocky landscape, Anafi has some agricultural activity. Local farmers cultivate olives, grapes, figs, and some vegetables, providing fresh produce for the island’s residents and visitors.

Fishing also plays a role in the local economy. Fishermen catch various types of fish and seafood, supplying the island’s restaurants and markets.

Anafi has a long tradition of producing handmade items such as woven textiles, pottery, and woodcraft. These crafts contribute to the local economy through sales to tourists and other markets.

What to see in Anafi


anafi-choraApproaching Anafi, the visitor comes into contact with the port of Agios Nikolaos. From there the road leads to the one and only settlement of the island, Chora.

The small, vaulted houses, the narrow, whitewashed and labyrinthine streets that lead to the proud Venetian castle of the island, make up the landscape of the settlement.

Among the attractions of Chora are the picturesque windmills located on the hillside, while the small churches, which are scattered throughout the settlement and barely stand out from the houses, are a trademark.

More interesting are the churches of Agios Nikolaos with an iconostasis and icons from the 18th century, of Timios Stavros with the icon of the Dormition of the Virgin from the 10th century, of Agios Spyridon and of Agioi Anargyroi.


kastelli-anafiIn the eastern part of the island, Kastelli hill rises to a height of 327 meters above the sea, where there are ruins of the ancient city of Anafaia, which was one of the most important city-states of antiquity. The city-state of Anaphaia was probably founded in the 8th BC. century by Dorian settlers.

Today the fortification and a part of the old cemetery are visible, while the findings of the Roman period are rich and scattered throughout the area.

South of Kasteli, in the bay of Katalimatsa, is the port of the ancient city, which has not been excavated as a large part of it is submerged in the sea.Tomb sculptures, many of which are preserved in good condition, and other finds are in the Archaeological Collection in Chora.

Mount Kalamos

mount-kalamosThe main attraction of the island, however, is located on the southeastern edge of Anafi. It is a huge rock, which is the second highest monolith in Europe after that of Gibraltar.

The 18th century French explorer Tournefort called it the most terrifying rock in the world. At the top of Kalamos (460m.), as the rock is called, is the monastery of Panagia Kalamiotissa, built in 1715, next to the ruins of a medieval fortress.

The monastery, which enjoys the most impressive view of the area, attracts climbing enthusiasts, who climb the rock in the afternoon and spend the night at the top in order to enjoy the sunrise.

Where to swim

anafi-beachesWhile the island may be small in size, it more than compensates with its breathtaking coastline and idyllic beaches that effortlessly captivate the hearts of all who visit.

Anafi’s beaches are a mesmerizing blend of untouched natural beauty and sheer tranquility. Here, sun-soaked shores meet crystal-clear turquoise waters, creating a picturesque setting that feels like paradise on Earth. Each beach on this heavenly island possesses its own unique charm, offering visitors a diverse range of experiences and landscapes to explore.

If you crave solitude and seclusion, head to the secluded shores of Klisidi Beach. Tucked away in a hidden cove, this beach presents a haven of peace, where you can unwind on the soft sands and listen to the gentle lapping of the waves.

Where to stay

where-to-stay-in-anafiWhile Anafi offers limited accommodation options compared to larger tourist destinations, there are still a few places where you can stay during your visit. Chora has a few traditional guesthouses and small hotels where you can stay.

The advantage of staying in Chora is its proximity to the island’s amenities, including restaurants, shops, and cafes. Most of the accommodation is in Chora and it is recommended as an area as all the shops are there and there are beaches nearby.

Some of the accommodations you can visit and stay depends on the amount you want to spend and the requirements you have from a hotel room.

How to move around Anafi

For a relatively small island, Anafi has an incredibly reliable bus service. A public bus based in Chora drops off departing passengers and picks up new arrivals from the port. Even when there are no ferries, the bus runs between Chora and the port several times a day, suitable for tourists without transport.

There are also bus routes from Chora to Kleisidi and Agioi Anargyros, making many stops along the southern road. But for those looking for the relatively unexplored, renting a car is a far superior option.

Due to the absence of paved roads, buses do not cover the north Anafi is the most beautiful part of the island. Always keep in mind that this small island has several dirt roads.

Local cuisine and products

As an island, Anafi is known for its fresh seafood. Local fishermen bring in a variety of fish and seafood, including octopus, squid, sardines, and different types of whitefish. Grilled or fried seafood dishes are popular, as well as seafood stews and soups.

Psimeni Raki

This is a traditional alcoholic drink of Anafi made by infusing raki (a strong grape-based spirit) with honey, cinnamon, and cloves. It is typically served warm and is especially popular during winter and festive occasions.

Local Cheese

Anafi produces its own cheese, known as “mizithra.” Mizithra is a soft, creamy cheese made from sheep or goat milk. It can be enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in various dishes.


Tomatokeftedes are delicious tomato fritters that are a specialty of Anafi. Made with ripe tomatoes, onions, herbs, and spices, they are usually served as a meze (appetizer) or accompanied with tzatziki sauce.


Anafi is renowned for its caper production. The island’s climate and soil are ideal for growing caper bushes. These small, pickled flower buds are a common ingredient in local dishes, such as salads, pasta, and fish preparations.


Anafi’s fava is a type of yellow split pea puree. It has a creamy texture and is often served as a dip or spread. Fava is typically seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, and it pairs well with bread or as a side dish to seafood.


Anafi produces excellent quality honey, thanks to its diverse flora. The island’s honey is known for its rich flavor and aromatic qualities. It is often used in desserts, pastries, and drizzled over yogurt or cheese.

Traditional Pastries

Anafi offers some delightful sweet treats. Try “kaltsounia,” small pastries filled with local cheese and sweetened with honey or sugar. “Xerotigana” is another popular dessert—a crispy pastry soaked in honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and nuts.

Where to eat

Given its relatively small size and population, it is perhaps not surprising that, outside of Chora, the choice of restaurants is rather limited. Roukounas and Kleisidi beaches are the only ones with at least one food option, while Agios Nikolaos beach has access to a few tavernas in the adjacent port of the same name.

Outside Chora is the Akrogiali tavern, with wonderful local flavors. Equally wonderful is Armenaki, in Chora, while in Liotrivi , in addition to the unique flavors, you will also enjoy the unique view. In Anemos, a family-run fish tavern located near the main parking area of Chora, you will be rewarded with delicious food, a warm atmosphere, well-selected wine .

How to get there

The only way to reach Anafi is by boat. From mid-June to the end of August, there are three ferries serving the island. F/B Preveli which takes 12 hours to travel from Piraeus, twice a week, stopping in Milos and Santorini en route and continuing to Crete and Rhodes.

Blue Star Patmos, which travels a more direct route, stops at more islands, takes 10 hours to reach Anafi, twice a week before traveling back on the same route. Andros Jet, the only fast boat on the list that connects islands in the Cyclades archipelago. It travels to Anafi from Syros twice a week.

Apart from Piraeus, in total, during most of the summer, you can reach Anafi from 14 islands: Santorini, Thirasia, Paros, Sikinos, Milos, Ios, Syros, Naxos, Folegandros,  Kasos, Karpathos, Chalki, Rhodes and Crete.