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Antiparos, Greece

Port of Antiparos, GreeceA Day Trip to Antiparos

Our next stop was the tiny port of Pounta on the island of Paros, where we caught the small car ferry that leaves every half hour or so for the island of Antiparos. Itís a ten minute trip past the island of Goulandris. That is not the name of the island. Goulandris is a ship owner and he also owns the island as I was told by one of the guys who works on the ferry. ďI guess it would be nice to have your own islandĒ, I told him. "But what a pain when you run out of cigarettes.Ē He agreed. He was a smoker like everybody else in Greece and when you put it in these terms the rich donít seem so well off.

Antiparos, GreeceAntiparos is not a spectacular island. It is not a particularly beautiful island. It is somewhat touristic though the reason it is now touristic is because it wasnít before. Antiparos was one of those islands that the artists and free-spirited entrepreneurs went to when the islands they had discovered, like Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, and Paros became saturated by tourists and the rents became unaffordable. Now it is one of those 'unspoiled' islands that many people who love Greece but hate tourism look for, to the point where it has become touristic from all the people who come here because it isn't. Does that make sense? Anyway the point is that by the standards of the above islands it is not touristic but by the standards of someone who likes islands such as Kythnos or maybe Kea, then Antiparos will seem touristy to you. There is a waterfront with cafes and fish restaurants and a street that leads into the village lined with cool cafes, boutiques, Greek and Italian bistros and restaurants, gift shops, craft and art galleries, many of them owned by young people who are counter-culture but still have to make a buck. The village is flat and spread out and the best mode of transportation is bicycle and you see them all over. In fact you could live on Antiparos quite comfortably with a bicycle as your only transportation. In the center of the town is a Genovese fortress from  around the 14th century, pretty impressive once you figure out what you are looking at, and there is a small museum in the center of it.

Cave of AntiparosThe most important site on the island is the Cave of Antiparos which was discovered in the modern age in 1673 but is mentioned by the lyric poet Archilochus in the 6th Century BC. People have been climbing down into the cave for hundreds of years and carving their names and the dates in the stalagmites and stalactites hundreds of feet below. There are now stairs that go all the way down and the cave is mostly vertical. It looks like the stairway to hell as you look down and as you descend you canít help but thinking that you hope there is an elevator at the bottom to bring you back up. There isnít. I walked to the next to last level while Andrea went all the way to the bottom. There was a Scandinavian couple huffing and puffing their way up the stairs that convinced me that I had seen enough. But Andrea, who was climbing the walls to get photos of all the historical signatures including King Otto and Queen Amalia who visited the cave on my birthday, September 27 1840 would not leave the cave until she saw every inch and read every signature.

caves of antiparos, greeceThe climb back to the entrance is actually not as far as it seems. The Scandinavian couple who I was afraid would die on the way out, actually managed to reach the surface and as some people inexplicably do, rewarded themselves for their efforts with a cigarette. As we were leaving two middle-aged German couples were entering the cave but one of the women took one look at where she was going and turned around. Yes it looks kind of scary and if you are like me, the kind of person who measures any journey by the difficulty of the return, (I would rather climb a mountain and enjoy the walk down than go down into a deep hole and have to climb up) remember that I told you the climb back up is not as difficult as you think it is going to be. The stairs and railings are new and there are plenty of places to rest.

Antiparos CaveBe sure to ask for the small brochure when you buy your tickets. The guy at the ticket booth did not even mention there was one until we came out and were asking him questions about it. He has 4 closed-circuit TV screens so use the rest room before you go down into the cave and donít carve your name in the stone so people can read it a couple hundred years from now. But on that subject, the people who carved their names a century ago or more, climbed down into the cave with ropes and pulleys, their only light was candles and lanterns. They earned the right to carve their names. Unless you crawl on your belly down the 400 steps with your eyes closed, you havenít.

Beach in Antiparos, GreeceBy the way, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Pierce Brosnan and several other famous people all have villas on the island. I asked my friends why they would choose Antiparos for their villas in Greece when there are so many islands that are more beautiful and have more to offer in the way of... well just about everything. It is because they are left alone in Antiparos. Nobody is in awe of their stardom because, well most people donít even know who they are, at least among the year-round residents. So even though I assume most people who read my site are not the star-oogling autograph-seekers, (mainly because people who use my site that see me in restaurants and cafes donít ask for my autograph), should you see one of these famous people it is OK to say hi, or smile, or tell them which of their movies you liked the best, because they are stars and they appreciate a sincere compliment. But donít pitch your novel or movie script to them.

General Information for Antiparos

Beach in Antiparos, GreeceAntiparos, a quiet and pristine island set adjacent to busy Paros, is a beautiful place to chill out. With its gorgeous beaches, variety of activities and lively nightlife, itís suitable for young singles, couples and families. It was known in ancient times as Oliaros, which means a wooded mountain. Once you arrive on this island paradise, youíll lose track of time. In the summer, every day is languid, whether you are  strolling the streets of Antiparos town (also known as the chora or the village), swimming off long sandy beaches with crystal-clear water, sailing around the island with one of the local captains or exploring Despotiko, an uninhabited nearby island that is the home of an important archaeological excavation. Antiparos lies one nautical mile southwest of Paros. Once you get to Paros, you can reach Antiparos by ferry from Paroikia (30 minutes) or from Pounda (seven minutes). Renting a car or scooter is recommended, as the buses do not run at night.

Hotels

The Cycladic style Marianos Apartments are located just 80 metres from the beach. It offers apartments and studios with fully equipped kitchens with refrigerators. The simply appointed studios and apartments are air-conditioned and have private balconies with views of the sea. Some also have kitchenette facilities.  Marianos Apartments are situated just 50 metres from the port of Antiparos, allowing easy access to Paros island. Click here for photos and booking information

Right across the straits, a short (7 minutes) ferry trip away in the town of Pounta on Paros, very convenient to Antiparos is the 4 Star Best Western Holiday Sun

Most people who come to Antiparos are staying in Paros and there are plenty of hotels there. Click here for Paros Hotels

Restaurants

Captain Pipinos, Aghios Georghios, Antiparos: Considered the best fish taverna on the island, Pipinos is a spectacular place to eat at night, with tables right over the water. By moonlight youíll see the silhouette of Despotiko looming across the channel like a sleeping giantess. Tel: 22840-21823, 6976-686-728

If youíre in Antiparos town and craving fresh seafood, try Makis, on the harbor near the ferry port.

Still Waters Restaurant is situated on a small secluded cove, ringed with pine trees and serves upscale Thai food. They hired their chef,  Barry, from an English pub. In operation since 2000.

For breakfast try Nautica, a cafe on the harbor with internet access.

Stores

There are many charming boutiques on the main street in Antiparos town. One of the standouts is Ifadi, which sells a variety of hand-made linens, curtains, pillows, and mats. Many of the products are made by locals and by the Greek family that runs the store. In operation for 12 years.

Sailing Trips

Captain Ben. Daily cruises with swimming and barbecue.  Very popular, perfect for large groups. Contact: 6976-409-344, 6974-872-942
Captain Antonis
runs the M/S Alexandros, daily boat trips around the island with stops for swimming and barbecue. Contact: 22840-61273, 6972-026-585
Captain Giorgos Mariano
s. Giorgos goes by the nickname O Sargos, which is a prized Mediterranean fish. Based in Aghios Georgios, he takes visitors across the channel to Despotiko. There are several choices: he will  drop you off near the archaeological site, on a small sandy beach on the channel, or at Livadi, a long sandy beach on the south side of Despotiko. When youíre ready to leave, call him on his mobile and heíll show up shortly. Once you get to the harbor at Aghios Georgios, ask  anyone for O Sargos. Remember to take water, as Despotiko is uninhabited. And be warned, on windy days, he doesnít make the crossing.  O Sargos contact: 6973-794-876.

Nightlife:

From the harbor in Antiparos town, follow the market street until you reach the main square, or plateia. If you are unsure, ask someone, ďWhere are the bars?Ē Surrounding the main square, and down the side alleys, youíll find several popular bars that play dance music including Boogaloo, Remember and Soul Sugar. Lucky Luke is named after the cartoon cowboy, its walls are covered with drawings of Lucky Luke in action. ďWe grew up reading that comic,Ē says the owner, Damianos Viazis. Once you leave the bars there is a telescope between Antiparos town and the campground, open only at night, from which you can  gaze at the stars.

More Helpful Greece Information

For Information about the island of Paros see my Paros Guide

For reliable travel agencies in Greece who can book your hotels, ferry tickets, flights, tours and cruises and make sure everything goes perfectly contact Fantasy Travel, Dolphin Hellas or Aegean Thesaurus Travel

For Ferry Schedules see Greek Island Ferry Schedules which are updated weekly but won't help you much if you are booking months in advance (use a Greek travel agent)

For information on all the islands see my Greek Island Guide

Return to Greek Islands Index

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