The Best Things to Do in Anafi Island

Updated May 6th, 2022 by Travel the Greek Way

Anafi Greek Island
Anafi Chora at dusk

Anafi island in Greece is a very beautiful and wild-looking island, mostly undiscovered by mass tourism. Anafi is perfect if you love low-key vacation, authentic Greece, wild terrains, crystal clear blue beaches, and unique volcanic landscape.

Best Things to Do in Anafi Island, Kalamos Rock
Kalamos Rock in Anafi © Canva

One of the best things to do on Anafi island is hiking. The island’s most impressive feature is a gigantic and intimidating rock, Kalamos, 460 m high, only second in size to Gibraltar rock.

Anafi Island in the Cyclades

Anafi and Santorini are located in the southeast part of the Cyclades group of Greek Islands and from Santorini, it is very easy to go to Anafi by ferry.

Anafi’s population is just 271 permanent residents (2011 registration) but it increases significantly during summertime.

Some of the best things to do on Anafis is to swim its “virgin” beaches, walk by small remote chapels, hike picturesque paths, and imposing hills.

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Up next I am going to tell you about the best things to do on Anafi island!

There are public buses on the island but I got around with a car from RentalCars.com as it offered the freedom to explore the island in-depth.

Where Best to Stay in Anafi Island

Ypseli Anafi’s Hive(luxury): This is a wonderful hotel in a stunning area, with Kalamos Rock view right 300 m from Flamourou Beach. High-quality decorated rooms, a swimming pool, and friendly hosts will make your stay a worthwhile experience. Check availability and prices in Booking. com

Maki House(mid-range): With a fantastic view over the sea from its private terraces, with bright, white, spacious rooms in a stunning set and amazing hosts, you are going to enjoy this hotel immensely. Check availability and prices in Booking.com

Ostria Rooms (AirBnB, budget): Super friendly hosts (Mrs. Popi and her husband Mr. Manthos) with a perfect location next to supermarket, bus station, and restaurants. The rooms are spotlessly clean and have an amazing sea view. Check availability and prices at Booking.

Best Things to Do in Anafi Island

Arriving at Anafi’s Port, Agios Nikolaos

Anafi Port – Pierros Zevolis

As soon as you arrive at Agios Nikolaos, Anafi’s main port, you will need some means of transportation to get to Chora, Anafi’s capital town.

Chora stands 200 meters on the hill right above the port and getting there is quite impressive especially at night as it is nicely lit offering a spectacle of the route.

Chora © Gianluca Cutrera

There is a local bus that runs around the island but not so frequently so if this is possible, I suggest you have your own car to best explore Anafi island.

Chora Anafi © Loukas Efthimiou

Walk Around Picturesque Anafi Chora

Anafi’s capital, Chora, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades. Amphitheatrically built upon the ruins of the Venetian castle and 3 km from the port of Agios Nikolaos is full of charming white-washed houses, little churches, and picturesque squares.

One of the best things to do in Anafi is to walk around the kalderimia (cobblestone alleys) and taste the local Greek cafe and sweets at the kafenion (cafes).

Anafi Square

At the top of Chora lie, the remains of a once-mighty Venetian castle. The view from there is really captivating, ideal for romantics and dreamers who want to enjoy the stunning sunset.

Apart from Chora, Anafi has only 2 other villages: Agios Nikolaos the port, and Kleisidi.

Old WIndmills in Anafi

Check out the traditional old windmills scattered in Chora hill and look for the small archaeological collection inside the Chora.

Discover the Best Beaches in Anafi Island

Roukounas Beach

Set on the south of Anafi, Roukounas is, without a doubt, the most beautiful beach on the island. It is a large sandy beach with golden sand and clear blue-azure crystal clear waters. It is not an organized beach however, it has showers and toilets.

There are also trees to hide under their shade and nearby there is a tavern for food or water supplies.

Kleisidi © Sergio Panic

On the south of Anafi, close to the port of Agios Nikolaos, you will find the small settlement of Kleisidi with a few rooms for rent and 2-3 taverns above the beautiful beach of the same name. The Kleisidi beach is sandy, with trees for shade, and fantastic blue crystal clear waters, with easy access, from the asphalt road.

Kleisidi Beach

Just opposite Kleisidi are the islands of Makra, Ftena, and Pachia which you can visit while doing the round of the island with a small local boat.

Livoskopos Beach

If you like challenging beaches then you should go to the northeast of Anafi where you can find Livoskopos beach. You can leave your car in the parking lot but, getting to the beach itself is a handful of downhill, bare terrain hiking. There are also two chapels on the nearby hill that are worth visiting.

Anafi Greek island secluded sandy beach with trees
Anafi Beach

There are 14 beautiful beaches in total all around the Anafi island that you can visit and find your own favorite one. Most of them have no water or food or shade, so be prepared especially if you are visiting in the hot July and August months.

Explore Anafi’s Best Sites

Panagia Dokari church

According to Greek Mythology, Anafi was emerged through the raging waves of god Apollo to save the shipwrecked Argonauts. There are traces of its ancient past, scattered all around the island. You can visit Kasteli, the ancient city of Anafi, where you can see the ruins of the city founded in the 8th century BC.

Kasteli

Located at the foot of the Kasteli hill you will also find Panagia Dokari church and a marble sarcophagus of the Roman period.

Agios Antonios

Perched on the steep north shores of Anafi, is the white chapel of Agios Antonios with the typical double arch on the roof. It is the only Byzantine church on the island and inside it, you can admire the amazing frescoes dating from the 14th century.

© Madres Bar sunset views

If you’re looking for a wild night out in Anafi, then you should go to the bar-club Madres, set on the hill (open only in July and August). While dancing, you will be able to see the lights of Santorini in the distance.

Taste Anafi’s Local Cuisine

Skaltsounia and Greek Coffee © Margarita’s restaurant

The local cuisine of Anafi is simply delicious!

Freshly caught fish and seafood and local traditional Anafi dishes with fresh ingredients will make you just love the food. While you are on the island taste the local dishes:

  • Pitaria & skordompalota (local pasta served with tomato sauce, cheese and garlic)
  • Psomi zaforisto (bread with feta cheese and local saffron)
  • Gemista (fried sweet pastries with sesame, orange, cinnamon and almonds)
  • Melitera (sweet pastries filled with the local cheese mizithra)
  • Local goat cheese and thyme honey
  • And of course you should accompany all dishes with strofyliatiko, an aromatic local white wine

Hiking Anafi’s Impressive Trails

Monastery Panagia © Mauro de Brassi

In the east of Anafi, stands the imposing Kalamos rock. If you climb it, towards its top, you will find the Panagia Kalamiotissa, a beautiful whitewashed chapel, built in 1715.

Remote and rugged coastline in Anafi © Kostis Papaioannou

From there, you will be thrilled by the sea vistas and if you go late in the afternoon, you will be dazzled by one of the best sunsets in the Mediterranean.

Drakontospito

At the north side of Kalamos rock, with difficult access, there is a cave called Drakontospito (house of the dragons). Inside, the walls have beautiful golden-green colors and the stalactites and stalagmites make the cave a fascinating spectacle.

If you are lucky, you may see the sea seals that according to the inhabitants appear very regularly in the area.

Wild Anafi Terrain

Anafi island has rocky terrain, volcanic-ash granite, and limestone from the Santorini volcanic eruption paths, steep cliffs, and cove-scalloped morphology.

The terrain is barren of trees or large plants with its peak being Vigla, at 582 m located in the center of Anafi.

Wild Anafi

There are a few paths to choose from the 18km trail very old network and well-signposted, but if you had to choose one trail it could be:

Chora – Ancient Kastelli – Kalamos peninsula all the way to the top to Panagia Kalamiotissa church (around 7 km)

Check here for Hiking Trails of Anafi from Wikiloc

FAQ on Anafi Island

How to Get to Anafi Island

Anafi Port© Christian Rieke

Anafi Airport: There is no airport on Anafi but you can fly to Santorini and take from there the 90′ ferry to Anafi. That will allow you to combine a visit to both super-star Santorini and tranquil but equally imposing Anafi island.

By Ferry: Most of the ferries leave from Athens’ main port, Piraeus, 3-4 times per week and the trip lasts 9-11 hours! I would recommend you book a cabin so that you can rest and make the trip less tiring if you go by ferry. As you can imagine, the cabins are the first to be booked so you better book them fast.

There is also a ferry leaving from Lavrio Port in Athens to Anafi once a week.

When is Best to Go to Anafi Island

Anafi in spring

Anafi never gets as busy as the other very popular islands like Mykonos, Santorini, or Paros but August might be also a busy month.

Anafi Beach Agios Nikolaos in summer

If you are wondering when is the Best Time to Go to Greece and to Anafi island, I would say all year round is great to visit. The most popular months are during the summer as the beaches are wonderfully clear with sand, ideal for children. However, in August it will be windy – as it is in the whole of Cyclades. For the very adventurous, or travelers who love remote and quiet places, Anafi will be open and working all year round, even in the winter.

My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much), November, and April (everything has blossomed).

If you love hiking, and you are fine with quiet places, I would say go during Greek Easter.

The countryside will be full of flowers, shoulder season prices for your hotel and the weather will be just perfect for hiking or long strolls on the island. You will also be able to watch closely the biggest religious celebration in Greece and all the customs related to Greek Easter. You can read here about Greek Orthodox Easter on Tinos Island.

Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi

Another great time to visit Anafi would be at the festival of Panagia Kalamiotissa on September 7 and 8, at the Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, where dinner and lunch with local food are offered.

Anafi Festival

Note: The Monastery of Zoodochou Pigi, (open 11 am–1 pm & 4–6 pm until 7 pm in summer), is one of the oldest Monasteries in the Cyclades, built around 10th c AD.

In the same place used to be the ancient temple of Apollo Aigletis, parts of which were used to build the Monastery.

How to Get Around Anafi Island

Besides the municipal bus, there are also 2 taxis that work 24/7 on the island. If you need one their numbers are:

  • Giannis, +30 6987 950445
  • Roussetos, +30 6970 848622

If you would like the convenience of your own car you can check, compare and save with the RentalCars.

ATM and Medical Center on Anafi Island

  • There are no banks in Anafi but there is 1 ATM in Agios Nikolaos Port (Piraeus Bank) and 1 in Chora, next to the post office (Eurobank)
  • There is a local medical center +30 2286061215
  • Gas Station: +30 6908098033 & +30 2286061350

COVID-19 Info for Traveling to Greece

A traveler with mask at the Athens International Airport
Traveler at Athens International Airport

Where to Stay in Athens

Looking for the Best Hotels near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon?

Or would you like to stay at a beachfront hotel (Athens Riviera)?

Perhaps you are more in-budget hotels interested?

Whichever your preferences I have collected the best options for your staying in Athens below:

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Evgenia
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